By on March 22, 2013

Lincoln MKZ - photo courtesy of the Lincoln Motor Co.

The Detroit Free Press reports that Ford has caught up with production and quality inspection issues with the new Lincoln MKZ and that the pipeline to the dealers will be full in a matter of days.

Parts shortages and Lincoln’s desire to give each car a complete quality inspection, along with issues integrating MKZ production at Ford’s Hermosillo, Mexico assembly plant, already running three shifts following the launch of the all-new Ford Fusion, meant a slower than anticipated rollout of the car. Ford had set up a secondary inspection site at its Flat Rock, Michigan plant because the Hermosillo facility could not inspect them quickly enough.

Some of the cars shipped to Flat Rock had to wait for trim parts that were in short supply. Some buyers waiting for ordered cars had to have the leases on their current rides extended while they waited for those parts to be installed. Lincoln has been working with dealers and customers to smooth over any ruffled feathers.

Now that issues with trim parts have been resolved and Hermosillo is producing 100 MKZs a day, compared to 100 cars a week as it had been making, FoMoCo’s president of the America’s John Hinrichs said that the pipeline will be full by the end of March and that the Dearborn automaker and its Lincoln dealers will have normal inventory levels of the MKZ in April. Overall, Ford is increasing 2nd quarter production by 800,000 units over last year, a 9% bump.

Lincoln had hoped to have this kind of inventory of the MKZ back in January. Hinrichs said that as inventory levels have improved in recent weeks, so have Lincoln sales. Anecdotally, when I was in Dearborn a couple of weeks ago I noticed at least a half dozen brand new MKZs positioned around the entrance to Jack Demmer Lincoln, the closest Lincoln dealer to Ford’s headquarters.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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96 Comments on “Lincoln: MKZ Production & Inspection Issues Solved, Pipeline Full, Inventory Close to Normal, Sales Up...”


  • avatar
    thelaine

    Did Lincoln just make a decent looking car or did I just have my 75th birthday?

  • avatar
    86SN2001

    More than likely, Ford is lying. The fact is, this car has been a boondoggle because of Ford’s incompetence.

    How hard is it to rebadge a mediocre Fusion?

  • avatar
    CelticPete

    Ford refuses to spend the big bucks for a RWD based line like Cadillac has – and thinks they can boondogle people into buy their warmed over FWD vehicles as luxury cars.

    FWD is a cost saving option nowadays. But no one wants a Taurus never mind a luxury car. And before you say Audi – they sport longitudinal engines and a 40:60 torque split on their quattro systems. (15/85 on the R8) They understand that despite what some internet folks will tell you people want RWD or AWD in a premium car..

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Please explain the existence Lexus and Acura. Even non-car people will concede Acura is a rebadge joke, but I have never heard anyone downplay Lexus as a luxury brand or status symbol (outside of TTAC).

      • 0 avatar
        CelticPete

        Acura has been sucking for a while – and most of Lexus is RWD. GS – RWD. IS-F – RWD. LS – RWD. Toyota spends the bucks whereas Ford doesn’t. Both Lincoln and Acura are long overdue for a folding back into the main company. Acura doesn’t even exist in much of the rest of the world.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          True Lexus offers some world class models, but where are the bulk of their sales (US)?
          I would venture to guess ES and RX, and I’m sure those buyers believe they are purchasing true luxury rides (the truth being irrelevant).

          • 0 avatar
            Compaq Deskpro

            Sales of the phony luxury cars in a lineup (ES, A4, CLA, MKZ, ILX) are built on the reputation of the real luxury cars (LS, A8, S-class, Town Car, Legend). You can see the problem with the last 2.

            Why doesn’t Lincoln put a competent Town Car in place, doesn’t have to be a Panther, just an S-class type thing, and sell the Lincoln brand on being what cool executives drive?

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            I would definitely say that the RX and ES are luxury cars. Yes, they started out with plebeian roots, but they make good use of them, add quite a few exclusive features, and they offer craftsmanship not seen on Toyotas. And most-importantly, if you didn’t know anything about cars, you wouldn’t (aside from the LX 570) know which ones had Toyota counterparts.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            The new ES350 is absolutely less luxurious, with worse interior materials, and more importantly, a less creamy ride, than the last gen ES.

            It’s a very sad but predictable step backwards for Lexus.

        • 0 avatar
          bd2

          Aside from the LS (which is a good bit cheaper than the competition), neither the GS nor the IS are selling well for Lexus.

