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Lincoln Zephyr/MKZ

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  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,423
    Maybe, but it is a gimmick. I have keyless go on my Suzuki SX4...hardly anywhere in the same universe as a luxury car. It is nice to have the key in my pocket and not have to insert it to open doors, start the car, open the hatch, etc., but the fob is still made of plastic (no matter how expensive your car), it contains a key you can remove to use in case for some reason the keyless go fails, and replacement if you lose it is several more times expensive. So I wouldn't write off a car if this wasn't on it, but that is just me. I do write off the MKZ for myself, because it isn't enough different from a loaded Fusion Sport to justify the price difference. However, given the poor sales of Lincolns (the Ford brand is responsible for FoMoCo's success lately), the real price difference is not all that much different. If you like the MKZ, go for it.
  • Gimmick or not but MKZs are going to be sold at discount because it is not what truly luxury buyers expect. There is already $2000 cash back in CA. I checked - Acura TSX and Audi A4 do not have any discounts. Lincoln basically became a blue collar luxury brands. That means that buyer do not care much about service, amenities or prestige. They just want more comfortable and nicer trimmed Ford with different look. But that was Mission Mercury until recently. Until recently Lincoln was considered luxury marque above Mercury, but not anymore, now Lincoln is a replacement for Mercury.

    BTW there is link to article about LM dealerships going away:

    http://www.fomoconews.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3769

    Below are some excerpts from article:

    ...Since Ford's dealership reduction efforts began in 2006, the number of stand-alone Lincoln-Mercury dealerships is down more than 42 percent. The biggest driver of the reduction has been the push for Lincoln-Mercury and Ford stores to merge in metro markets, something the automaker previously discouraged.

    At the beginning of 2009, there were 357 Lincoln-Mercury stores in the United States, down from 619 three years prior.

    Ford CEO Alan Mulally talked about the future of Lincoln and the stand-alone Lincoln-Mercury dealership with Associate Publisher Peter Brown, Editor Jason Stein and Staff Reporter Amy Wilson...

    ...I'll share a recent experience: I was driving a Lincoln MKS and visiting a stand-alone Ford store, and I was sitting in the car in front of the showroom for a few minutes. There was a salesman outside on the sidewalk right in front of this Lincoln MKS, and he starts talking it up to a customer, but then the punch line was: “Well, this is pretty much the same as the Taurus, the Taurus actually looks even better. I have the Taurus around the side, and it costs $10,000 less. Come look at the Taurus.”

    That wasn't a Ford-Lincoln-Mercury store, but that salesman saw that Lincoln and he jumped right on it to use it as a sales tool.

    "I understand. And the answer clearly is the brand promise. Maybe in the past, there hasn't been as much differentiation between a Lincoln and a Ford. But clearly with what we're doing going forward, that Lincoln product is going to be a more of a luxury brand promise. The whole bar's moving up because the Ford vehicles are getting better and all the luxury brands are getting better."

    But part of the brand promise is the experience at the dealership.

    "Most people that dual have an enhanced experience with the dealership, too, with the service. If you go to the ones that are really successful with that, they really provide the extra attention and care that the Lincoln buyers really expect and really value."

    But you have to get them to buy the Lincolns first. And if the sales guy thinks it's easier to sell him the Ford, you're going to sell fewer Lincolns, won't you?

    "I know your one example. But we've got a lot of people that are buying Lincolns, and they love Lincolns. The people that have dualed stores know they want to have an experience that fits the vehicle that they're selling, so they'll do it to be successful. They'll have two different experiences."...
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,747
    You still didn't point out why the Fusion key was "crappy". Frankly as long as it works all the time I don't see why it has to be different. There is only so much design and functionality you can put it in keyfob.

    Why doesn't the MKZ have keyless go? Same reason it shares doors and a roof with the Fusion. It wouldn't surprise me if they added it for 2010, but either way it will be there when Ford has the resources to commit to it.

