With production of the new Lincoln MKZ finally approaching “launch levels” after a costly delay in the production of the critical new luxury sedan, parent Ford Motor Co. is studying just how extensive a re-launch will be needed to put the 2013 model back on the radar for potential buyers.
The Lincoln MKZ was supposed to serve as the foundation for the revitalization of the long-struggling luxury brand. But even as the first of the sedans began rolling into showrooms late last year, Ford decided to curb production, worrying that the MKZ could fall victim to the same snags that resulted in quality problems and recalls for other new 2013 models, such as the Ford Fusion sedan and Escape crossover.
The problem, admitted marketing chief Jim Farley, is that the carmaker went ahead with a major nationwide marketing campaign, including several costly Super Bowl spots, even without product in the showroom. That left dealers unable to serve potential buyers – some of whom are still waiting while others likely switched to competing brands.