The Lincoln brand of Ford Motor Co. reported a 29% drop in U.S. sales as the MKZ sedan that was featured in two Super Bowl ads last February experienced a shortage. Only 945 MKZ units were sold, standing for a 62% decline compared to the previous year. Lincoln’s monthly sales had fallen to 4,883. Ford had sold a higher number of Fiesta subcompacts than Lincolns.
Ford had expected that the refreshed MKZ would lead the Lincoln’s revival. However, there were delays due to the Mexican-built cars needing thorough quality inspections at a Michigan plant. The MKZ features a wide chrome grille that took inspiration from an eagle’s wings.
It is the first of four new models that Lincoln will release in the coming four years as Ford has set aside $1 billion for the brand’s revival.
Rebecca Lindland, an automotive consultant with Rebel Three Media & Consultants in Cos Cob, Conn., described these sales figures to be “disturbing” particularly since the brand was only being relaunched. She said that we could only speculate how many potential buyers were turned away because the MKZ didn’t have an inventory.
Ford said that by next month, its dealerships will have a full stock. The restyled MKZ started selling in January. In a recent conference call, Ford’s U.S. sales chief Ken Czubay told analysts that the company has begun the delivery of about 100 MKZs daily even as each MKZ was subjected to a quality validation process. He added that the company is aiming for dealers to have normal MKZ stock positions by the start of April.