    Which do you think is more important for Ford right now

    minor details like keyless go on the MKZ and a new RWD platform that might sell 50K/yr

    OR

    A new Fiesta, Euro Focus and unibody Explorer that will combine for 200k-300k units and protect Ford from future high gas prices?

    Ford wants to do what you want them to do but it will take years to get there. You seem to think they can just wave a magic wand and fix everything all at once.
  • Still Ford did not have problem committing resources to Jaguar which never brought adime of profit to Ford.

    Regarding keyfob - what is this:

    image
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,747
    In case you forgot, Mulally sold Jaguar as soon as he arrived. They're putting the money into Ford first, then Lincoln, then Mercury. Without a thriving Ford there won't be a Lincoln but you don't seem to understand that.

    As for the keyfob - looks like any other keyfob to me. What's wrong with it?
  • Photo is from Lincoln MKZ website. It says "Remote keyless entry system with trunk release (fob integrated into key)". It does not look like Ford Fusion key or like a key at all, so my question was does MKZ has keyless push button start or not. Of course if someone actually bought or test driven MKZ. On the other side in MKZ review in autoblog or Jalopnik they were complaining that MKZ uses same low price key-fob from Fusion.
  • I drove a 2010 MKZ Ultimate last spring and it had a conventional key - like a Fusion. The fob in the picture looks like the MKS fob. I am not saying that push button start isn't part of some package for an MKZ but their website sure does not indicate that it is.
  • It is MKZ fob because it is featured on MKZ webpage on lincolnvehicles.com. The other option may be that key itself is hidden in fob (like swiss knife). In this case Lincoln does not have start button. Using the same key as in Fusion is a mistake. People who buy luxury cars pay attention to details. Every detail has exude luxury. Unfortunately too many details in MKZ indicate that it is not truly luxury brand.

    BTW I compared new Buick LaCrosse and MKZ and LaCrosse feels more luxury car than MKZ for less money. MKZ might be in trouble unless Ford reduces the price. LaCrosse exterior and interior execution is perfection rivaling Lexus ES. Trunk is small though and in general car feels too Asian for me. I do not like Asian cars but most American prefer Asian style to anything else. So I do not know how MKZ is going to compete other than discounting car.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,423
    All GM core brands were up in sales Nov to Nov. Lincoln continues to be down, and that is very bad, considering how bad Nov 2008 sales were. I give Lincoln credit for trying different things, but they are just not hitting any marks yet. The popularity of the new Cadillac SRX, along with the CTS wagon and the stunning CTS coupe will not help Lincoln (for those who are looking for an American brand). Plus, really, who is going to buy the MKZ after honestly comparing it to the 2010 Lacrosse? Ford is still on a roll (I think), but Lincoln has not managed to do much with the MKS and MKT (and the afterthought MKZ...let's not even mention the MKX...oops I did), and Mercury still being around is starting to look silly.
  • Couldn't agree with you more concerning Lincoln (especially the MKZ). I own a Zephyr and I am quite happy with it's durability. I am very disappointed, however, in the 2010 MKZ. I'm sure it's also very durable (Ford is making some pretty reliable cars). Unfortunately, the styling of the 2010 is very forgettable, the interior is sub par for that price group and the car is overpriced. Ford is just not doing enough to make Lincoln truly competive and I'm wondering if Ford's future plan is to do away with Mercury and reduce Lincoln to competing with the Buicks of the world. Even "little' things like the hood prop issue and no heating/cooling vents in the back of the console for rear seat ventilation. These are things that are on ALL its competitors and you take for granted that Lincoln would do the same but, it just doesn't.
    The new Consumer's Report is out and a group of cars is tested including the 2010 MKZ. I understand that CR is not the end all be all and is just another review source but, it's interesting that CR's biggest problem with the MKZ was the interior. It said that at the price point of the MKZ, the interior should be nicer and that the interior was nothing more than "middling." The price and the interior are also my two big complaints.
    I don't think Lincoln will ever get back to where it was. Over a decade ago, it lost it's way and Ford doesn't seem to be interested in putting it back on the original intended course. I think it is pretty competitive with Buick but, it is no longer competive with Cadillac and it never was competitive with Lexus.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,747
    Ford doesn't seem to be interested in putting it back on the original intended course.

