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What Can Help MKZ Sales?

Image via caranddriver.com

With the launch of the new Lincoln MKZ, the expectation was much better sales than the old model. But that really has not happened.

2013 brought a 15.4% sales increase, from 28,053 in 2012 to 32,362, which happen to be the highest MKZ sales since it's highest sales year ever at 34,363. Which was just 3 years after launch in 2005. Actually 2013 sales were about 4,000 units short due to production issues. So 36k seem possible.

But it's target competition is the Lexus ES which at the same time had a 29.2% sales increase, from 56,158 in 2012 to 72,581. Which means the MKZ just moved 13.8% further behind the ES. ES highest sales year was 2007 at 82,867.

What had me thinking what Lincoln could do to help increase MKZ going forward.

ES does not seem to offer anything better than what the ES offers. The price for the MKZ and ES are about equal so ES has no advantage there either.

But the difference may be with lineage. Meaning that ES sales may be a result of Lexus having a $47k GS and $72k LS that looks a lot like the ES. Where the purchase of the ES is for the GS/LS that they could afford.

Which also could mean that the MKZ has nothing wrong with it, but that until Lincoln has the launch of the new MKS and new Continental, unlike the ES, it will essentially have to fight for sales on it's own.

Then again it could be design.

The ES looks like a bigger body vehicle that could take the place of a larger family sedan. Where the MKZ looks more like a personal 4 door coupe, and may be less of a choice for those who need to put adults in the rear seat.

Which means that it may help the MKZ to capitalize on that attribute and offer luxury performance versions, to attract more of the younger, single demographic, that may have it compete with the 3-Series and C-Class demographic. A consumer won't the able to get AWD and 300+hp(3.5L V6) for less than $40k from any of the German competition in that size vehicle. So MKZ would have an advantage.

MKZ has an attractive sporty appearance package as standard, but until they add an 'R' or 'Sport' or 'Red Label' to the name, it may not resonate with consumers that Lincoln offers a sport package. Along with a slight change in marketing focused more on the luxury/performance/male aspect, instead of strict luxury/female. Which would give more consumers another reason to put the Lincoln MKZ on the short list.

Electrification

Lincoln has already reported that the hybrid version of the MKZ is a strong seller, and already doubled the production of the hybrid model for 2014. Which means adding a plug-in model would boost sales, and clearly offer something the ES does not. Looking at the Fusion Hybrid Titanium vs Fusion Energi Titanium, there is just a $4k price premium for the 21 EV mile plug in model over the hybrid, and that qualifies for the HOV lane in CA. Which would put the MKZ plug-in hybrid at $46k for a top of the line Energi Preferred model.

Ford reports the highest cost Titanium trim Fusion Energi models are selling very well. This could be because potential Lincoln MKZ Energi consumers, who have the dollars for the MKZ Energi model, are dipping down to the Fusion Energi Titanium price point and maxing out the options, simply because Lincoln does not offer what they want.

Based on 4th quarter sales, after $4k price reduction of Fusion Energi, sales averaged 1k units monthly. Which is more than 1/3 of total MKZ monthly sales for the same time period. And this is ONLY the Fusion Energi model.

The competition is coming. Plug-in models are coming from BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz, so it would benefit Lincoln to get there first since Ford already has the technology available at a lower price, before those consumers 'upgrade' to a BMW, Audi or Mercedes-Benz.

A Focus Energi is reported to be coming this year for MY2015, so hopefully for Lincoln's sake, an MKZ Energi model is on the way also.

Then there is the Fusion Titanium. But it's also a Ford model, and those sales feed into the same Ford sales totals, so it's a win. Unlike the Titanium Energi where the price point reaches into MKZ territory, the Fusion Titanium stays mostly below Lincoln MKZ range.

It also may be that the new larger FWD Taurus, even though it's not in the luxury category, may actually compete better against the ES and pull more sales from ES and Avalon than the MKZ. With the MKZ actually playing between the the ES and 3-Series/C-class.

As it stands today, based on 2013 sales increase, 2014 expected increase should see 40k sales, which should also be about 1/2 of ES sales.

But it could be getting better.....
 

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A Red Label model should help. If Lincoln truly does make it resemble somewhat of a sporty car, then they broke into a new market. Black Label will be good for profits, but it probably won't help sales.

The biggest gripe with the MKZ is the interior and performance. People want to see a higher quality interior (like the MKC). They also want to see some performance from the MKZ, which Red Label will help with.
 

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I think a MKZ energi could help a lot in this segment (the hybrid is selling good) I really think the MKZ has to sell 3000+ units per month, the MKC could sell more (4000+). MKZ Black Label could help too
Also a performance model of the MKZ (Red Label) could help a lot
 

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Coupe? or maybe not quite yet... :banghead:
 

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The biggest problem for Lincoln is a lack of consumer interest.
Change the perception of the consumer and sales will follow.
Nothing wrong with the line up, it's just that not many shoppers shop Lincoln.
It is a marketing issue plain and simple IMO.
 

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Marketing!!

nothing wrong with MKZ.(waiting for red label)
but the ads on fb, tv and media its just not what I want.

I want car, from a company that makes cars... Plain, simple.

stop with the chocolate's factory BS... Nobody cares...

I get it. Designers need to explain their art, inspiration, details, class. But give us that on cars!!!

