Every man who has ever seen Mad Men will attest that it’s one of the best shows on TV today. Lincoln seems to think so too because why else would they tap John Slattery – aka Roger Sterling – to be the man to promote their brand’s refreshed line-up.
Automakers seem to have had a deep-lying affinity for the show with Mercedes-Benz recently signing John Hamm – he’s Don Draper in the show, by the way – to be their new voice over for their commercials.
The Lincoln commercial for the 2011 MKX promotes the car’s unparalleled attention to its technology, with Slattery even saying that “no other anything in the world has it.”
And with the campaign’s tag line of “Smarter than Luxury”, it fits right in with Slattery’s character in Mad Men, Roger Sterling. Really, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more ideal pitchman for Lincoln than John Slattery, a man the company says fits in to their brand for his "authentic, real-world appeal."
Now, care to venture a guess as to what auto brand will try to get Robert Morse to work with them?
The Lincoln Continental has one of the longest history in the automotive industry. It was produced between 1939 and 2002. Now Ford announced plans to revive the Continental nameplate in an effort to bring new competitors for Lexus and Mercedes models.
Ford spokesman Christian Bokich said dealers at Monday’s meeting that the company is already preparing concept-stage images of some of the upcoming vehicles. However he did not discussed details such as the size or the names of the vehicles under development.
Steve Kain, general manager of a Ford and Lincoln dealer in London, Ky., who was briefed on Monday’s meeting, said he supported the idea of bringing back a Continental-inspired sedan. "It’s about revitalizing the whole Lincoln franchise," said Kain. "It’s no different when Ford did away with the Ford Taurus for a year and a half. They refreshed the vehicles, and it’s been a great seller since then."
Expect the new Continental to debut in the next five years.
Ford is hoping to move Lincoln up the automotive ladder, and in order to accomplish this goal, the company will cut at least 200 dealers, mostly in major metropolitan areas.
"The future direction of the Lincoln ownership experience has been charted on a joint basis between Ford Motor and select dealer representatives," spokesman Christian Bokich told Automotive News. "It is important that Lincoln dealers are the first to hear about this information from the company."
Ford’s luxury brand currently has 1,221 U.S. stores, with around 276 stand-along Lincoln-Mercury dealers. Up to 40 percent of these dealers will be cut, as Lexus, the nation’s leading luxury brand, has just 236 stores. Maybe Lincoln should be cutting 40 percent of its chrome as well.
The company currently ranks eighth among luxury brands and should sell around 83,000 vehicles in 2010. With so many dealers, the company sells fewer cars per outlet than any other luxury brand. Ford hopes that these cuts will help that statistic.
They are dropping like flies around Ford. With Mercury going down, Ford will now only have Lincoln to fund and the extra cash will definitely be going into refreshing and expanding the Lincoln line-up. The first model to be added to the line-up will be a compact 4WD vehicle. There are no official details on this particular model as of yet, but it is believed to be a crossover based on the next-generation Kuga crossover from Europe. Look at the Lincoln C concept from the 2009 Detroit show and we might be getting a glimpse of the crossover to come.
The future crossover won’t be the only thing getting added to the lineup. Lincoln will also be bringing a redesigned version of the MKZ and a new Mid-sized sedan based on the next-generation Ford Mondeo. The MKS will also receive a redesign in 2012, with a completely new version coming in 2016.
But wait, there’s more. In 2011, Lincoln will drop the Town Car and offer a facelift for the MKX. A redesign for the MKX is expected in 2014. The MKT will be redesigned for 2012, but most likely dropped in 2014. And finally the Navigator; it will receive a facelift in 2012 and a new EcoBoost engine with a 5.0-liter V-8 within the next few years.
You’ve finally got that big time job and you want something that isn’t too cheap, but you don’t want to spend $80,000 quite yet. There is much to choose from in the middle luxury segment and each car has it’s own unique characteristics that make it better, or worse than the competition.
Just like the entry-level luxury segment, the Germans have always had the middle levels to themselves. The Japanese and the American automakers have never been able to catch up. Yet, 2010 is a new year and things might be changing in the automotive marketplace.
As you have seen by now, we have a tendency to rank cars differently than other car sites. While we love practicality as much as the next site, at TopSpeed, we put speed, performance, and that certain sparkle above the size of the trunk and the back seat.
With entry-level luxury cars, finding the gems between the boring sales rep vehicles can be a pretty hard task. We have so many terribly dull sedans that are only good for taking you down the motorway to work and that’s about it. We aren’t looking for that. We don’t care about sales, we don’t care about popularity, we care about how these cars drive on the track and in the real world. We are aware that a point to point car is what most people will like, but we want an entry-level sedan that provides excitement on that everyday journey. Something that can make you smile and enjoy the drive home. A car that will make you take the back roads.
Over the course of this series we have jumped price by $10,000 each time, starting from $20,000 with the small cars and then $30,000 with the midsize. For this test, we are jumping by $15,000, to make the price cap at $45,000.
