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It’s been four months since the Lincoln MKZ midsize sedan was supposed to arrive at dealerships around the country.
That’s finally the case according to Ford marketing executive Jim Farley, who made the statement today during a conference call with reporters. Ford said it has shipped 11,000 units of the MKZ to dealers since production began in December, 2012 and that it expects to have sold over 4,000 in April.
The failed launch turned nightmarish saga began in the maker’s Hermosillo, Mexico manufacturing plant where MKZs leaving the assembly line were met with quality concerns.
Those models were then diverted to another plant in Flat Rock Mich. where the flaws were addressed, but it was too late to save the car’s planned launch. Required fixes created an accordion effect and before long, customers who placed pre-orders were left banging their forks and knives on the dinner table — literally.
In an attempt to salvage customer relationships, Lincoln offered to buy irked consumers a night out on the town in the form of $100 gift certificates.
With all that past, the brand is hoping things will smooth over.
“Although we’re encouraged, we’re far from victory,” Farley said.
To discuss the Lincoln MKZ, please visit our Lincoln MKZ Forum
[Source: The Detroit News]
Besides unveiling the production 2013 Lincoln MKZ, the first vehicle to result from the division’s new found “independence,” the New York Auto Show served as a venue for Ford to discuss it’s planned “Lincoln Experience.”
One of the biggest thrusts is really taking the idea of customer service to a new level, so initiatives such as the Lincoln Academy are underway, designed to fundamentally change the way in which Lincoln representatives work with clients. In order to do that, Lincoln is going outside traditional channels, tapping into resources like Les Clef’s D’Or (prounced clay dore or literally translated golden keys), to help train staff in new and unique ways when it comes to customer service.
Days ahead of the New York Auto Show, Lincoln has drawn back the covers on its mid-size MKZ sedan. The first ground-up car under the design direction of former Cadillac stylist Max Wolff, the car stays true to its concept form and continues the brand’s whale-theme. Out back, the car gets some retro wrap-around taillights.
Of note, one surprising carryover from the concept car is the full glass roof, which is retractable.
The 2013 MKZ will get a choice of three powertrains, with a new 2.0-liter hybrid, a 2.0-liter EcoBoost motor with 240 h and 33 mpg highway, plus a top-rated 3.7-liter V6.
Inside the car certainly looks luxurious, especially with the brand’s MyLincoln Touch (including a 10.1 inch LCD screen) and an electronic gear selector on the center console.
To help deliver a more dynamic package, Lincon also offers what it calls Lincoln Drive Control, allowing the driver to select Comfort, Normal or Sport modes, with different shock settings for each.
GALLERY: 2013 Lincoln MKZ
GALLERY: 2013 Lincoln MKZ Official
The 2013 Lincoln MKZ Concept originally debuted at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show sporting a panaromic glass roof. The production 2013 Lincoln MKZ sedan is scheduled to make its official debut at the upcoming New York Auto Show, and it appears that Lincoln is hard at work on offering a fully-retractable glass roof on its new sedan.
It’s believed that the roof design has been under development for several years at Lincoln and will make its production debut on the MKZ.
As we heard back at the Detroit Auto Show, the glass is actually integrated into the MKZ’s structure, constructed from steel and boron and is designed to give the passengers a personal, open-air experience. The retractable glass roof is just one of many efforts Lincoln is pursuing to help differentiate their models from the lesser Ford platforms that they are based on.
We’ll be sure to get more information when the MKZ makes it debut at the New York Auto Show, at which point we’ll hopefully find out if the retractable glass roof will be standard on the MKZ or available as an option.
GALLERY: Lincoln MKZ Concept
With the current model, neé Zephyr, getting quite long in the tooth, Lincoln is getting ready to launch its successor, with a concept scheduled to be unveiled at the 2012 North American International Auto Show.
The next generation MKZ will utilize the same architecture as its high volume stablemate, the Ford Fusion, as well as the European Mondeo, which means it will retain front-wheel drive, with AWD likely available as an option. As for powertrains, a Hybrid is rumored to be part of the mix (the current model has proved quite popular) along with a V6 and turbocharged EcoBoost four-cylinder.
However, the new MKZ, expected to be introduced as a 2013 model, will likely break the mold in terms of styling. Lincoln’s new design boss, Max Wolff, who worked at Cadillac before moving across town, reportedly arrived in time to leave his signature on the latest Z, so expect something a little edgier and more distinctive.
In addition, look for the introduction of MyLincoln Select Drive, with adjustable settings for the steering, throttle response and suspension system.
Further down the road, there are rumors circulating that Lincoln could get a version of the platform that underpins the rear-drive Australian Falcon, which could make for some very interesting vehicles, though the brand doesn’t have enough clout yet to be asking for such things. However, provided Lincoln gains some solid ground with upcoming new or revised products, such an idea isn’t beyond the realms of possibility.
[Source: Car & Driver]
With Chevy set to reveal its new 2013 Malibu, Ford is readying its family car rival. Ditching the current platform in favor of an all new global chassis, the 2013 Fusion will be sold throughout the world, combining the features of the current Fusion with the car’s overseas mid-size sister, the Mondeo.
According to a report by FordInsideNews, the new Fusion will depart dramatically from the current model in terms of styling, and one source described the car’s new style as resembling an Aston Martin!
Also sharing this new platform will be the next-generation Lincoln MKZ. Unlike in the past, Ford is hoping to further differentiate these two models, adding more content to the Lincoln. The 2012 MKZ will also be the first new model designed under the direction of new Lincoln design chief Max Wolff. Eventually all three cars will get version of Ford’s fourth-generation hybrid technology using lithium-ion batteries.
Ford hasn’t even hinted at the creation of the new Fusion or any of its derivatives, although FIN‘s sources indicate we could see either the Fusion or MKZ at the New York Auto Show in two weeks time.