    Ford hasn't even begun to rebuild Lincoln. The MKZ, MKS and MKX are all lame ducks. Ford put most of it's limited resources to fixing Ford - the core brand. Without a strong Ford there won't be a Lincoln, and Ford had some serious product holes that are now being filled (Fiesta, Euro Focus, Transit Connect, Unibody explorer, new engines, fusion hybrid, etc.). The new Taurus proves that Ford will be taking Lincoln further upmarket and the MKT is first Lincoln product that really had the benefit of that new strategy.

    And it would cost a lot more money to shut down Mercury than to just ignore it as they're doing now (no new Sable....). Mercury will continue to be on the back burner until they fix Lincoln. It's just not a priority. OTOH it keeps the stand alone Lincoln/Mercury dealers in business with Milans and Mariners.

    Anybody that understands business decisions can see what's happening with Lincoln. The future will be bright but it will take a few years to get there. Some people are just impatient.
  • I finally went to Fremont Ford-Lincoln-Mercury-Mazda to test drive MKZ to validate $50 Master card offer I got at SF autoshow. And it was kind of bizzare experience. There is no separate Lincoln-Mercury showroom at Fremont Ford or anything reminding LM in this dealership - after all it always was and is Ford-Mazda dealership. There are though several Lincoln cars, including MKZ, in Ford showroom mixed with other Fords. Of course Mazda has separate showroom, personnel and service.

    I had to approach desk in search of sales people and funny enough no one was available. I never had that experience before except of Honda dealerships - normally sales people jump on you as soon as you put your foot on dealership's parking lot,

    Finally they found some guy who presented himself as Internet sales manager. I asked him about test driving MKZ and he told me he can fill the form without test drive. I told him that I actually came here to test drive MKZ. Then he told me that there is only one MKZ and it is in show room. I replied him that they have 3 of them - red, white and green, because I saw their inventory on their website. He scratched his head and said - "Oh yeah we had couple more on parking lot!". Then we went to test drive. After test drive I agree that MKZ is grossly overpriced - it mostly feels like Fusion I rented some time ago and many thing in car's exterior and interior screams - "I am Ford Fusion!". I do not say it is a bad car. Fusion in fact is a nice car. But it feels more like what Mercury supposed to be - better appointed Ford. But it is lacks luxury feel of Lexus or Buick - something more like Acura (European Accord). I hate Acura, so may be I have to wait for Buick Regal (European Opel Insignia) to see what Buick offers in size similar to MKZ. CTS, Mercedes or Audi are too upscale for my needs.

    Internet sales manager was a nice guy without all that pushy nonsense that mostly uneducated sales people generate. But I got a feeling that dealership is not interested in selling Lincolns at all - all their focus was on Ford brand and Lincoln and Mercury were relegated to poor relatives in someones house status.

    Having only 3 MKZs in the dealership? I noticed that two of them were made in April of 2009 and one in September. So they have only 3 MKZ and two of them are sitting on the lot for more than half a year? Are they really in the business of selling Lincolns? I do not think so. I got an impression that Ford dealership is the wrong place to look for Lincolns or Mercurys.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,423
    That is really too bad. I know that Ford is trying to survive and rebuild, but other companies seem to have core BRANDS (e.g., Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick-GMC) while Ford can only muster core brand. Maybe their strategy will work, but I doubt that Ford can go on much longer making anything else an afterthought.

    As we all know, the MKZ is a gussied up Fusion. I see the 2011 MKX will remain an Edge with a Lincoln grill. How hard would it have been to change the rear side window shape and/or the door skins to give a bit more family resemblance to the MKT? Why spend the money on yet another grill design (and new MKX tail lights that don't say Lincoln to anyone), when Ford already has plenty of experience with grill switcheroos (e.g., 500 to Taurus) being relatively useless for increased sales?

