By on September 20, 2018

2014 Lincoln MKT, Image: Ford Motor Company

Seldom talked about by the teeming masses, the slow-selling Lincoln MKT crossover gets a lot of buzz among certain subsets of the population. People transporting corpses, for example, or perhaps prom-goers who’ll soon learn their tolerance for badly mixed alcoholic drinks.

The aging, whale-faced MKT fills a niche role, and Lincoln isn’t ready to ditch its livery clientele just yet, despite rumors of its imminent demise. It seems Ford Motor Company has more respect for the occupants of hearses than drivers of small passenger cars.

Speaking to Automotive News, Lincoln’s marketing manager, Robert Parker, said the MKT will not bow out of the brand’s lineup. Instead, it’ll carry on in the background as a fleet-only model once the upscale, midsize Aviator arrives next year.

“MKT can fill that role profitably for the company and will for the time being,” Parker said. “We don’t think it negatively impacts the brand.”

2013 Lincoln MKT

It can’t negatively impact the brand if customers can’t see it, and no one visiting Lincoln’s consumer website can expect to see the MKT on the homepage. You’ll have to click that “vehicles” tab to explore the MKT — something few retail shoppers do. However, just because the MKT sells in low numbers (it moved 1,653 units over the first eight months of 2018, a 22 percent year-to-date drop), doesn’t mean it’s not useful.

“It has a place,” Parker said. “Just like a long snapper on a football team. Nobody knows their name, or cares, but if he screws up a snap, it’s a bad day.”

Its biggest use, besides transporting cold or very warm bodies, is ensuring the upcoming Aviator sells with the highest possible margins. Lincoln doesn’t want to offer discounts. The brand hopes to reap the full price for all Aviators sold, all the while pushing even pricier Black Label models on retail customers and foisting the cheaper MKT on the fleet crowd.

“If you see an Aviator in Denver at a rental-car location,” Parker said, “it’s because they paid us what you would have paid when you bought it.”

Lincoln’s MKT went on sale in late 2009 as a 2010 model, undergoing a single styling refresh in the years since. It still carries the signature split-wing grille that’s now disappeared from contemporary Lincoln models. Given that 2019 looks to be its last year of availability for retail buyers, act now if you’ve always craved an outdated, seven-passenger Lincoln crossover with a standard 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6.

[Image: Lincoln Motor Company]

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31 Comments on “Fear Not – a Lincoln MKT Might Still Cart You Off to the Afterlife...”


  • avatar
    MBella

    So being on track to sell less than 2000 units in a year isn’t enough to cancel this vehicle, but 200k+ isn’t enough to save the Fusion. That’s some good Ford logic.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      We can keep the Focus but only if it falls on the spectrum that includes the Subaru Outback and Buick TourX.

      The hardest thing here is the current MKT shares its underpinnings with the Flex and Taurus… Once the Flex and Taurus go away, what does the MKT assembly line look like? One shift a day? I thought that the factory currently building those platform vehicles was going to be re-purposed.

    • 0 avatar
      MrIcky

      2000 units that you don’t discount (in theory) and make money on every one vs 200k units that you have big discounts on and at best break even and probably lose a little on every one.

      Seems pretty straight forward to me. It doesn’t matter what your volume is if it isn’t making money. Loss leaders don’t work in the car business.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        You don’t think Ford could sell 2,000 Fusions each year at full MSRP?

        • 0 avatar
          Adam Tonge

          I wouldn’t be surprised to see hi-po versions of the Focus and Fusion/Mondeo imported from Europe at some point.

          The MkT will stay around for fleet as long as Ford sells the Flex. Ford isn’t going to keep that platform around just for the MkT.

        • 0 avatar
          MrIcky

          Maybe they could sell 2000 at full retail, maybe they could sell 20,000 at full retail. but if the other 180,000 are at a loss then it doesn’t matter.

          Plus the fusion is 25k vs 100k. Likely 20k+ in profit on the Navigator. Plus it’s brand halo (which it shouldn’t be in a logical world, but it is).

          But then you take the Escapes and Edges and whatever other CUV that ford has and those do (apparently) reliably make a little profit.

