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jimrpa

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  1. in August 2012, when the order bank for the 2013 MKZ opened, i rushed down to the dealer to order one, even though I hadn't seen the vehicle in person. I was really looking forward to the car from what I had seen and it's feature set. Unfortunately, I was caught up in the active motion multi-contour seats issue, so I reordered in 2014. Supposedly, my car has been scheduled for production the week of August 7th, so hopefully, it will be here in the Philadelphia area sometime after Labor Day (my dealer hasn't given me any details yet). While waiting, and looking at other luxury cars, I've been thinking about the Lincoln Motor Company and what I think Ford is trying to do with it. I do believe Ford can be successful with Lincoln Motor Company. I think I'm part of the demographic that they're trying to appeal to - professional, reasonably successful, technologically literate, and definitely not one foot in the grave. My thoughts: Performance matters to the automotive press - The automotive press seems to believe that a key metric for a luxury car is it's performance on the Nurburgring. So, while nobody's going to be flogging a Lincoln as if it's on the track, they have to demonstrate that their products compete on the metrics that matter. Perhaps Lincoln can't be at the front of the heard, but they need to be seen as a realistic participant in that playground. Unique products distinctive from Ford Motor Company products - Yes, everyone knows that auto companies share components, designs and platforms between brands, yet few call Rolls Royce tarted up 7 series, or Bentleys over-priced Jettas with more leather. The Lincoln Motor Company needs vehicles that are unique and exclusive to them with no plausible analogs in the Ford product line. With the exception of the Phaeton, VW does a pretty good job keeping VW and Audi separate so that an Audi buyer doesn't feel like s/he's falling for the sucker purchase when buying an A4 instead of a Passat. Similarly for the various Japanese brands. Most importantly, develop class-defining distinctive features - When Ford came out with their self-parking system, everyone thought highly of it, especially compared with the other well-known self-parking system - the one from Lexus. Time has gone on and Ford seems to have done nothing with the self-parking system. Land Rover is now tauting their self-parking system as the fastest one on the market. Since Lincolns (and Fords) are essentially "drive-by-wire", there's no reason why the system can't, for example, operate the brakes automatically. The liability exposure of the car autonomously applying brakes has to be pretty small. Similarly, there's little reason why the car can't apply the gas after the driver changes gears while in self-park. Another point - the active cruise control: Lincoln's active cruise control disengages below 12 miles per hour. Other manufactures have full-range active cruise control (for example, the new Chevy Impala). Again, there's no reason why Lincoln's active cruise control isn't able to operate over full range. There are numerous other features that Lincoln lacks for no obvious reason (power folding exterior mirrors, heated windshield (Lincolns had these in the late 1970s and European Fords still have heated windshields!)), heads-up displays, pedestrian detection, etc. Everything I've named are just steps Lincoln needs to take to become class competitive and, in some cases class-leading. That's not enough though - Lincoln has to develop desirable features that are class-defining. Perhaps the Lincoln Motor Company could move from Sync to iOS in the Car for example? Significantly greater integration of vehicle systems (and remote apps) - on my Jaguar X-TYPE, I had the Jaguar Voice system, which was incredibly impressive for it's time. It had almost as much functionality as Sync in terms of car control. I often thought it would be great if more auto systems were integrated with Jaguar Voice (for example, why can't other systems be controlled by voice?) An innovative user interface can be a great benefit - When Ford launched Sync, it received great reviews. Unfortunately, Sync and MyxxxTouch are now panned. Somehow, while dissing the MyxxxTouch system, reviewers gush over the Tesla interface (two huge touch screens) It's clear that the basic idea of a touch-driven interface isn't the problem - rather the design and implementation needs to be revisited. All of the above must be enveloped in what has been called "high-touch" customer service. It appears Lincoln is trying to up their customer service game. I'm not sure about the Black Label concept though. First, none of the themes really appealed to me. More importantly, I kept thinking of the Bill Blass Continental Mark IV every time I read about Black Label. Perhaps a bespoke option will make sense, but not until the fundamentals are nailed down.
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