I am a musician my self. I understand it, but the general public do not have that sense of sensitivity.. They either like a song or not... Simple, no explanation attached!

to me, show the elegance of mkz, show character, show drive, show Class and Elegance and bad bad bad attitude!!! With such refinement... That's all!!

in other words.. Show us the car
 

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I believe that there are those who consider the MKZ, and choose the Fusion based on its also notable styling, and not utterly divergent equipment levels in Titanium trim. The elephant in the room is the simple fact that one can lease a larger than it has ever been F30 BMW 328i for $299 a month which makes it very difficult for most of the competition in the entry luxury segment. The ES is a known quantity, and is known for amazing reliability as well as impressive comfort. Lexus also has a significant captive buyer audience for the ES due to its Toyota Camry buyers who also buy the Camry based on its comfort, and reliability.
 

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I don't think there is anything inherently wrong with the MKZ when looked at for the market its in. The biggest issue the MKZ faces is the lack of prestige associated with the Lincoln brand. The ES is a good seller for Lexus not because its a better car than the MKZ, but because of the Lexus name has value in and of itself. While I don't think many $299 a month 328i buyers are likely to be MKZ types to begin with it still hurts, but the MKZ is a larger, softer car and should be appealing to a totally different buyer.

Lincoln has to build its brand and thats only going to happen when they are competitive across the board in all premium segments. Simply existing in each segment won't get it done. The MKZ is appropriate if you consider the ES as its primary competition, if Lincoln thinks its better than that then there's gonna be issues.
 

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Sadly there are many that do not consider Lincoln at all when they purchase a car in this class.

This also does not bode well for Lincoln gaining significant traction in this segment in relation to the ES. At this point the Lincoln brand is not strong enough to compete lease payment for lease payment with the Lexus ES.


LEASE*
2014ES350

$349mo.27mos.

$2,999due at signing.
Excludes official fees, taxes and dealer charges. No security deposit required. 10,000 mile/year limit.


Also their current marketing that constantly refers to the Lexus ES is in some ways a better advertisement for the ES than it is for the MKZ.
 

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And that's the problem SP.

the fact that the best product from Lincoln (and the only one selling and holding the entire brand on monthly sales) is the MKZ!

an the best product's competition is a mediocre sedan( mediocre measured by prestige and luxury standard.)

that's the best Lincoln can do?(the mkc is not here yet, the navigator will hit the inventory by fall.. With a refresh... Not a new product)

if they want to make some noise/smoke.. The have to challenge the entire market... And I'm not talking Acura or Buick... I mean Mercedes Benz, BMW, Audi and jaguar

I don't have a problem with comfort and smooth ride... But the have to add testosterone, some adrenaline and Excitement to the products.

Volume? They got ford for that... Prestige my friends, Prestige!!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Sadly there are many that do not consider Lincoln at all when they purchase a car in this class.

This also does not bode well for Lincoln gaining significant traction in this segment in relation to the ES. At this point the Lincoln brand is not strong enough to compete lease payment for lease payment with the Lexus ES.


LEASE*
2014ES350

$349mo.27mos.

$2,999due at signing.
Excludes official fees, taxes and dealer charges. No security deposit required. 10,000 mile/year limit.


Also their current marketing that constantly refers to the Lexus ES is in some ways a better advertisement for the ES than it is for the MKZ.

In CA the new 2014 Lincoln MKZ & MKZ Hybrid lease that started 1/2/2014 is actually less, at $329 for 36 months with $2,788 due at signing.

The ES Hybrid lease is $429 for 27 months with $2,999 due at signing. The MKZ lease is $100 less per month than the ES. So it looks like Lincoln is trying to get some traction with they popular hybrid model in CA.
 

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I believe marketing is the issue. Nothing is wrong with the MKZ that can't easily be fixed.

Can anyone show if the MKZ's sales increased after the tv advertisements comparing it to the ES?
 

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As was said earlier the marketing that I have seen for the MKZ ranges from head scratching to nigh on cringe inducing. I don't want to be the bearer of bad news but Acura will release a TLX hybrid soon, and all reports say that it will be a game changer.
 

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I believe marketing is the issue. Nothing is wrong with the MKZ that can't easily be fixed.

Can anyone show if the MKZ's sales increased after the tv advertisements comparing it to the ES?
Well in the last year ES sales improved more than MKZ sales but that in, and of itself could be mutually exclusive. In reality there are more than a few factors limiting the success of the MKZ in relation to the ES, and many are branding/ marketing related.
 

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Yeah mkz sales are disappointing. But I never expected much...it's just not a "Wow, I gotta have it!" kind of car. Of course I'm also jaded cause my uncle traded his less than a year after purchase because of quality issues. I saw a coupe version photo-chop of the mkz on the ATS coupe thread...even though it'd still be a humble chassis, this could be a great addition. Any word if it's under consideration?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
The MKZ is a really great car. It just needs offer a more 'sport/performance' specific model to compete.

Offering a 35EV mile Energi plug-in version would also help, and pull ELR sales they lost by overpricing the car.

 

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I hate to add logic to this Lincoln dump fest, but....


...when MKZ sales for the whole year were modestly increasing, did everyone just forget that there were many months of fixing quality launch issues that played a role in that?

MKZ sales are fine, and new engines, transmissions, Black Label, performance models, technology etc. will only continue that.

And as a last resort, they can always slap down nearly $5K on the hood, like the "award winning" ATS.

At ease gentlemen.
 

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I hate to add logic to this Lincoln dump fest, but....


...when MKZ sales for the whole year were modestly increasing, did everyone just forget that there were many months of fixing quality launch issues that played a role in that?

MKZ sales are fine, and new engines, transmissions, Black Label, performance models, technology etc. will only continue that.

And as a last resort, they can always slap down nearly $5K on the hood, like the "award winning" ATS.

At ease gentlemen.
Welcome back!
 
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