Lincoln Town Car:

2009 Lincoln Town Car: Motorist Choice Award Winner

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2008_LincolnTownCar_MCA.jpg“The Lincoln Town Car wins 2009 AutoPacific Motorist Choice Award in the Large Car segment. Owners rave about one of the last body-on-frame vehicles. From 5-star safety ratings to stuffing four golf bags into the trunk, owners appreciate their Town Car. It consistently scored at the top of its class.” – AutoPacific
“The Town Car has low maintenance costs and was ranked first in the AutoPacific survey.” – IntelliChoice
Owner Satisfaction Highlights
• Vehicle and Brand Reputation
• Winning scores for Durability and Longevity
• Feeling Safe While Driving
• Packaging elements, including Cargo Space/Capacity and Forward and Rearward Driver’s Seat Visibility
• Vehicle’s Ride
Cost-of-Ownership Strengths
• Low Maintenance Costs
• Better-than-expected Insurance Costs


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2009 Lincoln Town Car Wins AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Score for Large Car

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2008_LincolnTownCar.jpgIn the Large Car segment the Lincoln Town Car took top honors. Capturing 29 out of the 48 measurements for satisfaction, owners of this American icon appreciate the generous dimensions and loads of standard features. Town Car excels in areas that lead to a comfortable environment, allowing this stately sedan to age gracefully. Among the areas Town Car earned top scores are:
* Vehicle’s reputation with winning scores for durability and longevity
* Feeling safe while driving
* Several package related characteristics, including cargo space/capacity and both forward and rearward driver’s seat visibility
* Vehicle’s ride


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2009 Lincoln MKS – LA Auto Show

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On Monday, November 6 Ford gave Detroit-area journalists a glimpse of the 2009 Lincoln MKS Mid-Luxury Car. We had reviewed the concept of the MKS previously in VehicleVoice and found the car lacking. In its first incarnation, the MKS came across as a JapoEuro design exercise without much American flair. It was bigger than it looked and that is not necessarily a good thing. Given the somewhat lukewarm reception that the MKS concept received, especially in light of the very positive reception of the MKR Concept at the 2007 North American International Auto Show, Ford’s product development team went to work on upgrading the MKS in subtle ways.

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Production MKS Execution Now Has Presence
The production MKS now has the presence and ambiance that it should have had all along. The former blandonymous grille has been replaced by Lincoln’s new double wing face grille. There is a Lincoln logo mounted in the space between the grille wings. Character lines are crisper. The taillights are reminiscent of Maserati European taillights of a few years ago… with backup lights mimicking the boomerang effect of the Maserati pieces.
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The interior is very upscale and continues Lincoln’s interior themes first seen on the Navigator, MKX and MKZ. Ergonomics appear to be excellent, but this is characteristic of Ford’s large entries produced at their Chicago Assembly Plant (Taurus/Five Hundred, Taurus X/Freestyle, Sable/Montego).
But… a “Flagship” It’s Not – Four Reasons
Reason One: Ford describes the MKS as its “Flagship”. While it will be its newest passenger car entry, the venerable Town Car is Lincoln’s Flagship until Ford simply cannot justify continuing the Panther lineup (Crown Victoria – now fleet only, Grand Marquis, Town Car) produced at Ford’s St. Thomas, Ontario assembly plant. But, with such a high percentage of Town Car sales to the fleet and executive car business, maybe Ford is not counting Town Car any more.
Reason Two: Another reason we don’t buy into MKS as a flagship is the MKR concept shown at last year’s Detroit show. A wow piece if ever there was one, the MKR showcased all of the Lincoln design cues in one place. A stunning piece of work! Now, if they would produce the MKR on a RWD V8 platform, I’d buy it.
Reason Three: The MKS is V6 only. In the beginning, the MKS program included the 4.4L V8 found in the Volvo XC90 and S80. This Yamaha-built unit is terrifically expensive and I guess Ford decided not to pony up to add it to the MKS. Mistake.
VehicleVoice and AutoPacific have conducted several research projects on what makes an ideal $50,000 luxury car and the evidence is very clear that a V8 engine in the lineup is the price of entry for a car in this class. The V8 does not have to be standard, but it needs to be offered. Sure it may be a low installation rate – especially with $3.00 per gallon gasoline, but the image halo of a V8 is indisputable. Having a twin turbo direct injection V6 gives MKS some performance panache, but there is no replacement for numbers of cylinders and displacement.
Reason Four: You will be able to get into a base MKS for less than $38,000. This is not flagship pricing. Clearly, Ford is leaving room at the top of the heap for a premium priced flagship with the specifications necessary to really command price points over $50,000.
Let’s not forget Reason Five: Nomenclature. Hopefully, once Jim Farley gets his feet on the ground he will review Lincoln’s present nomenclature plan and scrap it. Not clean or easy, but having Lincoln’s with alphanumeric nomenclature is folly. Go back to names!
Ford’s press release for the MKS is shown below the fold.
• • • • •


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Lincoln Resurrects Town Car – For Awhile

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As part of Ford’s semi-annual Way Forward plan, Ford announced that they will not cancel the venerable Lincoln Town Car after all. They made the sensible decision to move the Town Car from its decades-old home of Wixom, Michigan to the Ford Crown Victoria/Mercury Grand Marquis Plant in St. Thomas, Ontario.