          And there are plenty of people who view the ES as a “tarted up” Camry (the Acura TL has more differentiation with the Accord).

          FWD luxury models like the ES, RX, TL and MDX sell well b/c they simply offer a lot more “bang for the buck.”

          The ES and TL are MID-sized sedans but are priced like compact RWD luxury sedans while the RX and MDX are mid-sized CUVs priced like compact RWD CUVs.

          Also – keep in mind that Audi only offers the A7 and A8 in Quattro form in the US.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      It’s been said before, but platform sharing doesn’t imply that it’s the same car. There are unique bits to the MKZ, obviously: glass roof, active suspension, engine choice, and most importantly interior trim (you get all the cushy goodies that the landyacht-lovers want).

      That said, Ford did have at least two RWD platforms available, although the Ford Falcon from Australia should have been a more likely donor than the Mustang. It doesn’t seem like they’re committed to that Falcon platform, however.

      Anyway, the Lexus ES, and to a lesser extent Acura (more of a re-badge than Ford, if you ask me), suggests that not *everyone* wants RWD/AWD for a premium car. This car wouldn’t show up on my radar, but it will show up on more people’s radar than enthusiasts would like to admit.

      • 0 avatar
        CelticPete

        Sure you can tack on FWD cars AFTER you have established a reputation with real luxurious cars. Mercedes has 1 FWD car. BMW has Mini. Lexus has a couple. Audi has some FWD in its low cost models.

        But Audi has the R8, RS5, S4 et al. Mercedes has the e class, s class, SLK et al., BMW has the M3, M5 and more. Lexus has the IS-F, GS, and LS..

        Lincoln has a pitiful lineup of rebadges. The big luxury brands spend the money to create those luxury brands. If you are just going to go with warmed over rebadges – don’t bother.

        I give Hyundai all the credit in the world for just making nice hyundais and not trying to pretend its some luxury brand by slapping on a fancy label. Heck I think Hyundai spent 10x more on its Gensis sedan then Honda did on its warmed over Civic..

        • 0 avatar
          corntrollio

          The Lexus ES was one of the original Lexuses when Lexus had almost no reputation. You could perhaps call the RX a tack-on.

          Mercedes has more than the CLA — the A-class and the B-class have been around a while. I believe they sell one of them in Canada.

          Anyway, it seems that you can’t acknowledge the separate engineering of the MKZ required of the items I mentioned. Good day, sir.

        • 0 avatar
          bd2

          Keep in mind that what Hyundai (here, in Korea and elsewhere) does is what Toyota and Nissan do in Japan – have Toyota and Nissan branded luxury autos.

          The flagship sedans for Toyota and Nissan are the Century (slots above the LS) and the President (recently discontinued).

          In addition to a compact RWD sedan (and maybe a 4-door coupe) Hyundai is supposedly going to expand its luxury lineup with at least one RWD CUV based on the Genesis platform.

          Hyundai basically decided to spend its development $$ on building a separate RWD lineup rather than spending it on a separate brand and dealer network.

          As Lexus RWD sales have been declining, they are counting on the new RAV-4 based Lexus CUV to grow sales.

          The MKZ should do well for Lincoln, but they should see more growth with the MKC compact CUV and when they redo the MKX since FWD brands tend to do better with CUVs.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Actually, Lincoln’s entire problem is that for a long time, they haven’t been able to create cars that were more than the sums of their parts…not with the old MKZ, nor the MKX, nor the MKT, nor the MKS, nor the current Navigator, nor even the discontinued LS, Mark LT or Aviator models. (Why would you have bought an Aviator that was virtually the same as the cheaper Explorer, when you could have a much-nicer Lexus GX 470 that was *not* the same as the cheaper 4Runner?). The older Navigators were excellent sales-tickets, but that was mainly because back then the Lincoln badge meant something. But sadly I would say that the last great car from Lincoln was the Mark VIII, which was discontinued fifteen years ago. And even when the Lincoln models aren’t the same as their Ford counterparts, they offer little that would compel customers to upgrade to them. Controversial styling makes them even less-desirable. At least with platform-baby cars like Lexus’s ES and RX, you can see the difference in quality and materials from the Toyota-branded fleet, and they actually look good (2014 Lexus IS notwithstanding). I don’t know how this new MKZ is because I haven’t seen or driven one, but hopefully it’s the first in a long line of cars that are worthy of the Lincoln name.