          It feels like people are going through the stages of grief over a mediocre midsize sedan.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    I’m not going to be carted off to the afterlife. I’m going to a cryogenic center where I’ll be frozen in a container alongside Ted Williams, Walt Disney, and the guy who played Lumpy on “Leave it to Beaver”. They’ll probably transport me there in a refrigerated fleet van of some sort.

  • avatar
    TheFirehawkGuy

    I replaced a 98 Lincoln Mark VIII LSC with a 2014 MKT 3.5 Ecoboost a few years ago. It’s faster than the Mark VIII and gets better gas mileage. It’s almost exactly the same width and length as the Mark VIII but has room for 7 and more trunk space. I like my MKT so much it makes me look forward to replacing it with an Aviator when the time comes. I think most people just couldn’t get past the rear styling, which is a little awkward. Objectively, it’s a great vehicle for the money…. in its day…. it is a bit long in the tooth in 2018. However, 365 turbocharged horsepower never gets old.

    • 0 avatar
      snakebit

      I don’t like to admit that I’m swayed mainly by style, but the MKT, at best, looks like a large PT Cruiser, and at worst(especially painted black)like a first-call vehicle, which creeps me out. I’d search for an ‘Entourage’style 60s Lincoln before plunking cash down on an MKT. To those who do drive them, I’m glad that you’re pleased with them. I just can’t go there, myself.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    I swear to God…if my last ride is in a FWD v6 anything somebody is getting haunted. And not that friendly Casper or Beetleguice haunting BS…I’m talking full on Amityville Horror.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      More and more funeral homes are using Suburbans (at least in my area) but then some of our cemeteries are in areas that would be considered remote and rugged anywhere else in the country.

    • 0 avatar
      zamoti

      They don’t make an ecoboosted FWD MKT, they’re all AWD if they’ve got snails. Just demand to be hauled off to boot hill in a turbo.

      Also, it could be worse, I’ve seen a lot of Caravans/T&Cs that have been made into hearses. Talk about a sorry-ass way to go out. No thank you.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        My last ride better not be in a mini-van, unless Walmart is opening a chain of cemeteries

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          @Lie2Me

          “Womb to the tomb, always low prices.”

          • 0 avatar
            zamoti

            “When it comes to price, we BURY the competition! No, that’s not a metaphor, they’re buried over there. Be careful where you step, we’ve hired 3rd party contractor to dig the holes and a separate one to fill them in so we can shift liability; if you fall in a hole, you’re on your own.”

          • 0 avatar
            Sub-600

            According to my parents, my first ride was in a 1960 Ford Falcon Wagon. My last ride will almost have to be an improvement.

      • 0 avatar
        SC5door

        “They don’t make an ecoboosted FWD MKT,”

        Yes they do. It’s a 2.0L FWD unit labeled as a Town Car.

        https://www.fleet.ford.com/showroom/speciality-vehicle/lincoln-mkt-livery/

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    How is it that 2,000 fleet sales a year is enough to keep the MKT in production but many multiples of that wasn’t enough to keep selling Crown Vic’s to police and taxis?

    • 0 avatar
      deanst

      Crown Vic plant in St. Thomas only made the old RWD fords/mercury/Lincoln’s. It was outdated and closed with the end of the big cars.

      The Oakville plant is much more modern and at one point was building 3 different platforms as they switched over to the new Edge.

  • avatar
    Johnster

    So there are a handful of MKTs sold for limo duty? It is not something that I would like to ride in and no substitute for the Town Car, or even a Continental. (But then I don’t ride in limos very often. The last time was when I called for an airport shuttle bus, and the driver showed up with a Town Car. Nice upgrade.)

    On the other hand, these MKTs do make good hearses.

  • avatar
    SC5door

    “Lincoln’s MKT went on sale in late 2009 as a 2010 model, undergoing a single styling refresh in the years since.”

    MCE for the MKT was a new grill for 2018. The grill for 2018-2019 has horizontal bars in it.

  • avatar
    Mike Beranek

    Perhaps they could offer a “Pinto” option for the hearse models. After the funeral, you load the stiff in and then rear-end the hearse with the limo the family rides in. Instant cremation!


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