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The Lincoln MKZ Hybrid might not be "true luxury," yet, but it is being recalled. According to The Detroit News, around 7,300 gas-electric MKZs from the 2013-2014 model years have a problem with the powertrain control module that could cause the vehicles to roll even after being put into park. The problem is that the software can sometimes allow the shift to happen even if the brake pedal isn't pushed down. No injuries have been reported, Ford said.
In a statement provided to The Detroit News, Ford said, "The vehicles may have been built with transmission range sensors that do not function properly due to a manufacturing error. As a result of this error, the powertrain control module may incorrectly assume the vehicle is in neutral and allow the transmission to shift out of park without the brake pedal applied, increasing the risk of unintended vehicle movement due to an inadvertent shift out of park."
Earlier this year, Ford recalled the non-hybrid MKZ (as well as the MKS and the MKT) for fuel leaks.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Lincoln is "not true luxury," according to Ford's design boss, J Mays. His statements come from a story in The Detroit News that saw candid language on the issues facing Ford's troubled premium brand. Notably, there's a need for a strong character, with Mays saying, "Every brand needs to have a DNA and a unique selling point and things in the vehicle that make you think, 'That's that particular brand.'"
With a range of rebadged Fords, it's not hard to see why that DNA is missing. Mays hinted that a full recovery for Lincoln will be a ten-year process, that's been kicked off with the MKZ sedan. While that car is still largely a Ford Fusion under its extremely pretty wrapper, it's the first Lincoln in some time to inject its own unique take both through the exterior styling and through interior features, such as the vertical, pushbutton gear selection.
Some analysts weren't so certain about Mays' 10-year estimate. Jim Hall of 2953 Analytics thinks it'll be more like 30 years before Lincoln can show a true return to form. The issue, as Hall explains it, is that, "luxury has a degree of exclusivity," that Lincoln just doesn't have. Michelle Krebs from Edmunds adds, "it's definitely a wanna-be luxury brand," comparing the troubled American brand with Infiniti and Acura, two other brands that have struggled to find their place in the luxury market.
From the language Mays is using, though, it seems that Ford is still rather committed to Lincoln. The MKZ, while plagued by production issues, has been a steady seller, although not enough to prevent an overall drop in 2013 sales for the brand. The eventual arrival of the Ford Escape-based MKC could be a boon to the brand, provided its as unique as the MKZ. Lincoln is also preparing to go on sale in China, a market that has traditionally loved brands unloved by Americans (see Buick), so while Ford's luxury brand might be down, it's probably nowhere close to out.Permalink | Email this | Comments
With all of the social media hype surrounding short video postings, I have decided to start using Instagram videos to create daily car review video bites for my gig over at Wheels.ca. I am a week in and I kinda like the medium. I hope you like it too.
First up is the 2013 Lincoln MKZ. There has been a lot of chatter in the media debating whether Lincoln has lost the plot when it comes to styling and the future of the brand. Most of those who are panning the style are old guys who don’t like change.
Ford is doing well. It can't make enough examples of its new Fusion, it can barely make enough of the aging F-150, it's getting good brand rankings, people like its turnaround story, it's selling oodles of product and its quarterly profit numbers end in the word "billion." As other high-flying examples have demonstrated over the past few years, though, big numbers can come with problems that aren't exactly small.
Automotive News has published a good "nutshell" report of Ford's progress and problems. The Dearborn automaker's optimistic "general label rule" determination of gas mileage for the C-Max Hybrid has led to lawsuits, hybrid software updates, a downward revision of C-Max fuel economy and millions in rebates. AN notes the C-Max was the "worst-scoring model in this year's J.D. Power Initial Quality Study," but Ford will probably be happy that it managed not to be mentioned further in the study's results after last year's mediocre showing. Its MyTouch and SYNC systems, the bugbears sabotaging Ford's J.D. Power results, have also led to lawsuits, software updates, more software updates and a center console rethink. On top of that, the 1.6-liter EcoBoost in the 2013 Ford Escape that Ford called a "hero" was soon catching fire for three different reasons. And let's not even get into the troubled launch of the Lincoln MKZ.
The Automotive News piece notes that industry observers have been surprised at Ford's stumbles because everything has been looking so good. Nevertheless, there is still the issue of those billions in profits - the company is doing plenty of things, plural, right. Ford says it is tackling its problems, hiring engineers and instituting new quality control processes as part of its effort to find solutions. The test will be to see if in a year from now we begin the discussion of these issues with "Remember when Ford...", or "Problems continue at The Blue Oval."Permalink | Email this | Comments
With the posh surroundings of Monterey, CA during the Pebble Beach week as a backdrop, Lincoln has unveiled is new personalization and luxury service brand, called Lincoln Black Label. Following in the footsteps of programs like BMW Individual, Range Rover Autobiography, and many more, Black Label is strategic strike, aimed at upping Lincoln's brand cachet while luring new customers into the fold. Speaking about this at the Black Label's introduction in California Thursday, Jim Farley, Ford's executive vice president of Global Marketing, Sales and Service and Lincoln, told members of the media that "At Lincoln, our flagship is, you get to choose. That's our flagship."
While Black Label customers will benefit from concierge-like service from their dealers - both during the sale process and throughout ownership - the focus of the introduction is strongly focused on interior design.
Lincoln chose its current MKZ sedan and its MKC Concept crossover as the debutants for Black Label treatment for good reason: the well-received MKC points the way forward for Lincoln styling as a whole, and the MKZ will be the first production vehicle to receive the option of the high-zoot interior design. We're told that eventually, Black Label treatment will be available for the full Lincoln lineup, but the MKZ will be the initial recipient, and not until late in 2014 according to the company's current projections.
That we have to wait so long for the high-end MKZs is a bit of a head scratcher, but the Black Label interior treatments do make for compelling furniture. Designers have focused on creating evocative environs, using fairly dramatic color and contrast, and through the use of premium leathers, Alcantara and natural woods. The resultant three interior treatments for the MKZ are dubbed Modern Heritage, Indulgence and Center Stage.
Black Label interior treatments do make for compelling furniture.
The Center Stage treatment (seen at the top) is the most dramatic by a long ways, matching an unmissable Foxfire Red headliner and red accents with an otherwise blacked out interior. Perforated Alcantara inserts for the seats and door offer an interesting material pattern, too. The Indulgence car seems aimed at the widest band of Lincoln shoppers, with layered brown tones ("Ganache" and "Truffle") and a cool, undyed, natural grain wood called Ziricote. Modern Heritage meanwhile, seen on both the MKZ and the hot MKC Concept, offers an ultra-high-contrast white and black treatment with metal flake-imbued wood trim. That's bling special, to be sure.
You can find a bit more detailed information in Lincoln's official press release, and a lot of interior pictures to dig through in our Black Label galleries.Permalink | Email this | Comments
The Lincoln MKZ is like the Ford Fusion's strange looking older brother. We thought it'd be a total flop. Apparently it isn't. Lincoln has to double production of the MKZ Hybrid to keep up with demand.