        Also, you mentioned that Acura is more of a rebadge than Ford. Acura’s architecture as it relates to Honda is tricky, but at least there are cars from Acura that are altogether unique compared to their Honda brethren, like the MDX and RL/RLX. It’s certainly not as cut-and-dry as the One-Ford-For-Every-Lincoln tactic.

        • 0 avatar
          corntrollio

          “but at least there are cars from Acura that are altogether unique compared to their Honda brethren, like the MDX and RL/RLX.”

          The MDX is virtually the same car as the Honda Pilot — basically a re-badge with a few more electronic features and slightly better seats (+ harder to get into the 3rd row). It has the same shite build quality too — with trim pieces out of alignment from the factory. I noticed the same flaw in a 2012 MDX as TTAC did in their 2010 review.

          My understanding is that the 2nd gen RL (which barely sells as it is) shares its platform with the North American Accord. The 2nd gen RL is the same as the 4th gen JDM Honda Legend, I believe. Is the new RLX different?

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      I find it quite funny how internet people think that other people think about FWD/RWD. I know a lot of folks who buy, or wan to buy, luxury cars, and not a single one of them has ever mentioned RWD. Considering that FWD is the better solution for commuting, going to church, or visiting the grandkids, expecting car makers to go RWD is kind of silly.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Many people do think about FWD vs RWD vs AWD. Each has its advantages and each has its price niche. Truly discerning buyers will choose an AWD over all others.

        But not everyone needs an AWD or can justify its added expense. RWD tends to attract driving purists while FWD fans enjoy the added passenger space without the driveshaft hump in the passenger cage.

        FWD vehicles are front-heavy and don’t handle well on the twisties while RWD vehicles are closer balanced to a 50/50 weight split and handle and ride better.

        Both my SUVs are AWD or 4WD. My truck is RWD because I only use it on-road for hauling and towing. In a luxo barge I would want a RWD like my 1992 Towncar was.

        • 0 avatar

          Hey Highdesertcat
          Yeah, a TownCar is really good in the twisties! RWD and all, 50/50 balance.

          There’s more to it than that. Nowadays, the drive wheels are amng the least important factors. Wheelbase, suspension and talent to adjust that suspension have more of na influence. The original mini prove that in many muontain rallies, what? 50 years ago? For huge powered cars RWD does seem the way to go. For most normal cars, FWD does not lack.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Marcelo, we drove our Towncar in the mountains all the time because that’s where we live, but we had to go slower so that we wouldn’t overpower the front wheels with all that dead weight. That thing was a brick on wheels.

            FWD has its fans though. I have owned a few used cars that had FWD but many more that had RWD, in addition to all the 4WD vehicles I used for mudding and desert dirt-track racing.

            Were I to buy a new car or truck today, like many others I actually think about the drive configuration. Hence both our SUVs are AWD, but I had no need for my truck being anything but 2WD.

            And when I go to ski-country I carry four chains, just in case. One winter I was the only thing that was moving up there in our Highlander with four tire chains strapped on. An AWD vehicle is truly an all-around vehicle.

            I know one individual that owns an AWD Chrysler 300 and another that owns an AWD Sienna. The guy with the Sienna is my mailman who makes rural deliveries and the guy with the 300 is a guy who works for a Pharma company and travels the high country in winter.

            Both of these guys have told me that they switched to AWD from either FWD or RWD because AWD was better for what they wanted to do with their vehicles.

            My point in making my original comment was that a lot of people do indeed think about what type of drive-train they want, not just people on the internet making comments.

            People living in the big cities or flat country rarely go anywhere requiring AWD so for them FWD or RWD is not a consideration. But for many others it is.

            A prime example was a couple of winters ago when I had to pull someone with a FWD sedan back onto the road deck near Sunspot, NM (alt 9300+ ft). They thought their FWD was invincible in winter snow. Mother nature proved different.

            So I believe it does pay to think before-hand about what type of drive-train you want.

            When it comes to laying down big bucks for a luxo-barge, I would seriously consider AWD, unless it is only driven on well paved roads in good weather.

          • 0 avatar

            Hey HDCat!

            Thanks for the answer. I agree with you. We should think about what we actually need. In my case, FWD is more than enough and as I tend to like smaller car, the extra inches that FWD afford the car I like go a long way.

