REALITY ROAD: A Fleet Year With the Lincoln MKT

Posted on November 2, 2011

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Connecticut operator Charles Wisniewski gives the green light on the MKT. He has 10 retail versions in his chauffeured fleet.
Connecticut operator Charles Wisniewski gives the green light on the MKT. He has 10 retail versions in his chauffeured fleet.

NORWALK, Conn. — Charles Wisniewski can claim a rare milestone this week: Nov. 4 officially marks the first anniversary of running the Lincoln MKT in his 41-vehicle chauffeured fleet.

Wisniewski, owner of Teddy’s Transportation System, now has a mix of 10 new and used MKTs in service, with the first one just having reached 101,000 odometer miles. While Teddy’s still runs 15 Lincoln Town Car sedans, Wisniewski’s fleet strategy contrasts with that of many operators who are buying the last Executive L sedans in big batches so they can run them as long as possible while deciding what type of vehicle to buy next.

What’s especially noteworthy about Teddy’s MKTs is that they are retail versions — not the official 2013 Lincoln MKT Town Car designated by Ford Fleet Limousine and Livery Vehicles as the successor to the Lincoln Town Car Executive L. Lincoln starts taking orders for the MKT Town Car on Dec. 5 with the first ones rolling into chauffeured fleets in March or April 2012. The 2013 Lincoln MKT Town Car will differ from the retail version MKT in that it will have amenities, adjustments and modifications that make it more suitable for heavy-duty limousine/livery service.

Overall, the MKTs in Teddy’s fleet so far have provided more safety, technology, and comfort than the Lincoln Town Car, Wisniewski told LCT. He emphasized there is plenty of legroom.

Wisniewski adopted the MKT early because he wanted to embrace the direction of the chauffeured transportation industry and stay current. “We didn’t want to be on the other side of the curve,” said Wisniewski, a 2011 LCT Operator of the Year Award finalist. “We like to be out front. For years, there’s been a great dialogue with owners at association and NLA meetings, and we looked around at what others were doing, and thought this was the best choice. We didn’t want to buy the Lincoln Town Car while it was going out.”

So far, most clients who get the MKT like it, and the maintenance/reliability issues have been little to none, Wisniewski said. Two of Teddy’s 10 MKT have all-wheel-drive, with the rest front-wheel drive models.

“Once in a while, we get someone saying, ‘Why did you send me a station wagon, or why did you send us an SUV?’” Wisniewski said. “I wish it was a sedan. . . Aside from its exterior look of a station wagon, once you get past that, you have a graciously ample rear door, a second row that reclines, very decent legroom, and a higher profile seat which is very popular. You’re sitting up in traffic.”

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