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Lincoln Counting on New Black Label to Draw New Buyers

Exclusive interiors, upscale “experience” targeting elite motorists.

by on Nov.17, 2014

Lincoln's new Black Label Series kicks off with the MKC as well as the MKZ for 2015.

Ford Motor Co.’s Lincoln brand is trying a new approach to attract the sort of upscale opinion leaders that can help put the struggling luxury marque back on track.

The new Lincoln Black Label “experience” is designed to offer potential buyers a blend of exclusive vehicle interiors and a more personalized ownership experience that will include access to exclusive restaurants, unlimited car washes and an annual vehicle detailing.

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The launch of the brand-within-a-brand comes as Lincoln makes its first serious push to go global, with the first of its new dealerships opening in China this month. Black Label will debut in the U.S. on two of Lincoln’s newest models, the MKC compact crossover and the MKZ sedan, noted Group Marketing Manager Andrew Frick, adding that “Black Label will be (added) on every new Lincoln that comes out over the next few years.” (more…)

High-Tech Suspensions Smooth Out The Bumps

New systems improve ride and handling of luxury vehicles.

by on Jun.06, 2013

Mercedes improved the ride and handling on the S-Class for 2014 using a new system called Magic Body Control.

With more and more states and local communities struggling to balance their budgets, road repairs are among the first things to be cut. In places like Detroit, where winter is particularly tough on tarmac, that can translate into potholes that match the worst you’ll find in a third-world country.

But automakers and their suppliers are rolling out some high-tech solutions that can make all but the worst bumps and ruts virtually vanish.

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Electronically controlled suspensions have been around for several decades, but early systems did little more than firm up a vehicle’s shock absorbers and they usually seemed to either be too firm or too soft.


Lincoln Readying Potentially Major Re-launch of MKZ

Production finally approaching “launch levels.”

by on Apr.02, 2013

The new Lincoln MKZ is now at "launch levels."

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.

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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.


Ford Lawsuit Claims “Design Defect” Can Cause Unintended Acceleration

Detroit maker says federal investigators already cleared it.

by on Mar.29, 2013

A new federal lawsuit claims scores of Ford products, like the Taurus, suffer from a "defect' that makes the vehicle suddenly accelerate.

A new lawsuit claims that nearly a decade’s worth of vehicles produced by the Ford Motor Co. suffer from a “design defect” that can make them susceptible to suddenly and unexpectedly begin racing out of control.

The lawsuit, filed in West Virginia federal court on behalf of 20 different owners in 14 states, is seeking class-action status that could, if approved, come to involve the owners of millions of Ford vehicles produced between 2002 and 2010.

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“For too long, Ford has put its own financial interests ahead of its consumers’ safety,” said lead attorney Adam Levitt. “We hope this lawsuit sheds light on this important situation and requires Ford to correct its ways, compensate its customers and put them first.”


Dealers Ready to Invest in Lincoln Revival

New MKZ winning retailers over.

by on Feb.08, 2012

The new Lincoln MKZ Concept will reappear in production form at the NY Auto Show, in April..

One of the things Ford Motor Co. desperately needs as it rebuilds the Lincoln brand is help from its dealers.  But despite some grumbling over the high up-front costs to convert showrooms to match the new Lincoln theme, the automaker seems to be making some headway on that front.

More than half of all Lincoln dealers in the top 130 U.S. markets have committed to upgrade their facilities, according to Ford.  And the new Lincoln MKZ – first seen in concept form at last month’s Detroit Auto Show – is helping win more over.

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“We have shared our plans about future Lincoln products, the (direction of the) brand going forward and the consumer experience we have envisioned, and already a majority of our dealers have said they are with us,” said Ken Czubay, vice president of U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service.

“Ultimately, this is good news for our customers, who will see our new approach to the luxury consumer experience at every touch point,” he said.