Ford is criticized for use of stair-step incentives on some Lincoln models

Article by Anita Panait, on September 10, 2013

In a move to support its Lincoln brand, Ford Motor Co. has commenced using a bonus program that dealers say is “confusing” and “unfair.” The dealer-bonus programs -- called stair-step incentives that entail the carmaker paying dealers more as they pass certain sales levels – are now ongoing in New York and Washington, D.C., according to memos distributed to dealers.

The stair-step incentives, which offer up to $1,500 per sale, have received criticism from dealers. The incentive programs could result to steep discounts or generous trade-ins as well as in sales drop-off once they expire. Although Ken Czubay, Ford's vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service, denies that Ford is not running stair-step programs, sales analyst Erich Merkle remarked that the carmaker is using them selectively for Lincoln.

Don Chalmers, the owner of Ford and Lincoln dealerships near Santa Fe and Albuquerque, New Mexico, told Bloomberg News in a telephone interview that there are “some inherently unfair aspects” of stair-step programs."

He said that the programs are confusing to the market and are “not necessarily good for customer satisfaction.” He remarked that while there is “a burst of sales” at the end of a stair-step program, there also is always a payback – sales drop right after the scheme. Ford’s programs in New York and Washington cover the Lincoln MKS full-size sedan and MKX and MKT utility vehicles.

Almost exactly the same as the concept Lincoln MKZ revealed at the 2012 North American International Auto Show in January, the 2013 Lincoln MKZ production car embraces a subtle, distinct design idiom.

Lincoln calls it minimal elegance. The brand wanted the new MKZ to be appealing and available, moving away from conventional luxury signals and intricate styling. Lincoln then developed something passionate that is luxurious, and still deliberately controlled.

Lincoln MKZ Exterior

A continuous roofline delineates the new luxury vehicle's silhouette. The sharply raked windscreen and elongated backlight create a smoother and more graceful look that is ten percent more streamlined than the version it takes over from. The MKZ form is a look accomplished with only a few lines.

Even though it is patently contemporary, the styling keeps traditional Lincoln design cues including a more polished interpretation of the split-wing grille that was seen first on the 1938 Lincoln-Zephyr.

Rear view mirrors sit on sculptured door-mounted pedestals. This fixture allows the front door glass to reach further forward to enhance perceptions and to let even more light into the cabin.

The hand-crafted headlight constructions have vivid, energy-efficient LED lights. The front headlamps turn in synchronicity with the steering wheel, giving better visibility. At the back, LED tech creates a slender, distinct full-width tail light design.

Topics: ford, lincoln

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