Ford Motor Co. posted its best May sales in the United States for the first time since 2006, thanks to strong results from its Ford F-series pickup and Ford Escape crossover. The carmaker posted a 14-percent year-on-year jump in US sales in May 2013 to 246,019 units. This was 6,875 units less than General Motors and over 38,000 units more than Toyota Motor Sales sold in the month.
Ford also managed to break the 70,000-unit sales level for its F-series for the first time since 2006. The carmaker also managed to post the highest monthly volume in Ford Escape 13-year existence, logging a 26-percent jump to 29,123 units.
Ford's luxury brand Lincoln logged flat sales, although deliveries of its redesigned MKZ sedan soared 42 percent in the month. The Fusion and Focus both posted a 10-percent sales growth in May 2013, making them the two best-selling cars made by the Detroit 3. Ford sold 29,553 Fusions in May, a record for the month.
Ken Czubay, Ford's vice president of US marketing, sales and service, remarked during a conference call that the carmaker is outpacing the industry growth, thanks to the strong performance of its products in the US. He noted that there is “great demand” for Ford products, leading them to expect a share growth.
Ford is planning to increase its production in North America by 10 percent in the third quarter of 2013 to 740,000 units. Czubay disclosed that there is increasing demand for the Fusion in California and Florida, where US-made cars were not that popular. According to Czubay, Ford now holds an 8-percent retail share of the segment in California.
When it came to designing the interior of the Lincoln MKZ, the team wanted it to have strong architectural elements while showcasing the details and the use of natural and rich materials. According to Wolf, the front graphic on the exterior is mirrored by the new instrument panel and how it reveals a more dramatic sweep. As such, it manages to connect the exterior to the interior in a more harmonious way, he continued.
Wolff said that the flowing forms, which when combined with the open center console, result in an interior that is both functional and comfortable. He added that the hope is that this will attract customers who are more diverse and younger.
On the exterior, it is clear that the style has been made more modern but Lincoln also made sure that the new MKZ would continue to have many of the brand’s classic design elements. A good example is the split-wing grille which was first featured on the 1938 Lincoln-Zephyr but now has a more refined interpretation under the MKZ. Looking at the front, the crafter headlamp assemblies make use of LED lighting, which is not only bright but energy efficient at the same time.
Since the front headlights are able to turn in the same direction as the steering wheel, it allows for visibility to be improved. For the rear section, the use of LED technology allowed for the unique full-width thin tail lamp graphic. Meanwhile the exterior also reveals that the rearview mirrors have been placed on the sculpted and door-mounted pedestals.
Because of this, the front door glass can be extended forward to allow for enhanced visibility while also letting more light get inside. Moving to the profile of this new luxury sedan, the dominant feature is the sweeping roofline.
In addition, by extending the backlight and making the windshield steeply raked, it resulted in a look that is more flowing and sleeker. The benefit is not only on the function, given that this resulted in the new model being aerodynamic by an additional 10% compared to the prior model. Wolff related that the shape of the MKZ is a vision that was finished in a few strokes.