Lincoln MKZ Supply Issue Resolved, But What About Hermosillo's Quality?

Ronnie Schreiber
by Ronnie Schreiber
lincoln mkz supply issue resolved but what about hermosillos quality

This is a post that I’d rather not write. As a Detroiter, in an ideal world I’d rather that the domestic auto manufactures made tons of money selling great cars. I’m willing to take an unvarnished look at them, after all, those of us who live here are more likely to have some kind of personal interaction with the auto industry than most folks who live elsewhere, but I don’t feel the need to gratuitously slam GM, Ford and Chrysler the way some people do. I just want to be fair. In addition, it grates on me when people accuse TTAC of having a bias against those three Detroit based car companies. Sure, we’re not cheerleaders, but the writers and editors at TTAC don’t have conference calls or Skype sessions where we choose which of the domestic automakers we’ll slam that day. So it’s with some reluctance that I have to note what I considered to be a couple of quality control issues with the all new Lincoln MKZ, now finally arriving in dealerships after a botched launch.

It was FoMoCo itself that raised the issue of quality control concerning the new MKZ. In explaining why dealers didn’t have cars that were heavily promoted with Super Bowl level marketing, Ford said that their Hermosillo, Mexico plant, which assembles the MKZ and the Ford Fusion, couldn’t keep up with a quality control procedure that was originally intended to prevent some of the quality stumbles that have plagued Ford launches of late. Every single MKZ was supposed to be rigorously inspected. The issue was compounded by supplier issues and missing parts. When Hermosillo couldn’t keep up, uninspected cars were shipped to the Flat Rock, Michigan facility for those inspections, end-of-line repairs and installation of those parts. A while back Ford announced that all of those issues were resolved, that the Hermosillo plant was now up to speed and that the pipeline was full and that dealers had normal inventory levels.

The inventory announcement seemed to be accurate, at least as far as it looked at Dearborn’s Jack Demmer Lincoln, the closest Lincoln store to FoMoCo’s headquarters. I have to drive my mom to regular appointments at her ophthalmologist and I drive by the Demmer shop going and coming. Since I hate sitting in doctor’s waiting rooms, I usually hang out at the nearby Automotive Hall of Fame or the Henry Ford Museum, but I’d been to both of those recently so I decided to check out the Lincoln dealership.

I counted at least 40 MKZs in the main lot. A salesman told me they had about 100 in stock and were expecting another 100 in the next week or so. There appeared to be a nice mix of powertrains and prices ranging from 2.0 L Ecoboost FWD models in the mid to upper 30s and fully loaded 3.7 L V6 AWD models in the low 50s. I think it’s a great looking car, though I think the interior of the competing Cadillac ATS is better executed. For some reason the MKZ’s interior designers gave it downward sloping arm rests, which made reaching the window and mirror controls a stretch. Concerning the exterior at first I thought the stylish rear end would mean less than ideal accessibility to the trunk, but when the deck lid is up the opening is surprisingly large.

It was when I was checking out the trunk that I noticed the first disquieting thing regarding QC. I lifted up the carpeted panel to check out the spare tire and I was struck by the sloppy application of seam sealer. Not only was it sloppy, it appeared to be overabundant. It was particularly noticeable because its brown color contrasted sharply with the car’s silver paint. In recent years we’ve gotten used to small QC details being attended to, little things like avoiding overspray or preventing adhesives from oozing out of joints. The seam sealer on the MKZ reminded me of how things were 40 years ago in the U.S. car industry. Actually, the only other recent cars that I’ve noticed with such sloppy body sealer were the one’s from China that BYD had on display a while back at the NAIAS.

Overgenerous application of body sealer underneath a cover in the trunk is one thing, the other quality issue was literally right in front of my eyes as the cars sat on the showroom floor. There were a handful of MKZs in the showroom, but none had the model’s distinguishing optional retractable glass roof. I’m not very tall, just 5’6″, so the roofline is not that far from eye level for me. When I was checking out the cars to see if they had glass roofs, looking at the steel roofs from the back of the car I noticed that at the tail end of the roof panel where the sheet metal is bent 90 degrees to create the well into which the back glass sits, at the corner where the roof panel meets the side rail the finish on the metalwork is not very neatly done. I don’t know if it’s too much body filler or poorly ground welds, but it was noticeable on every single MKZ without a glass roof. Some were worse than others, and the problem seemed to be more on the passenger side than on the driver’s side but it was hard not to miss. When I realized it was on every steel roof MKZ, I took a few pics with my cell phone. Even without high resolution photos, you can see what I’m talking about.

It’s not like the glass roofed cars are perfect. The gaps between the glass panels are much wider than we’ve become used to with bodywork, at least a half inch or more and those gaps are filled with rubber that’s dark grey but still contrasts a bit with the deeply tinted glass. Maybe I’m being picky but neither that rubber trim on the glass roofed cars, nor the metal finishing on the others look like they belong on $50,000+ cars.

Since the sloppy metalwork appeared to be on all the MKZs that I saw that had metal roofs, if it really is a problem, and not me just being picky, then it’s a problem with process or design.

A reader once took issue with how I characterized a piece of loose wood trim on the car as a “glaring” issue in my review of the Chrysler 300 . I used that word because in an otherwise nearly flawless car, when wood starts falling off the dashboard, right in front of your face, the issue is indeed glaring. Other than the two issues that I’ve mentioned here, the fit and finish of the MKZs were fine, and for the reasons mentioned at the head of this post, I want to like the MKZ, but it’s hard to ignore a problem when it’s looking at you right in the eye.

Disclaimer: I haven’t checked the metalwork on all of the competing cars in the MKZ’s class. Maybe they have flaws too. I didn’t notice anything glaring on the ATS in the Cadillac showroom next door.