    There is no one advocating for the Lincoln brand. Yes, yes, I know...Ford must survive first. But why can GM completely differentiate Chevys from Buicks from Cadillacs so soon after the company almost went belly up? Who knows? Maybe it is because they are even hungrier than Ford.

    But in the meantime, why should dealers stock a lot of MKZs? If they had even more of them, they could only move them out the door at fire sale prices.
  • I guess sales people in Ford dealership could not even believe me that I really wanted to test drive MKZ. Probably nobody did it in ages. They behaved as if I would never buy MKZ for any decent price for them to make money. I can imagine how cheap I could buy one of those 6 month y.o. MKZ if showed even slight interest - they would be happy to get rid of them so could really focus on selling Fusions.
  • And actually MKZ for 5-7K below MSRP is a good replacement for Mercury Milan. I consider Lincoln brand nothing more than Mission Mercury. Probably Ford can safely merge them and get rid of Mercury. People who normally buy Mercuries (like myself) will buy Lincoln instead. But when time comes to upgrade to luxury car they will have to abandon Ford.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,423
    I don't know, but I doubt that the Milan is going away any time soon. The MKZ seems more likely to either fade away, or evolve into something relevant. The Ford brand is becoming more like VW...a brand that can cover a wide audience (even the cheapest VW has expensive looking interior appointments, and vehicles like the CC and Touareg appeal to people who want a bit more than entry level stuff). Witness how a well-equipped Taurus can go head-to-head with the MKS, or a loaded Fusion Sport give the MKZ a run for its money. No "luxury upgrading" is needed, if you prefer the Taurus style over the Lincoln. Plus the 2010 Taurus will likely hold its value better than the Lincoln too.

    Practically all mainstream brands are now producing well-equipped, quiet, comfortable, good performing models. Lincoln really needs to move up market (rather than simply restyle, add equipment to, and jack the price of Ford models), but there is no money to do that right now.
  • I would rather prefer MKZ to be turned into Mercury Milan than it is going away and Lincoln getting real luxury expensive car. MKZ is a nice car, but it does not have luxury ambiance. And for Gods sake - sell Lincolns in dedicated dealerships - otherwise it will actually fade away. Dealerships do not care about selling Lincolns at all - they are too busy with selling Fords and Lincoln simply cannot compete with Ford. Who is in his right mind would buy MKS when there is Taurus at the same lot for much less.

    I do not see what is the point of having Lincoln after Jaguar and etc gone if it is not a high end luxury brand competing with Mercedes and Lexus. Milan is absolutely identical to Fusion to add insult to injury Fusion has upper scale version (lwith 3.5L engine).
  • Who is in his right mind would buy MKS when there is Taurus at the same lot for much less.

    Hmmm......Maybe someone who is really fussy about details to which average consumers are oblivious or do not consider important. Or maybe someone who has driven both back to back and judged the MKS ecoboost to be more than worth the difference. Maybe someone who views the SHO as a classic case of "over promise and under deliver" and the MKS ecoboost as delivering precisely what was advertised.

    Before someone starts talking sales numbers, I fully admit that there aren't a lot of us in that enlightened group who view the MKS ecoboost as a vehicle with an entirely different mission and value statement than the Taurus. Those of us who are in that group have big smiles on our faces, though.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,423
    That's the point, I think...there aren't a lot of you who appreciate its virtues. Plus, a person can order the ecoboost in the SHO without the optional sports suspension. The SHO is selling better than expected, given its price point. I suspect the styling has a whole lot to do with that.

    The ecoboost is also available in the Flex and the MKT, and will soon be in the Mustang and F150. Sure, the MKS is a good car. So is the MKZ. But nothing stands out about either of them in a way that will stem Lincoln's slide.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,747
    I think the slide has already been "stemmed" - hasn't Lincoln been gaining market share slightly the last year or so? I agree they're just treading water until Ford can pony up the bucks for new platforms and significant redesigns. But I don't think they're going downhill.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,423
    There is no birght spot yet at Lincoln. Lincoln's sales have not increased...they have decreased year over year for the past couple years. FoMoCo's slightly increased market share is due to the Ford brand.
  • It is difficult to stand out in nearly any market these days. However, in the soft luxury mid price market, I would contend that the MKS ecoboost is near the top of the heap in terms of engine performance, fuel economy and technology, not to mention comfort, quiet and ride. It also outsells its nearest competition from Cadillac, Lexus and Infiniti, all of which are due for updates.

