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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]
Courtesy of Eastern European publication AutoForums.cz, we can now report that the upcoming MKZ has little changed from the concept car released at last January’s Detroit Auto Show.
The side-view mirrors got a little bigger, as did the headlights, though most of the styling stayed the same. An interior shot also reveals that much of the concept was accurate to the production model, with scant wood–stlye accents with mostly black and chrome trim throughout.
Smaller alloy wheels also seem to be a part of the production model, though the key feature we’re most curious about isn’t detailed in the shots.
That means we’ll still have to wait until April 4 to find out about the fully-retractable panoramic roof which has been confirmed for the sedan despite few specific details being available. We do know that it will feature 100 spf UV protection to keep occupants from getting sunburned, but we’re still not sure how much it will cost as what we’re assuming will be an option.
Check back during our live coverage for more details on the flagship vehicle of what will be a refreshed Lincoln lineup.
GALLERY: 2013 Lincoln MKZ leaked
The past 20 years were pretty stable in the automotive industry. Mostly predictable releases with a steady rate for manufacturers to introduce new models that seemed like a consistant recipe for success.
Then, suddenly with the start of the current model year, things changed. In fact, it looks like this is just the start of a serious upswing in new releases. According to a story published on CNN Money, the auto industry replaced 16 percent of its fleet annually between 1991 and 2011.
That figure jumped to 23 percent with the 2012 model year, which started in October. Apparently keeping this fresh is the snake oil for successful car companies, because next year that number will grow to 32 percent, effectively doubling the rate new models hit the market. Given this manufacturer mayhem, we decided to round up the new cars you should expect to see soon.
Honda is an interesting case as they’ve recognized that their luxury brand, Acura, is simply being outdone by the competition at every turn. They decided to completely redesign their line to quell complaints that their cars are little more than rebadged Hondas. The first to look for: their new ILX compact sedan. As for Honda, they are already planning to release a new generation Civic after the media chastised them for an uninspired release.
Next up, Nissan. While they don’t hold a big market share in the U.S., Carlos Ghosn, their CEO is making plans to expand the 8.2 percent they have now to ten by 2015. In order to do that, they are revamping half of their entire line. Nissan is targeting the burgeoning EV market with their Leaf, which first became available last year. Look for updated Altimas, Sentras and Pathfinders in the near future.
Toyota suffered after the tsunami, but is coming back with a fury. The automaker is releasing a brand-new sports car, the FR-S, developed in partnership with Subaru and set to sell with a Scion badge. The RAV-4 and Lexus ES sedan will also get updates.
Chrysler will move toward smaller cars, something the brand has historically struggled with. The shrinkage can be attributed to Fiat, their new owners, and how their new 40 mpg Dodge Dart borrows heavily from the Italian engineers.
Ford and GM are trying to hang on to their chunky market shares, 17 and 19.7 percent respectively. Both companies are following the industry strategy: refreshing their popular sellers and releasing redesigned cars in their luxury brands. Look for a re-engineered Lincoln MKZ from Ford and Cadillac‘s new compact ATS and larger XTS sedans from GM.
Finally, there are some changes in the pipeline for German luxury cars. Audi just confirmed that their compact Q3 SUV will be sold in the U.S., along with the re-release of the compact A2 sedan. Mercedes-Benz is opting to offer their smaller B-Series and A-Series cars to remain competitive in the Yankee market.
[Source: CNN Money]
Just as industry analysts and veterans are convinced that the Lincoln brand will share a similar fate to Mercury, Lincoln is determined to prove the naysayers otherwise. According to global product chief of Ford, Derrick Kuzak, Ford promises no fewer than seven new or improved vehicles in the Lincoln lineup by 2014, a mere three years time.
With introductions staggered between 2012 to 2014, Lincoln is scheduled to begin their launch with a restyled Navigator for its 2012 model year. Expect to find the same 3.5 liter EcoBoost V-6 found in Ford’s F-series line of pickups.
Also in development is a new compact crossover based on Ford’s next generation Ford Escape, which will be based on a Ford Kuga chassis, a product that’s currently a foreign market exclusive. Another compact car is also in talks but it probably won’t be introduced until 2016, if at all.
Next, the Ford Fusion based Lincoln MKZ will be revised for 2013. However, expect to see the MKZ’s introduction to be slightly behind that of the Fusion as Ford Motor Company will focus much of their efforts in refining, and further separating, Lincolns with a more upscale interior.
The larger MKS sedan is expected to receive a facelift for 2013 as well. Cosmetic enhancements include a freshened grill and side in order to achieve a more streamlined appearance. Moreover, the MKS may also be available with an efficient 2.0-liter four-cylinder EcoBoost engine expected in the Taurus at the same time.
As far as Lincoln’s current crossovers are concerned, the big daddy MKT will get new grill and taillight treatments, not to mention a gussied up interior. And finally, don’t expect a redesign for the midsize crossover MKX until 2014.
Although it remains to be seen whether these efforts would place Lincoln back on the map, it is a positive sign to see Ford Motor Company at least try.
GALLERY: Lincoln Line-up
Lincoln has been hard at work refreshing its lineup over the past few years and the luxury arm of Ford has chosen to display three of its newest vehicles at the 2009 SEMA Show: a 2010 MKZ, a 2009 MKS and a 2010 MKT. But before the two luxury sedans and one crossover made their way to Las Vegas, Lincoln shipped them out to different tuning shops across the country to have each car individually stylized.
“Lincoln as a brand is continuing to attract younger customers to the showroom with products like the MKS, MKZ and the new MKT luxury crossover,” said Amy Marentic, Ford Car and Crossover marketing manager. “These customers place huge importance on style, design and technology, and these are areas where Lincoln plays well. SEMA gives customizers the opportunity to push the boundaries of design, while still focusing on the core strengths of the Lincoln brand.”
Ford’s SEMA Designer Melvin Betancourt echoes Marentic’s thoughts stating that, “Customization is about individuality and reflecting who you are. That is particularly true about the new generation of people who are buying cars. The vehicles at this year’s SEMA show prove that Lincolns have great personalization potential.”
See more on each of the three SEMA Lincolns after the jump: