Fear Not - a Lincoln MKT Might Still Cart You Off to the Afterlife
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.”
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 Given that 2019 looks to be its last year of availability for retail buyers, act now if you’ve always craved an outdated, seven-passenger Lincoln crossover with a standard 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6.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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