            In this country, without snow, AWD is overkill. For those who live out in the countryside and face muddy roads it could make sense. However, I rarely see them clamoring for AWD. Usually they just get a truck. If car-based FWD is enough, if a Ranger or S10 BWD. Seems that in my country 4×4 PUs are pretty much na urban phenomenon. Except of course for off roaders. There are many practioners of the sport here as my part of the country is very hilly and great for this kind of thing. I’m just not into that right now.

            Fiat is in my city. Question for you. The Italians I’ve talked to say that a Fiat Panda 4×4 is better in the snow than your typical large American, Japanese or German SUV due to the tyres being smaller. Do you think that’s true?

            Finally I answered the way I did cause I really don’t like the whole wrong wheel drive screed. Pet peeve of mine. I agree wholeheartedly with you, there’s no right wheel drive, it all depends on your driving and interests.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Marcelo, I don’t know ‘nothing’ about the Fiat Panda! I limit my comments to those things I have actually knowledge of, or experience with.

            That said, what is a really good seller in my neck of the woods of the US of A is the Subaru AWD system in any of their vehicles.

            Each is a lightweight vehicle that has traction at all four corners and with the right type of rubber (studded, cleated or with chains) handles extremely well in mud, snow, ice and dirt.

            The Euro-style of TT or motocross racing is non-existent in the gas&sip where I live.

            Flat track dirt and desert racing, along with mudding is huge. Subaru features prominently in AWD dirt track racing here.

            People often come to this area to try out their Baja entries before actually committing to the big bucks of the race.

            My experience with mudding and dirt track racing extends only to Jeeps and Scout IHC 4X4 vehicles, although I have helped some people build their Baja entries where I did the suspension work, using Rancho long-travel gas-gear.

            But as far as Italian 4X4 goes, my experience is limited to the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee we own and it is a most capable vehicle in all sorts of terrain.

            In the winter we are often called on to deliver hot meals to people living in isolated rural areas and neither the Highlander nor the Fiatsler Jeep has ever let us down in terrain where angels fear to tread.

            For an answer to your question you may want to visit

            topgear.com/uk/fiat/.
            carmagazine.co.uk/.
            autocar.co.uk
            driving.co.uk/
            youtube.com/watch?v=e82-TykCR4M

          • 0 avatar

            Hey HDCat,
            Thanks for the links. I’ll check them out.

            Let me clarify my question. The Italians told me that the Panda was superior in the snow due to its skinny tyres. According to them, skinny 4×4 tyres are better for snow and mud, while wide 4×4 tyres are better for soft sand conditions as the wide tyres help the car “float” as it were in that surface. As to the cars they say the Panda is superior due to it being a featherweight and thus it doesn’t bog down in snow or mud like a heavy traditional SUV might. So the question is light car, skinny tyres, theoratically better than heavy car in snow and mud? And wider tyres, independent of car better in sand?

            BTW, they told me to check out Jeeps in European and Saharan WWII warfare. Seems that in Europe the cars did go around on skinnier tyres.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            Marcelo,
            I was once at a presentation by a manufacturer’s representative for Goodyear. He said that, generally speaking, mud and sand were like liquid, and you were better off with wider tires, but in snow and hard-packed dirt, wide tires were a disadvantage. Don’t know if this applies in every situation, but the audience was a bunch of off-road 4×4 types.

          • 0 avatar

            Hey thelaine! Thanks, I guess that’s the right answer then. As I wrote to HDC I could see that it wasn’t making much sense. So, from a logical point of view, skinnier 4×4 tyres would be better in snow and hard packed dirt while wider tyres are better on soft sand and mud (because you need to dig into the dirt and snow to gain traction and float over the mud and sand). That makes sense! So weirdly, all those who defend SUVs because of snow, have got it pretty much wrong. Food for thought.

            That pretty much correlates to my experience on dirt roads. When the sun i out and the dirt is dry, Brazillian cars, almost all 4×2 and on skinny tyres do well, but even a little mud creates havoc (oh the story I could tell you of a trip through the torrential rain in car…involves whisky substituting the water to clean the windshield, hah!)

            Thanks again.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Sorry ’bout the delay. I just got back.

            Regarding the width of the tire tread: MY experience is W-I-D-E tires with a very aggressive tread pattern and huge side cleats. I used them for mudding AND desert country off-road racing.

