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FEBRUARY 2012 LCT MAGAZINE COVER STORY: Lincoln culminates a long, intense journey this month as it finally signs off on the livery and limousine model designed to move the industry forward for many years to come.
Since announcing the 2013 Lincoln MKT Town Car in September 2010 and unveiling a concept model at the International LCT Show on Feb. 14, 2011, the leading maker of America’s limousine vehicles has fine-tuned the vehicle with upgrades and taken far more initial orders from operators than expected. Operators can see and order the MKT Town Car during the International LCT Show Feb. 13-15 in Las Vegas. Full production is scheduled to start at its Oakville, Ontario plant in late February, shortly after the Show concludes.
“From the initial announcement to various shows we’ve been going to, the acceptance of the MKT Town Car has been growing significantly,” says Gerry Koss, Ford Fleet marketing manager. “Our objective was to meet and exceed all the elements of the Lincoln Town Car Executive L in this vehicle, and develop an even better product.”
As of publication time, the new vehicles scheduled to be on display at the Show include three MKT Town Cars and five MKT stretch limousines through selected QVM coachbuilders. The MKTs that Ford Fleet exhibited in the past were prototypes off the 2010 MKT chassis, whereas the MKT Town Car at the 2012 International LCT Show is a near-production version unit. “We built these in the last two months,” says Jim Murray, QVM supervisor. The first MKT Town Cars will be delivered to dealerships in mid-March and immediately into the hands of operators who will put them into service, Murray says.
The most noticeable changes to the MKT Town Car include the My Lincoln Touch technology system, a new center console stack, a refined grille, and unique wheels and tires, Murray says. Engineers also have enhanced minor components to further harmonize the look of the interior, such as the carpet, wood graining, and interior color schemes, he says.
Lincoln Limousine & Livery Vehicles does not disclose the total number of running orders or anticipated production volumes. But the Ford team claims interest and response so far belies the initial hesitation and criticism of the MKT Town Car among some operators. “Right now we are very, very pleased with the status of orders having been placed,” Koss says. “Reaction has been positive. We anticipated that operators would wait to place orders until after seeing the near production models at the Show so they are coming in earlier than expected.”
In addition to opening the order bank for the Lincoln MKT Town Car, pricing also has been released. Overall, the MSRP on the 2013 Lincoln MKT Town Car will be less than a 4% increase compared to the MSRP of the 2011 Lincoln Town Car Executive L. That minimal price increase includes new features such as AWD, which is standard on the MKT livery model. The final transaction price is established between the selling dealer and the purchaser, Koss says.
The MKT Town Car offers a 3.7 liter, V-6 AWD powertrain with an estimated 300 horsepower. Ford Fleet should be releasing more detailed specs and “advertisable numbers” around the time of the International LCT Show Feb. 13-15. Exact fuel economy figures also are not available yet since the EPA has to evaluate all test results and officially confirm final figures, Murray says.
Anticipating a Lincoln leader
Final production figures, however, will depend on industry demand as the economy recovers, Koss says. “The bottom line is we’ve been market leaders in the industry for years. Our objective is to continue our leadership position in the future. We have sufficient capacity to meet industry demand.”
For the MKT Town Car stretch limousines, which will be built in 80-inch and 120-inch versions, Ford Fleet plans to offer the chassis to the same group of QVM coachbuilders as before. The manufacturer will re-certify all of the coachbuilders for the MKT Town Car once Job 1 vehicles are being delivered to dealerships. QVM manufacturers already have pre-production versions of the MKT Town Car that they can use to test and refine their stretching processes.