    Lincoln has an image problem, and no, they do not have anything special enough to get out of the hole that has been dug over the past 10-15 years. I also agree they need something with drop-dead different and distinctive styling to attract some attention. The MKT is drop-dead different but maybe not in a good way.

    I like the Taurus but it hardly stands out next to a Buick LaCrosse or several others in the $25-$32 thousand dollar range. The SHO with its goofy little spoiler, metallic doodads on the pedals and dash, and sports sedan ride without sports sedan handling has a bit of a market now but I wonder if it can be sustained.

    The MKZ is in a tough market and while a nice car, it is very difficult to find an area where it exceeds the competition.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,423
    It wouldn't accept the rest of my post...try again!
    There is no bright spot yet at Lincoln. Lincoln's sales have not increased...they have decreased year over year for the past couple years. FoMoCo's slightly increased market share is due to the Ford brand.

    Need some stats? In 2008 Lincoln sales were down 18.4% overall as compared to 2007 sales (themselves nothing to crow about).

    So far in 2009 (compared month-to-month with 2008 sales rounded):
    Jan -24%
    Feb -41%
    March -33%
    April -42%
    May a bright spot +2%
    June -27%
    July -24%
    Aug -38%
    Sept -21%
    Oct -9%
    Nov -20%

    There is nothing here to indicate that any of Lincoln's current efforts have been successful. Since GM hit the skids and went bankrupt over the summer, Cadillac sold 9% fewer vehicles in September 09 than in Sept 08. In October they increased sales by 10% and in November increased sales by 22%. In November, Lincoln sold 6409 total units in November to Cadillac's 9721. Somehow Cadillac is clawing its way back within a very beaten down corporation. All GM core brand saw sales increases.

    GM appears to be focusing on each of its remaining four core brands. Ford is focusing on Ford.
  • As I understand Ford has no money. Last time it had cash was in late 90s but Ford management squandered it all had on European "prestige" marques instead of investing into its own core brands as any of proud Japanese companies would do.

    My understanding is since Ford is broke they decided to relegate Lincoln to second rate status ignoring Mercury in the process and investing all available credit in Ford brand. They also decided to get rid of Lincoln-Mercury dealerships since most them them are too old and dilapidated and sell Lincoln and Mercuries in Ford dealerships just like Toyota does with Scion. Then it would be easy to kill both Lincoln and Mercury if necessary and become one brand company. Alternatively Ford someday may decide to move Lincoln up to become truly luxury brand - then it can establish brand new modernly designed Lincoln-Mercury dealership network.
  • How they can sell more Lincolns if there are no Lincoln dealerships. Believe me when I say that people at Ford dealerships do not care about moving Lincolns. I experienced it first hand. They would rather talk you into buying Fusion and Taurus because they will make money if they sell Ford versions but loose money selling discounted Lincoln versions of the same car.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,747
    The only thing that matters today is retail market share and transaction price and I believe Lincoln has been increasing both of those over the last year. The overall numbers are clouded by fleet sales and past huge incentives.

    As Bruce stated, the MKS is outselling all of the competition except for MB and BMW (last time I looked). Lexus and Infiniti are not even close. How can that be so terrible?

    I realize there are shortcomings but I think Lincoln is doing much better now than they have in the last several years and they will go up from here (slowly but surely).

    As for dealers - Ford has no control over them (sadly). Once they shrink the too-large dealer base through attrition (assisted or otherwise) and they have new products and marketshare then the dealers can afford to do things separately. Right now they don't have enough products or volume to do it.
  • I have no doubt that some Ford stores care little about Lincoln. However, your experience doesn't mean that ALL Ford stores see Lincoln as the red headed stepchild.

