DEARBORN — The Lincoln brand of Ford today announced its intent to once again be a major competitor in the premium automotive marketplace. The company, introduced as The Lincoln Motor Co., unveiled its all-new MKZ midsize luxury sedan and a strategic plan to reinvent the premium automotive marketplace during a dazzling event at New York City’s iconic Lincoln Center Plaza.
“Today we are announcing a new beginning for a brand that has been part of our company and the American fabric more than 90 years,” said Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally. “The new Lincoln brand will be defined by great new luxury vehicles, such as the new MKZ, that feature quality, unique style with substance and innovative technology. These elements, coupled with a new level of warm, personal and surprising experiences, will enable Lincoln to appeal to today’s new luxury customer.”
Mulally said the seeds of this announcement were planted several years ago when the company divested itself of other luxury brands and made the decision to continue to develop the Ford and Lincoln brands. Since then, a major rejuvenation of Ford occurred and now the time is right for Lincoln to stand on its own and move in the same direction.
The Lincoln Motor Co. signifies the new future being built on the foundation that originally made Lincoln an inspiration for premium brands and a source of growth and value to its corporate parent. With its focus on attracting a new market of individual-minded luxury consumers, Lincoln will deliver a range of vehicles that combine stunning elegant design with technical innovation.
“The time is now for Lincoln,” said Jim Farley, executive vice president of Global Marketing, Sales and Service and Lincoln. “The ‘Great Recession’ changed people and their view of luxury. Today, luxury consumers make decisions based on what appeals most to their passions and not what they believe will impress others. We know we need to continually surprise and delight these new clients.”
The all-new MKZ will be the first of four new Lincoln vehicles in the next four years created to appeal to these new luxury consumers who are emerging as a powerful economic force. Called progressive luxury consumers, they are responsible for nearly 25 percent of all luxury vehicle sales in America. They are affluent individuals who no longer purchase to maintain an image for others, but instead seek fresh new alternatives that appeal to them because they found a truly unique choice.
The quality and design of the product is paramount, but so, too, is the opportunity for discovery and the reward of great service and continual surprising experiences throughout the entire ownership cycle. To this end, Farley said the company is introducing two innovative new experiences.
The first is the Lincoln Host and 24/7 Concierge Service, now available at Lincoln.com. This delightful brand experience and discovery provides the opportunity to speak with, and have assigned, a personal concierge to guide an interested client through the entire shopping process. The personal concierge stays with the client through ownership, creating a customized relationship. The second is Lincoln Date Night, a celebration offered to those down the path to ownership of a new Lincoln. It will provide the opportunity to spend a weekend with a new vehicle and take that special someone for a night on the town courtesy of the brand.
In one example of how the brand intends to break through, Farley announced that for the first time in the brand’s history, Lincoln will advertise during the broadcast of the upcoming Super Bowl, and will do it in an unprecedented way. Lincoln has asked comedian Jimmy Fallon to lead the first-ever Super Bowl commercial written entirely by social media, with consumers participating through Twitter. Consumers will provide their best 140-character thoughts to a script, and Fallon will then lead the curation of the best contributions that will create the ad to run during the broadcast of the big game.
As another highlight, all-time NFL rushing leader and three-time Super Bowl champion Emmitt Smith joined Farley for the MKZ launch and has signed on as a brand ambassador to help Lincoln continue to put MKZ in the spotlight at the game in New Orleans.
“It’s an honor to join Lincoln Motor Company on its comeback journey and I’m excited that the MKZ will star in Lincoln’s first-ever Super Bowl commercial,” said Smith. “Enlisting the help of consumers to develop the spot is extremely clever. Throughout my career, I’ve been driven by the support of the fans and now they’ll have the chance to do the same for Lincoln.”
In celebration of the introduction of the Lincoln Motor Co. and the new MKZ, a collection of new Lincoln vehicles was on display at Lincoln Center Plaza ending with a stunning sound and light projection show onto Avery Fisher Hall in the evening.