DEARBORN - As Lincoln continues to reinvent its brand and product lineup, MKZ is all-new and leads the way as the first of four new Lincoln models to come.
"The 2013 Lincoln MKZ is the first major proof point in the reinvention of our brand," Kate Pearce, marketing manager, Lincoln. "What you are seeing from our design and engineering teams is a new, unique vehicle in the marketplace."
There’s no better way to showcase this reinvention than to give people an opportunity to experience the future of Lincoln firsthand.
Lincoln developed two teams that will travel nationwide, opening the doors of Lincoln all over the country to potential customers, to test drive the new and improved Lincoln MKZ.
Starting in Michigan, everywhere from Ford’s World Headquarters in Dearborn to Papa Joes Gourmet Market in Rochester, potential luxury customers were able to experience exactly what makes Lincoln a luxury brand.
The event kicked off at the Birmingham Art Show, and shortly after, made its next stop at Papa Joes where 316 people were given the unique opportunity to test drive the Lincoln MKZ from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
"Lincoln needs to make a statement about what the brand is – because that's not been clear – and where the brand is headed," said Michelle Krebs, an auto analyst at Edmunds.com about the importance of the MKZ to Lincoln.
Ride and Drive experiences like this one, as well as more targeted, upscale consumer drives, are a critical part of the equation.
"A variety of consumer engagement initiatives have been developed in support of our pre-launch efforts for the all-new Lincoln MKZ. All of them are geared towards engaging specific luxury conquest customers, driving favorable opinion for the brand and building momentum for dealers as the new MKZ comes to market," said Jim Peters, manager, Marketing and Communication, Lincoln.
And it shows. The event at Ford’s World Headquarters alone made 350 spots available, and reservations for each filled up in less than 30 minutes, which speaks volumes. It’s clear that people want to see this new, stylish version of the MKZ.
Lincoln's MKZ has much to offer: a fresh new design, positive public sentiment toward Lincoln and a hybrid model that has attracted new customers.
Additionally, the 2013 MKZ Hybrid will get a combined 45 miles per gallon, the most fuel-efficient, luxury vehicle in America. Furthermore, MKZ delivers up to 6 mpg more than the new Lexus ES Hybrid.
Lincoln remains the only brand to offer a hybrid for the same price as a non-hybrid version, with both models having a base price of $35,925.
Pearce said Lincoln expects to see "solid" numbers of buyers moving to the brand for the 2013 MKZ, which should further boost sales.
With the MKZ, Lincoln is clearly differentiating itself from its prestige competitors. And in this case, employees loved the Lincoln MKZ and were excited they had the chance to experience such a smooth, new ride.
Below are just a few comments shared by employees after taking their test drive at WHQ this week.
“It’s great!” said Ian Youmans, software engineer. “It’s a lot more striking than older Lincolns. It’s definitely something you’ll notice on the road.”
Sharif Hasan, diesel OBD calibration engineer, agreed. “It’s so cool. I didn’t expect the EcoBoost to pick up so fast – very impressive. It’s a sportier exterior and I like that a lot. Especially, the technology – it’s everything you would want in a sound system, which is neat.”
Financial Analyst Tony Marchant was extremely impressed with the fit and finish. “It was a very quiet ride, especially in terms of the wind noise. Well designed and excellent, strong handling. The interior was much improved from prior models, it looked richer and I liked the push button on the gear shift.”
Erin Penn, IT, drove the hybrid. “It was pretty cool, quiet, futuristic, high-tech, smooth, firm and not too soft. It really connected to the road. I would say it’s a huge improvement. The new Lincoln MKZ is competitive and gives other companies a run for their money.”
Arshad Sharief, java programmer, IT, said the MKZ has a very good look and the feel is phenomenal. “The Hybrid part recharging itself was what I liked the best.”
Mohammed Quraishi, java programmer, IT, liked the technology inside and the overall shape of the vehicle. “And for the size and the price, you can’t beat 45 mpg.”
Ride and Drive Tour Facts:
• The Lincoln ride and drive tours run October through November. These will include 62 days of MKZ test-drive activation and are projected to produce more than 8,000 test drives in the all-new Lincoln MKZ.
• Other Test Drive Programs currently in market to compliment the MKZ Invasion Tour – MKZ Exclusive All-Access and Drive Smart for a Cause. In addition the Lincoln Market Areas will be providing additional experiential support for MKZ including multiple test drive events.
• Average Favorable Opinion of Lincoln after completing a test drive is nearly 90 percent. This is based on data from ride and drive programs 2010-2012.