Lincoln MKZ’s retractable glass roof expected to boost sales

Article by Christian Andrei, on April 2, 2012

Ford Motor Co. is confident that the latest model Lincoln MKZ sedan that will arrive later this year will lead to incredibly high sales. The MKZ sedan features a retractable glass roof. You could view this vehicle on April 4 at the New York Auto Show. C.J. O'Donnell, the brand's marketing manager, said that by simply pushing a button, the 15-square-foot glass roof will recede over the MKZ's rear window.

He said that the resulting void that spans two-foot by two- and-a-half foot is the largest biggest opening of any glass roof in the car business. He said that this is part of a trend of moon roofs being replaced by so-called panoramic roofs." O'Donnell said in an interview that what people want is “to bring the outside in.”

He pointed out the trend in architecture and the design of increasing natural light in homes as well as in offices, restaurants, and hotels. Ford is optimistic that Lincoln will soon break records. Its sales fell by 63% since rising to a peak in 1990. O'Donnell said that "a signature design element” is needed for Lincoln’s move t to get younger, wealthier buyers to consider the seven new models that will be launched by 2015.

The sunroof has been changing over the past decade to become a massive, glassy expanse. Panoramic roofs have been seen on many models such as Daimler AG's $423,500 Maybach 62, the $15,500 Fiat 500, and even Nissan Motor Co.'s new taxi.

Ford said that over 80% of buyers of the Lincoln MKS sedan select a dual-panel moon roof with glass over both the front and back seats. Dave Sullivan, a product analyst at AutoPacific Inc. in suburban Detroit, said that the modern car designs evolve due to the need for more modern car designs as well as improved aesthetics and safety.

It was in January 2012, during the North American International Auto Show, that the Lincoln MKZ Concept was first shown to the public. While the 2013 Lincoln MKZ is similar to the concept version, it has a design language that is unique to it. Its interior for instance is very inviting and makes use of natural and rich materials with fine details and strong architectural elements. Lincoln Design director Max Wolff shared that the new instrument has a dramatic sweep that is similar to the visuals seen on the front end of the exterior.

Like the open center console, he added, the different flowing shapes result in an interior that is not only comfortable but functional as well. It therefore has the chance to appeals to drivers who are more diverse and younger and who now have the Lincoln as part of their consideration, he continued. The interior though does not only show new designs but there are also new technologies and advances inside. Instead of the usual shift lever that is mechanically operated, there is now the more modern five-button interface.

The first three of the Push Button Shift include Reverse, Neutral, and Park. Meanwhile the two forward gears are Sport and Drive. Going to the exterior, the profile of this sedan is mainly defined by its sweeping roofline. By combining the lengthened backlight with the steeply raked windshield, it not only has an appearance that is more flowing and smoother compared to the previous model but that is more aerodynamic by 10%.

According to Director Wolff, the shape of the MKZ is a vision that was finished using a few strokes. While the design is indeed modern, there are still some elements that are clearly also in the classic versions. Take for example the split-wing grille that was first used in the 1938 Lincoln-Zephyr, it is in the new MKZ but it has a new interpretation.

While the sculpted pedestals have been mounted on the door, these same pedestals are where the rearview mirrors have been placed. Because of this set-up, the glass on its front door can be extended more forward and thus allows more light to enter the inside while also enhancing visibility.

The assemblies for its headlamp are excellently crafted and even have bright lighting which utilizes energy-efficient LED. Since the headlights in the front turn with the steering wheel, it improves further the visibility. At the back, there is that full-width taillamp graphic made possible through LED technology. Director Wolff revealed that the new MKZ can be described as having elegant simplicity.

This is because, he continued, the team wanted the new model to be approachable and inviting. Thus instead of using the usual complex designs and luxury cues, what was instead used was something that is rich but which remained to be restrained.

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