            That type of tire is very noisy on the hard asphalt surface roads but will dig in nicely in all other surfaces, including sand, mud, snow (but not ice or packed snow – for that you need studs or chains, and you can’t go fast).

            The wider the tire, the more ‘flotation’ you get on sand, mud and loose snow. The skinnier the tire, the more weight is distributed over a smaller patch of actual contact where the tire meets the surface.

            Skinner tires tend to sink in sand, mud and loose snow. When equipped with studs, skinnies work very well on ice, but they tear up the asphalt if you run them any other time. That’s why people have winter tires for their cars in certain climes.

            What I used on the Jeeps we ran in mud-races was Big O Mud&Snow tires with a very aggressive tread pattern and huge side cleats. I have been photographed with four wheels spinning and four rooster tails to match. But that was a long time ago.

            Our Highlander came with Yokohama all-weather tires and they worked well in axle-deep snow and mud. But on ice they lacked grip, so I would strap on four chains when we had to go off-road in snow-packed areas. Worked like a charm! But they’re hell on asphalt surfaces.

            Our Grand Cherokee came with Goodyear all-weather tires and because of the QuadraDriveII terrain selection we never had to put on chains.

            Just dial in what terrain you’re on and the computer does the rest, preventing wheel spin by applying the brake to that spinning wheel.

            Turn off the anti-slip control circuitry and a whole new world of grip opens up for you with four wheels digging in equally, until one spins faster than the others. Then traction control takes over.

            I have since switched ALL my vehicles to the Michelin brand tires, Made in the USA, each in their own rimsize and factory recommended tread. I use passenger car tires on my Tundra because I only use it on-road. But the two SUVs get All-Weather Mud&Snow.

            That’s what works for me. For racing I imagine you want grip, which leads me to believe that an aggressive tread pattern with cleats would work better, regardless of tire width.

            For the MKZ or Fusion AWD my guess would be a very soft-riding, fast-wearing, All-Weather passenger-car tire to provide a smooth, quiet ride.

            For the Panda 4X4, maybe skinnies with an aggressive tread pattern because it is such a light vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        JD23

        FWD is the better option for most mainstream vehicles, but the torque-steer gremlins appear in high-powered FWD vehicles (~250hp). I have owned one car with FWD, one with RWD, and one with AWD, which is my current car and I have no desire to go back to FWD unless it is dictated by my budget.

        I also don’t believe it’s accurate to assume that no one outside of car blogs cares about which wheels are driven. My father, who is over 60, recently switched from Acura to Audi because he tired of high-powered FWD driving dynamics. Of course, the average soccer-mom driving a BMW CUV probably has no clue whether she is driving the RWD or AWD model, but that doesn’t apply for the entire general public.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Also – keep in mind that Audi only offers the A7 and A8 in Quattro form in the US.

      • 0 avatar
        JD23

        That’s completely untrue for both vehicles. The A8 and A7 are offered with less powerful engines in FWD form, but the majority of the powertrain options have quattro. Spend a couple of minutes on the Audi Germany or UK sites to get an idea how many powertrain options are offered outside the US.

  • avatar
    cargogh

    Most every picture I’ve seen of this has been that Bordeaux Reserve or Ruby which downplay the back lights and the curves. I guess marketing had already used the light colors so much for the Fusion.
    The lights aren’t as spectacular as a Charger’s, but they are sleek and I don’t have to play the guessing game of Is that from Asia or Buick?
    I just started googling it in white, and it is much more sculpted than I thought. The flattened areas over the fenders, especially the rear ones are less agressive than a Volvo, but wide enough to recall a Continental was in the family 50 years ago. I’m hoping it is going to be an attractive car. Haven’t seen one yet.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    Sounds like Lincoln and its dealers are acting like a premium brand should. While I don’t think being FWD is such a problem if this is positioned against an ES350, but what IS this positioned against? I find the styling ugly, but that is just my opinion. I’ll check out the quality of materials and assembly at the auto show….

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I *guess* it’s positioned against the Lexus ES 350 and to some extent the Acura TL. The problem is that in this segment, there are a number of non-premium-brand luxury cars that are making a rising, such as the Toyota Avalon, Hyundai Azera, 2014 Chevrolet Impala, Volkswagen CC, and Ford’s own Taurus. It makes cars like the Lincoln’s MKZ go further upmarket than they should, and puts a lot of their sales-force just on the cachet of their respective badges–which works for the Lexus, but not so much for the Lincoln. Also, this car is sandwiched from above by the Lincoln MKS, which is a rather mediocre car whose only selling-point over the MKZ is the fact that it’s available with the 3.5L twin-turbo EcoBoost V6. So Ford will inevitably have to limit the MKZ’s appeal in order to make a case for the MKS that it can’t do on its own.

