Near-luxury models will spark Lincoln’s rebirth says Jim Farley, chief of global marketing for the Ford Motor Co. Two of those models are the MKX, a crossover utility vehicle and an MKZ, Lincoln’s first hybrid model.
Farley promises that Lincoln will soon debut more vehicles to the luxury brand portfolio. The big difference is that Lincoln will feature vehicles targeted at the U.S. market alone.
The new 2011 MKX is aimed at the segment-leading Lexus RX 450. The 2011 Lincoln MKX crossover utility vehicle easily qualifies as the poster vehicle for the iPod generation, featuring Internet connectivity, plus state-of-the-art audio innovations. The Lincoln MKX also is the first vehicle that allows drivers to tag tunes played on HD Radio as a standard feature.
The MKZ Hybrid on the other hand is set to compete with the Lexus HS 250h Hybrid, the leading luxury hybrid, aiming for better performance and fuel economy and quieter operation.
The 2011 MKZ Hybrid also has an attractive suggested retail price of $35,180, identical to the price of its conventionally powered sibling. The Lincoln is also $795 cheaper than the Lexus HS 250h, while also offering more standard equipment.
“Growth for Lincoln will come from the `near-luxury’ segment,” Farley predicts. “Success for Cadillac and Audi, for instance, has come from their most affordable models — in the $35,000-$65,000 range — not in the $85,000 range,” he says.
“The $85,000 range doesn’t define the heart-and-soul of the luxury business anymore,” he says. Farley describes the current state of Lincoln as “foundational.”
“We’ve reestablished that foundation with (coming) new products,” he says. However, Farley declines to announce right now what those products will be. “I don’t want to give away the whole farm.”
Farley doesn’t believe Ford’s luxury marquee needs to target fast-volume growth domestically, or establish global markets.