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 dig deeper 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 – RJS

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  • Bloggin Bloggin on Apr 23, 2013

    “I haven’t checked the metalwork on all of the competing cars in the MKZ’s class. Maybe they have flaws too.” Maybe the writer should check other cars 'first', before writing an article to make it seem like Lincoln MKZ is the only luxury car with what 'he' calls a flaw. This obsessive critical focus on Lincoln and the Lincoln MKZ is a bit overdone.

  • Memremkr Memremkr on Aug 02, 2013

    I was passing one of the first MKZ's I had seen on the freeway the other day and noticed what appeared to be really poor fit and finish at the lower portion of the front and rear doors (at the "ground effects area"). It was so noticeable I thought maybe it had been a repaired MKZ or had "aftermarket" ground effects. Being a car fanatic I was so curious that a few days later I visited an Lincoln dealer just to drive through the lot and look at the fit and finish on the new MKZ's in inventory. Boy, what a shock! This dealer probably has 40+ MKZ's sitting there and I slowly drove around the isles, without ever leaving the car just looking carefully at the fit and finish from probably 10 feet away. If this was a new Chinese car just hitting the shore's I'd give it a break.... but these are Lincolns. The gap between the ground effects and the lower doors is horrible. Additionally the vertical gap between the front and rear doors (at the bottom of the doors) is very noticeable on many of the vehicles sitting on this particular lot. I have to say that as a close follower of the industry and having owned over 12 new cars in my time I'm beyond shocked. This is like back to the future where come hell or high water some executive said "ship the suckers" no matter what the quality issues. What shame. I have to agree that this is the most botched looking new car I've seen on the road or on a dealer lot in ages. Ford/ Lincoln are in for a big surprise if they think they'll have a prayer of getting anyone under 65 to take this vehicle seriously as you'd need someone with poor eyesight to actually get suckered into buying one. This is 2013 and they still have not learned. Lest anyone think I'm biased, my last car was a 2005 Ford Freestyle with excellent fit and finish and 0 problems in 100,000 miles (save for two minor recalls that took no more than 2 hours of my time in total at a dealership). Buyer Beware.

  • Jeff S Corey--We know but we still want to give our support to you and let TTAC know that your articles are excellent and better than what the typical articles are.
  • Jeff S A sport utility vehicle or SUV is a car classification that combines elements of road-going passenger cars with features from off-road vehicles, such as raised ground clearance and four-wheel drive.There is no commonly agreed-upon definition of an SUV and usage of the term varies between countries. Thus, it is "a loose term that traditionally covers a broad range of vehicles with four-wheel drive." Some definitions claim that an SUV must be built on a light truck chassis; however, broader definitions consider any vehicle with off-road design features to be an SUV. A [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossover_(automobile)]crossover SUV[/url] is often defined as an SUV built with a unibody construction (as with passenger cars), however, the designations are increasingly blurred because of the capabilities of the vehicles, the labelling by marketers, and electrification of new models.The predecessors to SUVs date back to military and low-volume models from the late 1930s, and the four-wheel drive station wagons and carryalls that began to be introduced in 1949. The 1984 [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeep_Cherokee_(XJ)]Jeep Cherokee (XJ)[/url] is considered to be the first SUV in the modern style. Some SUVs produced today use unibody construction; however, in the past, more SUVs used body-on-frame construction. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, the popularity of SUVs greatly increased, often at the expense of the popularity of large [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sedan_(automobile)]sedans[/url] and station wagons.More recently, smaller SUVs, mid-size, and crossovers have become increasingly popular. SUVs are currently the world's largest automotive segment and accounted for 45.9% of the world's passenger car market in 2021. SUVs have been criticized for a variety of environmental and safety-related reasons. They generally have poorer fuel efficiency and require more resources to manufacture than smaller vehicles, contributing more to climate change and environmental degradation. Between 2010 and 2018 SUVs were the second largest contributor to the global increase in carbon emissions worldwide. Their higher center of gravity increases their risk of rollovers. Their larger mass increases their stopping distance, reduces visibility, and increases damage to other road users in collisions. Their higher front-end profile makes them at least twice as likely to kill pedestrians they hit. Additionally, the psychological sense of security they provide influences drivers to drive less cautiously. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sport_utility_vehicleWith the above definition of SUV any vehicle that is not a pickup truck if it is enclosed, doesn't have a trunk, and is jacked up with bigger tires. If the green activists adhere to this definition of what an SUV is there will be millions of vehicles with flat tires which include HRVs, Rav4s, CRVs, Ford Escapes, Buick Encores, and many of compact and subcompact vehicles. The green movement is going to have to recruit millions of new followers and will be busy flattening millions of tires in the US and across the globe. Might be easier to protest.
  • Sckid213 I actually do agree that most Nissans are ultimately junk. (I also think many BMWs are also). I was talking challenging the 3 in terms of driving dynamics. Agree all were failures in sales.
  • THX1136 More accurately said, we are seeing exponential growth in the manufacturing capabilities in this market. Unless, of course, all those vehicles are sold with customers waiting until more a produced so they can buy. Indeed, there are certainly more EVs being purchased now than back in 2016. Is demand outstripping manufacturing? Maybe or maybe not. I sincerely don't know which is why I ask.
  • ToolGuy The page here (linked in the writeup) is ridiculously stupid https://www.tyreextinguishers.com/how-to-spot-an-suvLike, seriously stupid, e.g., A) Not sure that particular Volvo is killing the planet as quickly as some other vehicles we might choose. B) A Juke is "huge"??? C) The last picture shows a RAV4 Hybrid?
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