2006 Lincoln Town Car Signature L Sedan 4-door 4.6l on 2040-cars
Lincolnwood, Illinois, United States
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Auto blogWed, 28 Aug 2013
Lincoln is "not true luxury," according to Ford's design boss, J Mays. His statements come from a story in The Detroit News that saw candid language on the issues facing Ford's troubled premium brand. Notably, there's a need for a strong character, with Mays saying, "Every brand needs to have a DNA and a unique selling point and things in the vehicle that make you think, 'That's that particular brand.'"
With a range of rebadged Fords, it's not hard to see why that DNA is missing. Mays hinted that a full recovery for Lincoln will be a ten-year process, that's been kicked off with the MKZ sedan. While that car is still largely a Ford Fusion under its extremely pretty wrapper, it's the first Lincoln in some time to inject its own unique take both through the exterior styling and through interior features, such as the vertical, pushbutton gear selection.
Some analysts weren't so certain about Mays' 10-year estimate. Jim Hall of 2953 Analytics thinks it'll be more like 30 years before Lincoln can show a true return to form. The issue, as Hall explains it, is that, "luxury has a degree of exclusivity," that Lincoln just doesn't have. Michelle Krebs from Edmunds adds, "it's definitely a wanna-be luxury brand," comparing the troubled American brand with Infiniti and Acura, two other brands that have struggled to find their place in the luxury market.
In recent years, there have been a lot of dire pronouncements made about Lincoln's future, or a lack thereof. But Ford's premium marque is like the Rocky Balboa of the auto business; every time the company seems ready to go, it comes back for more. Apparently, that dogged persistence is paying off, because the industry analysts at AutoPacific have put a big check in their win column with their newly released 2014 model year vehicle satisfaction survey. And despite recent enmity for its seemingly never-ending recall saga, it appears General Motors knows how to satisfy new owners, too.
In fact, not only was Lincoln named as the premium brand with the highest new owner satisfaction, even scored three models on the list of passenger cars with the most gratified buyers - the MKS, MKZ and MKZ Hybrid.
GM's stable of brands was also among the top companies in this year's survey. GMC was named the top popular brand by AutoPacific, with its Sierra pickup and Acadia crossover singled out for awards in their segments. Chevrolet also did incredibly well, with more cars on the list than any other brand. The Corvette, Camaro, Sonic and Impala all made the cut in their respective categories.
Earlier this month in our first drive of the 2015 MKC, we told you that Lincoln finally had a new vehicle in its arsenal worth crowing about. So with the compact premium crossover now finding its way into dealers, why aren't you seeing its likeness plastered on billboards and barraging you on television? It's because Lincoln is "holding some powder."
Those are the words of Lincoln's global director, Matt VanDyke, who tells Autoblog that the company is holstering some of its marketing guns because it's keen to avoid repeating the ill-timed efforts that blighted its last rollout, the MKZ. That vehicle's launch early last year was beset by various delays related to manufacturing and quality. The cadence issue was so dire that by the time the model reached showrooms in volume, Lincoln had already blown most of its budget on things like Super Bowl ads that ran weeks or even months before customers could check one out in person. It was a particularly trying series of events for parent Ford because the MKZ and its oversized marketing spend were charged with relaunching the Lincoln brand to the public.
Keen to avoid repeating the same timing issue and mindful of consumers' habits at this time of year, Lincoln is taking a different strategy with the MKC. According to VanDyke, "What we don't want to do is try and fight the summertime - people using television being down, and other mass media when school's out. New television shows aren't on." Of course, that doesn't mean Lincoln is sitting idle. VanDyke says, "By no means are we quiet during the next 90 days. This year, we're going to really spend the next 60 to 90 days using digital and social media, in-theater advertising and the like, and once we have full availability at dealerships, we'll really ramp up the advertising later on in the summer." Part of that early media effort includes immersive digital marketing like Lincoln's clever Dream Rides web experience.