Lincoln reported a 29% drop in US sales last month, despite Super Bowl ads

Article by Christian A., on March 4, 2013

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.

Looking at the production version of the 2013 Lincoln MKZ, it’s obvious that it has a design language that is truly unique. There are features however that are similar to the Lincoln MKZ Concept, the same one that was unveiled during the North American International Auto Show held in January 2012. Lincoln Design Director Max Wolff said that the design of the MKZ is one that the brand likes to call as elegant simplicity.

He added that the brand wanted this model to be approachable as well as inviting. Wolff continued by saying that for the new MKZ, the brand decided not to make use of complex designs and traditional luxury cues. He revealed that the result is a model that is rich and warm while still be restrained. Though the overall design is indeed more contemporary, it still has a number of the classic design elements that Lincoln is associated with.

An example of this is the split-wing grille, first used on the 1938 Lincoln-Zephyr, but coming with a refined interpretation. Meanwhile the rearview mirrors are placed on the sculpted pedestals, which themselves are mounted on the door. Because of this positioning, the front door glass can be extended even farther forward. This allows additional light to enter the interior and at the same time enhance visibility.

The vehicle’s crafted headlamp assemblies contain LED lighting which is both bright and energy-efficient. Since the headlights turn at the same time as the steering wheel, it helps improve the visibility. For the rear section, the use of LED technology allowed for a unique and thin full-width tail lamp graphic.

Going to the profile of this new luxury sedan, its defining feature is its sweeping roofline. The windshield is more steeply raked with the backlight being extended. This allows for a more flowing and smoother look and is more aerodynamic by 10% compared to the previous model. According to Wolff, the shape of the MKZ is a vision that has been completed by just using a few strokes.

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