      I think that if Lincoln could push the MKS further upmarket, like to where the Cadillac XTS and new Acura RLX are, the MKZ will have more of a chance…

  • avatar
    mike978

    Ronnie,

    You said “Lincoln’s desire to give each car a complete quality inspection”, excuse my ignorance but should it be standard practice for every car to have a full inspection, especially if it is a luxury (or semi premium, whatever term you prefer) brand?

    • 0 avatar
      cargogh

      They may be inspecting them like the old Continental Mark IIs. It takes longer.
      “To make sure that parts meet Continental quality standards, divisional inspect­ors are assigned full-time to the plants of suppliers of major components. The parts are inspected again after they reach the assembly plant. Before delivery to the assembly plant, Continentals engines are given a “hot test,” partially disassem­bled, inspected, reassembled and finally re-tested.
      Each automatic transmission is road tested in a vehicle before it is received at the assembly plant.
      On arrival, the engine is assembled with its transmission and tested on a dynamometer at various speeds
      and loads. After leaving final assembly, the car is tested on a chassis dynamometer and road-tested by a specialized mechanic, who personally makes any adjustments necessary.”

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        They have to get these right, just like they have to get the Fusion right. They can start phoning in their new releases again when they retake the segment as the current leaders did/do.

  • avatar
    wmba

    “Parts shortages and Lincoln’s desire to give each car a complete quality inspection …”

    If your process is under control, no final inspection is required, because the system should be designed to not allow errors. Otherwise you just retreat to pre – 1991 production methods and pretend Deming and Toyota systems never existed. I wonder if the plant is accredited to ISO 9001, that would he a triumph of overstatement.

    A pity, because everything I ever read about Hermosillo was that it was Ford’s best plant.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      From what I was able to gather, this appears to be a recent phenomenon where quality in assembly has tanked. And you are right, Hermosillo was, up to recently, Ford’s best plant.

      No one I know currently dealing Lincoln-Ford has a clue as to what is going on. I wonder if the outside world will ever know what part of the process fell short that caused these repercussions.

      Ford is the last American auto manufacturer standing and I would like to see it do well. If there are problems popping up now, under the capable leadership of Alan Mulally, imagine what awaits Ford customers when a less-capable leader follows in his footsteps.

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      So wmba, got a few logical questions for you…
      How do you determine a supplier is process capable or not? Do you just flow their parts into your product and beat 1991 style production with blind faith in the gods Charles Deming/Kiichiro Toyoda? Or do you add non-standard labor to your plant to measure trim parts with fixtures when you see your cars look like shit and don’t comply with the supplier site buy off / capability studies you did during the APQP process with the parts (AKA Lincoln look)?

      I’m not sure what fantasy world you live in, but it certainly doesn’t make any sense to someone that has a lick of industry knowledge or anyone that has taken a stats class.

      ISO_____ is just standardization of documentation. It is the most over sold industry scam that has nothing to do with Charles Deming or whatever bias crap you can spew to push your point.

    • 0 avatar
      threeer

      After working as a Quality Engineer for the last 20 years, I read that part of the article and nearly choked. Nice to see that Ford has taken a monumental step backwards into the stone age of production and process control by attempting to inspect quality into a vehicle rather than develop robust processes and procedures to build quality into the car. Very sad…oh, and just because a company is ISO/QS certified means beans to me. I’ve seen companies easily pay their way towards certification.

  • avatar
    Commando

    I perused the Fusion “Build Your Own”
    After the sticker shock, I thought I had clicked on the MKZ one.

    • 0 avatar
      SaulTigh

      You just hit on my biggest problem with Ford (and in full disclosure, I’m a fan – I own the Trifecta: a Ford, a Lincoln, and a Mercury) and that’s they way they do their packages. I swear you can option up and build a $30,000 Fiesta if you want to. This is certainly one area where the Japanese makes are far superior. They give 3 or so trim levels, list what comes on it, and then if you want to have your dealer add some giant ass wheels or wheel locks or nitrogen or some other nonsense, have at it, but HERE IS A LIST OF THE THREE LEVELS AND WHAT COMES ON THEM. So freaking simple.