Hit the jump to see what our top ten entry-level luxury vehicles are.
Lincoln unveiled today at the New York Auto Show, the 2011 MKZ Hybrid. This is the company’s first ever hybrid vehicle, but a logical step if you consider both the Ford Fusion and the Mercury Milan are also available with hybrid drivetrains.
The 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid uses Ford’s second-generation hybrid technology – the 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle I-4 hybrid engine, a system that combines gasoline engine and electric battery-driven motors and delivers a total of 191 hp. In pure electric mode, the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid can drive with a top speed of up to 47 mph. Compared to its main competitor, the 2010 Lexus HS 250h, the Lincoln hybrid tops their fuel efficiency by 6mpg with 41mpg in the city.
Also, a trump card that can be played against the 2010 Lexus HS 250h is Lincoln’s extra space allowing for one more passenger, segment-exclusive safety features, and more standard luxury. The Lincoln luxury hybrid sedan will be offered with: SmartGauge with EcoGuide, Lincoln SYNC, 10-Way Power Passenger Seat, Genuine Wood Trim, Reverse Sensing System, Keyless Entry Keypad, Personal Safety System, Acoustic Laminated Windshield and standard Bridge of Weir leather seats. These items will either not be offered with the Lexus or will come with an additional price tag.
Updated 07/22/2010: Lincoln today announced prices for the 2011 MKZ Hybrid that will go on sale this fall. Prices will start at $35,180, a price identical to the 2011 Lincoln MKZ gas model and below the 2010 Lexus HS 250h, the MKZ Hybrid’s nearest competitor.
Depending on how you enjoy your idle time, the 2011 Ford Edge and 2011 Lincoln MKX’s new configurators will either be another time-wasting exercise for you or something that could invariably lead to your next car purchase. Either way, both Ford and Lincoln wouldn’t mind the two scenarios the least bit, although we’d venture a guess that they’d prefer you choose the latter.
In any case, the Edge, which begins with a base price of $27,220 for the SE model – that’s for the 3.5-liter V6 engine – can be tricked-out to a 3.7-liter V6 engine with a 305-horsepower in the form of the premium Edge Sport all-wheel drive. That model will cost you an additional $10,000 plus at $38,070. Add some more goodies on it and it all tops out at somewhere in the neighborhood of $45,000.
Meanwhile, the Lincoln MKX begins with a base price of $39,145 with an all-wheel drive version that’s slightly higher in price tag at $40,995. Both variants will come with the same 3.7-liter V6 six-speed SelectShift transmission and SYNC as standard features. As far as packages for the MKX are concerned, there’s not much to work with because of the thin choices that go on the SUV.
The 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid has just become the most fuel-efficient luxury sedan in America with a certified 41 mpg in city driving and 36 mpg on the highway. Compared to its nearest competitor, the 2010 Lexus HS 250h, the MKZ offers a 6 mpg better fuel economy, more engine power, passenger room, standard luxury (leather upholstery and genuine wood), and segment-exclusive safety features.
The 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid uses Ford’s second-generation hybrid technology – the 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle I-4 hybrid engine, a system that combines gasoline engine and electric battery-driven motors and delivers a total of 191 hp. In pure electric mode, the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid can drive with a top speed of up to 47 mph which is much more than the Lexus HS 250h that only reaches 25mph in battery-only mode.
“The Lincoln MKZ Hybrid offers everything our customers look for in a midsize luxury sedan, plus unsurpassed fuel economy,” said Kuzak. “Our engineers worked to ensure the hybrid electric motor and engine complement each other in a fashion that reflects the truly refined driving experience that is synonymous with the Lincoln name.”
Goodbye Mercury, it was nice knowing you. Let’s face, though, this was bound to happen. Even Jill Wagner couldn’t save the once great brand. Mercury’s sales have plummeted in recent years and the brand only accounts for 0.8 percent of Ford’s overall market share.
In a press conference this afternoon with Mark Fields, Ford’s president of the America’s and Derrick Kuzak, group vice president of product development, the automaker officially announced the end of Mercury.
With the progress that Ford has been making over the past few years, no brand-specific models were given to Mercury. Instead, Mercury was forced to sell, what basically was a Ford with a different badge. The cars that did sell were mostly through discounts offered to retirees, friends, or family.
Mercury’s dealer network is in the process of being informed about the decision and owners are being told that they can still get there cars serviced at any Ford dealer.
Yet, despite the loss of a great company, Ford isn’t feeling blue. Ford is using the demise of Mercury to refocus and beef up Lincoln. The beef up will include the 2011 MKZ Hybrid and the refreshed 2011 MKX. On top of that, Ford will give Lincoln seven all-new or slightly refreshed models, including the brands first even C-segment vehicle.
Lincoln will also be getting the EcoBoost motors across the entire lineup, including the next generation Navigator. Ford is clearly showing that they are committed to the Lincoln brand.