Photo: Ford Motor Company
This week, Ford announced its plan to relaunch Lincoln in hopes to get the luxury brand out of eighth place in sales. It includes a big marketing campaign, a Super Bowl commercial, and the new MKZ.Looking to wrench customers away from luxury behemoths like BMW and Mercedes-Benz, as well as a resurgent Cadillac, Lincoln is aiming for young buyers.
Thus the Super Bowl ad that will consist of user tweets curated by Jimmy Fallon.
To win those young buyers, Design Manager Solomon Song created a car he says is so different from recent failures, he made sure “Lincoln” was spelled out on the rear of the car, so people would recognise it.
Song emphasised the MKZ’s simplicity, elegance, and newness, and said he wanted to remove everything frivolous. Even the gear shifter is gone, replaced by buttons on the centre console.
The car’s best elements are the very cool retractable panoramic glass roof and the split-wing grille, a good-looking nod to quality Lincolns of old.
But there is another, questionable feature that connects the MKZ to more recent, less successful, Lincolns. On the driver’s door is a number pad (using touch buttons that disappear when the car is on), so the owner can punch in a code to enter the car. It is a retro feature I have not seen on any other new vehicles.
These days, automakers are ditching actual keys for fobs. If a driver has the fob on his person and is near the car, he can get in and start driving. It is high-tech, convenient, and the subject of a great VW commercial. So why did Lincoln stick with old, and certainly unnecessary, method of punching in a code?
Former Lincoln owners considering the MKZ like that feature, and would miss it, Song said. And there’s the problem: When it comes to getting in the car, Lincoln is still catering to its former customers, not the young buyers who could actually make the entire relaunch a success.
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