DEARBORN - Lincoln Marketing Manager Kate Pearce recently sat down with @Ford Online to discuss Lincoln Day, the Lincoln brand and vehicles.
Q. What is the Lincoln team planning for Lincoln Day?
A. We’re going to be celebrating the new direction of Lincoln, and we have a lot of great news to share. We’re going to officially introduce the new 2013 MKS and MKT to our employees. Both vehicles will be on display at four locations – World Headquarters, the PDC, Itek and the Research and Innovation Center – and we’re inviting employees to come and check out the latest Lincoln products. That’s important because the MKS and MKT are introducing Lincoln’s new drive dynamic called Lincoln Drive Control as well as our gorgeous new interiors and our attention to detail and craftsmanship.
Q. What is Lincoln Drive Control?
A. Lincoln Drive Control is the intelligent integration of Electric Power Assisted Steering (EPAS), Continuously Controlled Damping (CCD), Active Noise Control and Powertrain Controls to provide an unmatched combination of Driving Refinement and Engaging Dynamics. The new MKS and MKT are the first products in the marketplace that highlight this new piece of Lincoln’s DNA moving forward. So we want employees to come out, spend time with the vehicles and have some fun.
Q. What else is happening on Lincoln Day?
A. Not only are we going to be launching two great vehicles with our employees, we’re also going to be sharing the news with consumers through a new advertising campaign that just launched on the hit television show “Mad Men” – a great tie-in given our continued partnership with John Slattery, a key member of the cast. The new 30-second MKS spot features the model’s updated styling, craftsmanship, intuitive new technologies and more dynamic handling made possible by Lincoln Drive Control.
And tonight we will be unveiling the next new product from Lincoln – the all-new 2013 MKZ – during two simultaneous events held on the East and West Coasts. The full reveal of the new MKZ will be at the New York Auto Show on Wednesday, April 4.
Q. How close will the new MKZ be to the concept car revealed at NAIAS in Detroit?
A. I think everyone will be really excited when they see the production car. It’s 90 percent the same. At the North American International Auto Show we promised the concept would introduce Lincoln’s new design DNA and the team has delivered. In fact, many who have seen the production car think it looks event better than the concept
Q. What do you want employees to share with family and friends?
A. I want them to experience these great new products up close and personal. There’s proof in the 2013 MKS and MKT of our commitment to delivering great products with a great drive dynamic, great craftsmanship and great technology. And that story only continues to get better now with the introduction of the Lincoln MKZ. I want employees to feel confident in our plans for Lincoln and be excited about what’s to come. Our advertising tag line is “Now it gets Interesting,” and you know what? Lincoln’s getting really interesting. We want employees to share that.
Q. What are some of the new features of the 2013 MKS and MKT?
A. The new Lincoln Drive Control is the major feature. There’s a perception of how a Lincoln should drive and Lincoln Drive Control completely changes that. These vehicles will provide an unmatched combination of Driving Refinement and Engaging Dynamics. It’s a critical first step in the Lincoln product story.
We’re also introducing all-new interiors on these vehicles. The craftsmanship and the attention to detail on the new MKS and MKT are the best we’ve ever had. They’re really intriguing. They use materials such as Bridge of Weir leather. There is French stitching used throughout the cars. The new instrument clusters are really gorgeous with MyLincoln Touch.
The third piece of the puzzle is our intuitive technology. Features including the addition of MyLincoln Touch and the new Lane Keeping System with Lane Keeping Alert and Lane Keeping Aid technologies. The MKS and MKT are the first two vehicles to get that. We also have our existing technologies like Active Park Asisst, Blind Spot Information System with cross-traffic alert and Adaptive Cruise Control. So you’re really getting great technology.
Q. Are there any big changes in the MKS and MKT exteriors?
A. Both vehicles have been refreshed with MKS seeing the most significant visible change. The most notable exterior change is the refinement that has been made to the grille. It’s a new interpretation of the split-wing grille. It’s more refined and more streamlined. The slats in the grille are much thinner and you’re losing that center bar. Along with a sleeker integration into the headlamp, it gives the front of the car a more sophisticated and elegant look. That’s the thing you’re going to notice most about the exterior change of the vehicles.
On MKS we’ve also completely redesigned the back end of the car as well so you’re talking about an all-new trunk opening and new tail lamp structure. Both vehicles get an all-new wheel lineup with 19- and 20-inch wheels. That’s a great story.
On the interior, there are all-new appliques and interior colors. The big change to both MKS and MKT is the integration of MyLincoln Touch which changes the look and feel of the entire instrument panel console. Up until now MKX was the only vehicle with MyLincoln Touch. The color that the new instrument clusters give off is really intriguing and beautiful. And that front console actually gives you a sweeping view that mimics the split-wing grille in the front.
Q. The company has been trying to revamp the Lincoln brand for quite some time. What makes you feel confident that we’re going to be successful now?
A. We are investing in every aspect of the business to transform the Lincoln brand and have the full support of the Senior Management team. For example, we have created a new design studio specifically for Lincoln and have hired the best and the brightest from inside the company and also externally from luxury manufacturers. In fact, we have over 100 people across the company who have been brought in specifically to work on Lincoln.
On the product side, we have new technologies dedicated to Lincoln such as Lincoln Drive Control to further differentiate us in the marketplace.
In addition we have several new organizations dedicated entirely to Lincoln and our customers including a new advertising agency and Lincoln Automotive Financial Service, which is our new credit company.
Finally, we’ve announced all-new consumer experience programs like our Lincoln Commitment and our 4 year, 50,000 mile Complimentary Maintenance program. We’ve really invested in every aspect of the business.