    In Minneapolis, several Ford stores have consolidated and remodeled. The best ones took on Lincoln and drastically raised the customer experience not only for Lincoln buyers but Ford buyers as well. My Ford/Lincoln store has well trained personnel, a nice lounge with computer hook-ups and loaner laptops, Starbucks coffee, pastries in the morning, popcorn during the day and a huge clean service department. They are one of the highest volume Lincoln dealers in the Midwest and just a couple of years ago, they only sold Fords.

    When I bought my Lincoln, the Sales Manager spent over an hour with me going over sync, the Nav system, and a number of other things. He was the first car salesperson I ever met who actually knew the product as well as I did. He had come from a dedicated Lincoln store which is now closed.

    There is a huge variation in customer experiences at dealerships. I shopped 3 local dealers and the one I chose was head and shoulders above the others. My only point is that there are still some very good stores who are more than happy to put you in a Lincoln.
  • Cadillac's success in November was with the SRX which accounted for over a third of their sales. Their passenger car sales were down. They did have a slight uptick with the DTS, a car for which Lincoln has no competitor.

    No question Ford is focusing more on the Ford brand. The Fusion and Fusion Hybrid are excellent cars and are doing well. They have had excellent press, too. Focus and Escape are doing well sales wise without being state of the art. Taurus sales are up with the new body but they couldn't possibly have gotten worse. In terms of being super competitive in their market segment, I would say the Fusion is in the best shape of any Ford. With mid-size car sales being the bread and butter, they certainly have the right car to take advantage.

    As for Lincoln, I will give them credit for what they have done with the upgraded 2010 MKZ, the introduction of the MKT and the under the skin enhancements to the MKS. Lincoln's overall numbers don't look so hot in part because their version of the Edge is in need of a re-do, the Navigator is not competitive and the Town Car is an embarrassment.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,423
    I hope that Allen is right about Lincoln making money, even with much lower sales. But even so, it means there isn't much demand for Lincolns overall. The MKZ is languishing, and Ford really doesn't care, since that means more Fusions can be built.

    As for Cadillac's success, who cares how they get it, as long as they get it after the corporation went bankrupt? In the past few years, Lincoln hasn't done what the SRX has done: take an almost moribund model like the former SRX, re-do it, and see sales really take off. The MKZ upgrades did nothing for sales. I doubt the 2011 upgrades to the MKX will do much either...after all, it is in direct competition with the SRX, which seems to have hit a sweet spot. Cadillac also has several more new models in the pipeline. What is the next really new Lincoln planned? Anyone know?

    Note to Allen: comparing the MKS to Mercedes and BMW is a bit a of stretch. Both are rear drive cars that cost more than the MKS. I have never seen a test where anyone thought they should be compared head to head. The MKS is more of a modern Town Car or Continental, and as such goes up against Chrysler 300 V8, Lucerne, Azera (maybe even Genesis), Taurus Limited and SHO, Maxima and the like. In that field, it more than holds its own, but Lincoln volume growth (real growth based on demand) cannot depend on it. I think Lincoln was shooting for 50K sales when they designed it. That is not a big number for any car, luxury or otherwise, that is in real demand. I don't think even the Taurus will make that number at this point. Hope I'm wrong.
  • Lincoln's bread and butter volume car is MKZ. And it is really funny how Ford does not care about MKZ. There are no LM dealerships left in SF bay area. And most of Ford dealerships have only couple of MKZ, what kind of volume car it is if there is no cars in dealership. San Leandro Ford has only one MKZ, Fremont Ford has three and two of them sit there since May 2009. Livermore Ford has none. Only Ford dealerships in San Jose and Sunnyvale have around 10 MKZ. Of course if you are hell bent to buy MKZ you can do it. But Fords strategy in increasing Lincoln's sales volume looks weird to me. Lincoln has an exclusivity status though. I did not see a single 2010 MKZ on the road so far. And thats in the area where most people drive Mercs, BMW, Audis, Lexuses, Acuras and Infinities.
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