Ford has officially relaunched Lincoln in an attempt to revive the reputation and sales of the once great luxury brand that is now far behind its competitors.
The "reinvention" includes the debut of four new cars in the next four years, starting with the 2013 MKZ and MKZ Hybrid, Jim Farley, Ford's head of global sales and marketing, and the head of the Lincoln relaunch, said at a press event at Lincoln Center Plaza in New York this morning.
For the press event, Lincoln brought Emmit Smith, who said that just as football fans supported him as he became the NFL's all-time rushing leader, fans will support Lincoln's new push by "writing" the commercial.
Another television ad featuring the image of Abraham Lincoln and famous Lincoln owners, including FDR and Dean Martin, will begin airing tonight, according to Adweek.
In September, Ford put on a similar New York event to launch the 2013 Fusion. Ryan Seacrest was on hand for the announcement, at Times Square and 47th Street, that the hybrid Fusion gets 47 miles per gallon.
So far, the Fusion has met Ford's high expectations for the midsize sedan market, and was recently named Green Car Journal's Green Car of the Year. We drove the hybrid in September and were impressed.
Lincoln, which is a dismal eighth in the American luxury segment, hopes the new MKZ will be as positively reviewed. Like the Fusion, it will come in a hybrid version, good for 45 mpg.
On top of fighting for luxury buyers with BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and Lexus, Lincoln will face off against Cadillac, which GM has just put through its own revival, including the launch of the new XTS and ATS sedans.
To compete, Lincoln will focus on stellar customer service, Farley said. Perks for new customers will include "Lincoln Date Night," with a dinner and weekend trip, and "Lincoln Host," an online "concierge" service available to owners and lessees.
The MKZ and MKZ Hybrid will arrive in dealerships later this month. Lincoln is now called the Lincoln Motor Company, the name it had when it was acquired by Ford in 1922.
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