Ford’s Lincoln brand has been looking for a mix of products and services that can help it to stand out in a crowded field of luxury competitors, and the latest move will make it the first automaker to offer standard pickup and delivery service on all of its 2017 models, from the little MKC crossover to the new Continental sedan coming later this year.
A handful of automakers have added free pickup and delivery for vehicles going in for service, but that’s often done at the local dealer’s discretion, or may only apply to specific models – usually at the upper end of a manufacturer’s price spectrum.
“Lincoln Pickup and Delivery service revolves around complementing our luxury vehicles with outstanding luxury experiences,” said Andrew Frick, Lincoln North American director of sales and service. “This kind of Quiet Luxury provides an exclusive and personally crafted service experience that enhances their lifestyle and saves them what is a true luxury item — their time.”
(What’s new for 2017? Click Here to check out all the upcoming models.)
Once vying with Cadillac for leadership in the U.S. luxury car market, Lincoln has been struggling to regain momentum in recent years. It has replaced most of its product line-up over the last several years, with still more new models in the pipeline.
The Continental, set to debut for 2017, will replace the old MKS and move the brand a little more up-market. Significantly, it brings back a long-familiar name that long served as the brand’s flagship. Some analysts believe it could signal the end to Lincoln’s much-maligned alpha-based naming strategy, though the marque has not committed to that.
Along with expanding its product portfolio, Lincoln has been looking for ways to improve the ownership experience, especially in terms of sales and service. One step was with the launch of the Black Label edition. Cars sold through that sub-brand are offered with unique interior detailing, as well as additional concierge services.
But all of the models Lincoln will offer in 2017 will be covered by the new pickup and delivery service, dubbed Lincoln Service Valet, according to Frick, as part of their standard warranty coverage.
(For more on the 2017 Lincoln Continental, Click Here.)
No matter what Lincoln vehicle clients have from our portfolio, they have the peace of mind of getting that vehicle to and from service at a location of their choice, with a complimentary Lincoln loaner in order to maintain their busy schedules,” he explained.
Lincoln had been testing the Service Valet program at a handful of dealers and found it sharply increased owner satisfaction and loyalty. Dealers reportedly approved of the program as a way to boost their own service business and increase repeat business.
Whether Lincoln will retain an exclusive on the concept is uncertain. Hyundai already offers a similar service for those buying its top-line Equus sedan. It hasn’t said whether it will carry that over when it formally launches the new Genesis luxury brand later this year. The Equus will be rebadged the Genesis G90 at that time.
But high-touch programs clearly have their payback, despite the added cost, industry leaders have said. And manufacturers are looking for other ways to reach out and touch owners. BMW, for example, schedules a follow-up meeting with buyers of the 2016 7-Series, its high-tech flagship. They can come to the showroom or a BMW representative will come to the owner’s home or office to go over all the technology features and make sure the motorist knows how to use them.
That is helping overcome the frequent frustration owners have with the latest technology, a senior BMW executive told TheDetroitBureau.com, leading not only to higher customer satisfaction but improved scores in various owner surveys.
(Click Here for more on the new Genesis G90.)