      Try building an F150. If you want 4WD on a plain jane model, you have to take $4000 worth of other things. It’s insane.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        I like the build your own approach. But what I don’t like is packaging two high cost yet unrelated options. Why should taking nav require a sunroof or if you wan the higher trim level you are required to take the larger engine. I believe Nullo once said that if the take rate of two items together was very high, the factory would bundle for ease of assembly. Maybe, but I still don’t like it.

        • 0 avatar
          CelticPete

          It was the Japanese that started the trend of all these option bundles. Back in the day you could exactly the options you wanted and ordered them from the factory.

          Near as I can tell Dodge is the last company left that lets you say get a high level option package WITHOUT a sunroof.

          On all the other makes (German and Japanese) the sunroof is bundled..

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        The very thing you’re criticizing is exactly what you have to do with Hondas. If you want satnav, you have to get these other options that cost $6K.

        I’m happy to have more customization. Until recently, the Germans allowed much more customization than even American vehicles, but that has changed as the Germans have tried to run more volume and de-content a bit.

  • avatar
    JaySeis

    I actually like it. Interesting to compare black to say a maroon. I’ve driven both RWD, AWD, 4WD and FWD for years and I’d go for a traction controlled FWD with at least 300 hp.

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    “Parts shortages and Lincoln’s desire to give each car a complete quality inspection, along with issues integrating MKZ production at Ford’s Hermosillo, Mexico assembly plant, already running three shifts following the launch of the all-new Ford Fusion, meant a slower than anticipated rollout of the car. Ford had set up a secondary inspection site at its Flat Rock, Michigan plant because the Hermosillo facility could not inspect them quickly enough.”

    Heavens!, it’s far too much. Meter pegged.

    Where’s the lifeboat?

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    After reading some of the comments on quality.

    I do hope Ford can improve its build quality of NA manufactured vehicles. And guys don’t confuse build quality with reliability.

    My mother bought a Focus last year and the build quality is on par with what we had in the 80s early 90s here.

    So far it hasn’t had any mechanical problems, but it only has 10 000 on the clock.

    The interior is made of low quality material and finish, it reminds me of something the UK would have thought was great in the 80s.

    The secondary areas, ie, inside the trunk (boot) already has surface rust.

    I just hope the Lincoln’s quality is on par with a Korean built vehicle we get here now. The US still needs to improve in this area.

    People who want prestige normally look at attention to detail. That’s what differentiates a prestige vehicle (plus some innovation) from a cheap daily driver.

    Any manufacturer can drop massive amounts of bling in a car, but it still doesn’t make it prestigous. The Chinese do this, but their cars are from a prestige marque.

    • 0 avatar
      Athos Nobile

      You don’t really believe all that press release

      Let’s see, we get:

      Additional inspection
      Parts shortage
      Cars finished in another facility + additional QC inspection.
      Initially 100 cars/week, that’s 20 per day or barely over 6 per shift. In a plant that must be running easily at 40-50 cars/hr. And it was a parts shortage… yeah sure.

      Something must have got stuffed during production launch and they’re just covering this giving the impression of “extra care”.

  • avatar
    oldyak

    I finally saw one the other day..
    A nice break from the Lexus`s that seem to breed like rabbits!
    I think Ford may have something here since I have read so many times that BMW owners dont know what are the driven wheels,the ‘I want something different’ crowd may coddle right up to the Lincoln ,and it gets great gas mileage.
    It just needs suicide doors..

  • avatar
    supremebrougham

    I really like these. Despite these being so similar to the Fusion, the Fusion does nothing for me, and will never be on my shopping list.

    When I attended NAIAS, I spent a lot of time at the Lincoln display. The display was nicely done, and the black MKZ was especially attractive. At the ripe old age of 37, I am unfortunately not in a position to afford one, but they sure catch my eye.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Used is your friend, the previous generation had some of the highest ratings but lowest resale in its class. There’s a Ford dealer around here who goes to the auction and fleets and was selling 2011s/30K-40K for right around $20K last fall. I almost bought one but I didn’t need a [another] new(er) car.