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You can see what we at VehicleVoice think/thought of Ford’s plans for Lincoln in our Lincoln commits suicide blog of August 24, 2006.
Keeping the Town Car around helps Ford’s revenue picture, keeps the livery business happy and increases the utilization of the St. Thomas plant (where Ford just dropped one of two shifts). Apparently, the transition from Wixom to St. Thomas is not as easy as many believed. There will have to be some substantial changes to the cars to accommodate all three on the same line.


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Lincoln Commits Suicide – Brand R.I.P.

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Ford has all but guaranteed the demise of its luxury Lincoln brand through a series of strategy, marketing and product blunders not recently seen in the American car industry. In effect, Ford has forced Lincoln’s suicide. While we would like to write the epitaph now, Lincoln’s death seems like a long, slow, painful trauma that will provide fodder for the business press for the next decade. VehicleVoice counts the various ways Lincoln has been killing itself over the past couple of years.
Working backward:

Lincoln Shoots Itself in the Stomach by Cancelling V8 engine on 2009 Lincoln MKS (pronounced Em Kay Ess, not Mark S):
This guarantees Lincoln will no longer be a luxury brand but a premium brand like Acura or Buick. Maybe the MKS will be an OK car, but with AWD and only a 260-plus horsepower V6 it can, at best, be an “almost-Acura-RL” which is off-concept at best. Even rumors of a range topping Twin-Turbo V6 with well over 300 horsepower will not offset the lack of the needed V8.
Lincoln Shoots Itself in the Shoulder by Cancelling the Lincoln Town Car: The Lincoln Town Car has not pretended to be at the top of the luxury car heap for decades, but with few improvements over the years, Town Car devolved into the Executive Car loved by livery buyers. Few Town Car sales were for personal use. So Ford allowed the Town Car to deteriorate from any Luxury Car pretenses it may have had, and become a luxurious black taxi driven by cabbies with ties. Just think what Ford could have achieved if they had implemented a major major change on the rear wheel drive Panther platform. New Town Car, New Grand Marquis, New Crown Vic… all built in Canada. Now, put in the 300HP 4.6L V8 and you could have a something to talk about


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Chrysler Gets Into the Limousine Game

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2006 New York Auto Show Introduction for the Next Big Thing in Limousines
Chrysler has quite logically chosen this spring’s New York auto show for the introduction of a new 300 derivative, given that city’s heavy use of taxi cabs and limousines. Given the 300’s success with the bling set, a variant for the chauffer-driven of the world makes sense.
Having ridden in a Chrysler 300C executive car, the 300 is certainly challenged when it comes to rear seat room. The 300 Limo is a welcome addition to the line for livery companies wanting more comfortable and commodious transportation for their upscale, well-heeled clientele.
Being assembled by specialty vehicle builder Accubuilt, the 300 for the livery/limousine market arrives in fall 2006. Accubuilt has been around for decades, building specialty vehicles from a Cadillac DeVille Executive Sedans to unique versions of Ford SuperDuty pickup trucks and hearses. The long-wheelbase 300 will be available to retail buyers, but the special-order vehicle is likely to find only a low volume of retail takers. Those who do opt for the extra-long variant get six more inches between the wheels, with the extra room added in the rear passenger area. Production of the long 300 could come home to Chrysler down the road, depending on the model’s success and Chrysler’s production capacity and needs.

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The Chrysler Group has been aggressive with its pricing for most models introduced in the past couple of years, the specialty nature of this will likely bring with it a relatively high sticker. Pricing will be announced in fall, nearer to the sales launch.


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Guilty Pleasures – The Three Vehicles I Never Want My Friends To See Me Drive

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Long a car-sick motor head, over the years I’ve cultivated a rather ecclectic (and quite strong) list of likes and dislikes in the vehicles I have owned. Lots of overpowered coupes and sedans, a couple of oddball oversteering rear engined cars with more power than their engineers had envisioned when first they set pencil to paper, and only a single vehicle that could be categorized as a truck. And a pretty poor excuse for a truck at that.
Recently, after discussing favorite “Guilty Pleasure” films with some journalist pals, the topic turned the concept of Guilty Pleasure vehicles. Vehicles you like (or would like) to drive but would never admit it to a friend. At the top of the list were those small, innocous, underpowered economy cars that can be driven at ten-tenths all the time without raising the ire of police or other drivers. Why precisely these came up first is of some small concern to me. Perhaps I need a new set of journalist friends, but I digress.
Next the subject of traditional big American Iron came up. As in large, V8 rear-drive cars with primitive solid axle rear suspension systems better suited to buggies or heavy duty pickups than 21st century land transport. Nothing of any collectible interest or classic in nature, we’re talking about post 1985-metal. At the risk of trading in my VehicleVoice correspondent credentials and my AutoPacific analyst pass, the first of my automotive Guilty Pleasures comes to light, the Lincoln Town Car.


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2005 Lincoln Town Car Wins AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Award

Lincoln Town Car Wins AutoPacific 2005 Luxury/Large Car Vehicle Satisfaction Award

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“Owners of the Lincoln Town Car rate the large American Luxury Car tops in its category. Town Car owners are especially fond of exterior styling that communicates affluence without being ostentatious. The strongly rated Town Car interior coddles the driver and passengers in traditional American luxury. What they expect, they get.”
Town Car won its class over the perennial winner Cadillac DeVille – a winner of seven straight previous Vehicle Satisfaction Awards.


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