Lincoln's 2013 MKZ Is Blowing Consumers Away


Photo: Lincoln Motor.

Ford's (NYSE: F  ) impressive turnaround has been one for other struggling companies to learn from. The Blue Oval has had hardly any mishaps or bad decisions hit the headlines recently. But that hasn't stopped doubters from pointing out that the Lincoln brand has largely been left behind in Ford's resurgence.

Lincoln's MKZ is its most important vehicle, and after months of shipment issues, April was finally a breakthrough month for the much-hyped MKZ sedan. So was the MKZ worth the wait for consumers? Will it be enough to revive Lincoln and help Ford boost its overall company revenues? Let's dig into some details and consumer reviews and find out.

Set the stage
First, let's look at how important the MKZ is to Lincoln's overall success. Here's a graph of Lincoln's top three models, with the MKZ highlighted.

Notice the sharp decline in January, where sales were practically nonexistent. That's when the MKZ launch stumbled out of the gate and the advertising campaign spent on the Super Bowl was wasted. Lincoln wanted to make sure there weren't any messy recalls, but the extra time spent on quality checks led to a bottleneck in getting the MKZ to dealers.

Supplier issues also slowed production, and the end result was that consumers waited for four months for the MKZ to show up at dealerships. Finally in March and April, the back orders were being filled, and sales soared. Here's a look at how much these sales mean to Lincoln as a whole, represented by the top three models, along with total Lincoln sales.

Lincoln's total sales have risen and fallen largely in correlation with the MKZ. When speaking about this May's results compared to those of past years, Jim Farley, Lincoln's executive vice president of global marketing, sales, and service, said that "we're going to have our best sales ever for MKZ."

That's encouraging, but it's also important to note what consumers are saying. Let's dig into some reviews, courtesy of Edmunds.com.

Reviews
I have to say the reviews on the 2013 MKZ were extremely impressive -- as in nearly perfect. Check Edmunds.com for yourself. The car averages a five-star review, and while only nine reviews exist, 100% of readers agreed with those nine reviews. I haven't looked through hundreds of other vehicle reviews, but I also haven't yet seen reviews so favorable.

If I were to sum up the reviews, I'd say that just about everyone was in agreement on the car's smooth handling and flawlessly quiet ride. Better yet, most people seemed impressed by the MKZ's value at its price point, starting around $35,000.

Here's a glimpse of the vehicle's interior that consumers thoroughly enjoy.


Photo: Lincoln Motor.

It definitely appears that the Lincoln MKZ was worth the wait, if the consumer reviews and sales numbers are proof. The MKZ will be a significant first step if Ford is to revive its luxury Lincoln brand, and so far, so good.

Ford needs Lincoln's revival as soon as possible, because as it creates loyal consumers again, after years of poor quality vehicles, it will need to grow with those consumers and step them into higher-priced luxury cars as their purchasing power grows. Today, when Ford's customers get to that point, they're often forced onto a competitor's lot for a luxury ride, which, of course, is bad news for Ford and its investors -- all the more so because luxury vehicles bring in better margins and profits per vehicle, even if the sales volume is lower.

The MKZ's recent success is the first step toward reviving the Lincoln brand, and Ford investors should be excited that the MKZ has finally delivered.

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Read/Post Comments (9) | Recommend This Article (4)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On June 02, 2013, at 9:43 AM, normgarry wrote:

    The Lincoln MKZ totally feels like a car that wants you to RIDE in it, but doesn't want you to actually DRIVE it.

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhpA3SlYUw4

    No transmission stick, auto parking, auto steering on highways... it's like an intro to automated cars.

    Unfortunately it costs wayyy too much. You'd be better off getting a new Ford Fusion. The 2-L turbo engine is not refined enough and the V6 option will cost you $52,000 - which is deep in MKS territory.

    Face it, Lincoln is completely obsolete and irrelevant when the Ford cars offer just as much minus the gawdy styling. Cadillac is a far more attractive car.

  • Report this Comment On June 02, 2013, at 9:56 AM, TMFTwoCoins wrote:

    I'll agree the Cadillac is way ahead of Lincoln right now. I think this at least shows that Lincoln is on the right track if it plans to be relevant again -- someday.

    I'll be curious how the MKC turns out, if the MKZ and MKC can clone Ford's success with the Fusion and Escape, it could change things.

    Time will tell,

    Thanks for reading.

    Daniel

  • Report this Comment On June 02, 2013, at 10:55 AM, jimatmad wrote:

    A car review by a guy who hasn't driven the car. Typical Motley Fool.

  • Report this Comment On June 02, 2013, at 11:08 AM, TMFTwoCoins wrote:

    You're assuming things. Typical comment.

  • Report this Comment On June 02, 2013, at 11:35 AM, albertogreen wrote:

    There are only two ways a car company can get consumers to pay "luxury" prices. They can either provide a satisfying driving experience through engineering eg BMW, M-B, Audi etc or they can provide old fashioned luxury yachts like the Lincoln Continental or Navigator. Cadillac is in the process of switching from one to the other--I am not sure that Lincoln is there yet and is consequently falling between two stools.

  • Report this Comment On June 02, 2013, at 3:20 PM, AcuraT wrote:

    Nice article- except name the number of auto companies that have made it with one successful model? Anyone? Saab tried that with the 9-3 and similar (slightly bigger) 9-5. They are gone. Mitsubishi is trying right now with three cars in Amercia and everyone is talking they are soon to be gone as well. Now Lincoln finally has one car to consider and this is a success? It is a success if and only if they can develop a line of cars that people want. What these nice graphs show is that they have failed to do that yet with the MKS and even less, the MKX. Ford has put Lincoln up for review and this last attempt to break into the market is the make or break effort for that division. If it does not do better after the latest workover the division may be done for.

  • Report this Comment On June 03, 2013, at 11:48 AM, TMFTwoCoins wrote:

    @ AcuraT

    Yes, I agree. The MKZ is a good first step but more has to be done, especially since the MKZ appears to be cannibalizing sales from Lincoln's other sedan.

    Lincoln needs the MKC to deliver, and then I believe two more models will follow and all need to be successful. If that works, that will give Lincoln 4 vehicles to stand on, which in my opinion is still just a start. It's a long road ahead for sure.

  • Report this Comment On June 13, 2013, at 12:52 AM, Hpyheartbc wrote:

    I did a test drive on the MKZ Hybrid and decided on the car over two others. After negotiating on a price with the options wanted, I was going to sign the papers. The dealer contacted me that morning and said he made a mistake, and it would cost more. In addition, I asked about the $750 offer received from Lincoln credit. The dealer said he would find out and never even called me back. That is how much they want to sell cars?

  • Report this Comment On June 29, 2013, at 7:24 PM, carzandwine wrote:

    @Hpyheartbc please e-mail me at cozybeach@gmail.com, I would be interested in hearing about your experience at the dealership, I may be able to help you with your customer experience. Also at Lincoln.com there is a concierge service that will help you find the vehicle you want.

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