23 May Lincoln’s Death Throes

Overland Park KSMercury is dead. Despite a rich heritage of hot rods and Cougars, the dying company was pruned away last year. The sad part wasn’t the death, but that no one noticed it. A nearly empty funeral. So

the question some of us in the auto detailing industry are now asking is, will the same thing happen to Lincoln? A detailer in Overland Park, KS does start to wonder if his days of auto detailing MKZs and MKSs are numbered. New car sales in the sub-brand have been slipping steadily, and with Ford’s discontinuation of the Town Car (and the Crown Victoria), Lincoln have lost their anchor. Why don’t
the other models hold up the brand? Because they’re all missing two little details.

The first detail is variety. For a long time now, Lincolns have been almost perfect copies of Fords. It used to be that this wasn’t much of a problem. If you wanted leather and navigation and heated seats, you would pay the extra for Lincoln’s luxury. You could cruise the streets of Overland Park in comfort that no other Ford product could provide.

And there were some proprietary models, too. The Lincoln LS was rear wheel drive. Unheard of. But today, you can get a Ford SHO Taurus with the same engine and gadgets for around $11,000 less than the platform sharing Lincoln MKS. And frankly, after some auto detailing, the Taurus looks far better. There’s no reason to spend anything extra on the Lincoln. Just get the Taurus and save the rest for
the detailer.

The second detail is that though you read the above, you probably couldn’t pick the MKS out of a Lincoln lineup. Likewise, you probably can’t name one Lincoln you’d rather have over another. The missing detail is excitement. There isn’t a sleepier, more fossilized brand on the market. Buick used to have the boring car market cornered, but blew that stereotype away with the turbocharged,
manual-equipped Regal GS.

And American luxury brands don’t have to slip into comas. Chrysler’s SRT 300 is noticeable, and Cadillac’s CTS-V is just mad. Even their new ATS was tuned on the Nurburgring. Lincoln needs something- anything- to break the idea that it will die with its aging market, something to compete with the American brands who are already competing with Europe and Japan.

From the lowly perspective of a detailer in Kansas City, Lincoln needs a halo vehicle, and fast. This doesn’t have to be an inaccessible supercar like the LF-A that so recently revitalized Lexus like a sip from The Fountain. It just has to be something to raise the enthusiast’s eyebrows. Something RWD with an optional stick.

But Lincoln probably won’t do it, much to the chagrin of the auto detailing community. Why? Because it’s too late. A new car costs money to build, and Lincoln isn’t making any. Ford, averse these days to risk, won’t foot the bill, either. Five to ten years from now, Lincoln will be dead like Mercury. Mark our words, internet.