      • 0 avatar
        AlphaWolf

        The fusion does nothing for me either. It’s really amazing what you can get a used MKZ for. There is so much Lincoln hate going on but the resale let’s you step into a really nice car for base Altima pricing. If you think though you would want any sportiness with your luxury look elsewhere though.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    This would be a great car… if the Ford Fusion didn’t exist. I don’t think one can justify the price bump over a Fusion Titanium AWD. One gets a little bigger engine, that is it. Now if the 5.0L was available…

    • 0 avatar
      N8iveVA

      “One gets a little bigger engine, that is it. ”

      I guess you consider the Lincolns available 3.7 Liter V6 to be a “little bigger” than the Fusions 2.0 Liter 4 cyclinder. Plus there are other differences on the Lincoln like the push button gear selector and panoramic sunroof that you can’t get on a Fusion.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I have to say I was appalled when I heard the V6 was only “available”, it should be fricking standard on a 40K+ faux luxury car. If they offered a credit in the first MY to drop the V6 for an I4, and then saw a large percentage did this, then I would understand. Cadillac, Acura, and Lexus all still offer a standard V6 in their MKZ equivalents. Gives me facepalm.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          True, but there are quite a few similarly-sized sedans that are far more expensive and start out with four-cylinder engines and work their way up to six and possibly eight-cylinder units. The BMW 5-Series, Audi A6 and Jaguar XF are a few examples. The main reason that softer entry-level luxury cars like the Lexus ES and Hyundai Azera start out with V6 engines is because effortless cruising is one of their selling points. But there’s hardly any reason to start with a V6 if you make a four-cylinder that offers all the benefits of one.

          Which, I think, is what Ford has accomplished. I have driven a 2013 Fusion Titanium equipped with the same 2.0T as the base MKZ and found it to be responsive, competent and brimming with usable power. The 3.7L V6, meanwhile, is sort of FoMoCo’s bastard-child engine. And the *only* Ford vehicle in which the 3.7L is the “best” engine is in fact this new MKZ. They only seem to have thrown it in on the Lincoln so that it would have something over its Ford counterpart.

          I would compare the MKZ’s V6 to the VR6 in the Volkswagen CC or the 3.6L in the Subaru Legacy: somewhat nice, but hardly necessary.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            You make a good point about the V6s being offered in the ‘effortless drive’ cruisers I had not thought of it that way (ironically of course effortless cruisers are Lincoln’s traditional territory). If the goals of your model are to attract just the opposite type of customer, then the four pot makes better sense.

            Personally I’m not a fan of juicing up I4s to do the work they traditionally aren’t best at, really in addition to sacrifices in highway fuel economy I think it will also mean more reliability issues down the road. I think at a certain price point, X amount of power should simply be expected, if your buyers are truly fuel conscious steer them to your hybrid, IMO. Then again I don’t run a major automotive concern :)

  • avatar
    Sob93

    “…trim parts in short supply”. Perhaps if they were manufactured in the homeland this wouldn’t be a problem.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      It doesn’t matter where they’re made. With just-in-time assembly, any glitch can cause a parts shortage, even a machine breakdown from a supplier around the corner. J-I-T may be too stringent a standard to completely eliminate parts inventory. Interrupted production and lost sales have to cost more than keeping a minimal parts reserve.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    I saw this car at the car show and spent 10-15 minutes in and around it. This car impressed me by design and comfort in both rows. I even thought that when someone leases it in 2013 and surrenders it in 2016, this is when my Mazda3 will be 6 years old and my son will be 16, so, this is going to be time to get new car and 3 years old Linc MKZ would be excellent choice for 45 year old looser… But then I learned that this goodie is made in Mexico. That was it. I am not driving Mexican and Chinese made cars independently of the make.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Chinese quality can be dubious (and often only because the non-Chinese companies that use the country’s labor want it to be as inexpensive as possible), but Mexico is actually quite skilled at creating high-quality products, and the Mexico-built MKZ would at least be on par with anything built here in the States.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I’m a GM fan (insert hate comments below), but I am actually rooting for this car. So I hope the slower-than-anticpated production processes didn’t botch its release. I’ve yet to see one.

  • avatar
    Junebug

    Give it a year and you can pick up a 40K MKZ for 24 grand easy.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Or better yet if you just need wheels, maybe lease one for 3-years with 0-0-0 at time of signing.

      I’ve seen some pretty good lease deals advertised on Lincoln products, and if you just need wheels it is hard to imagine a better deal elsewhere.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Around here it was $399/27 or 39 months (I cant remember which) with I believe money down. This does not scream deal to me, although if your used to $500+ Lexus/Acura payments maybe it is.


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