By on November 5, 2018

Image: Ford

Great things can happen when you combine something that’s already good with a symphony orchestra. Procol Harum’s 1971 live recording of Conquistador is proof of that. For Lincoln Motor Company, a marque which just suffered another disappointing sales month, the vehicle on which it has placed so much hope isn’t leaving any luxury stone unturned.

Next year’s Aviator, a rear-biased midsize SUV that makes the MKX look like a minivan, plans to woo buyers by taking them out on the town. You won’t be able to avoid a night at the symphony in this vehicle.

Let’s say you’ve left your fuel door open like an idiot, or maybe attempted to drive off with the parking brake engaged. Instantly, the Aviator springs into action, booting up a live recording of a warning chime recorded by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. In all, Lincoln commissioned six different non-critical warning chimes from the orchestra, covering 25 vehicle functions.

Using these “distinctive musical alerts,” Lincoln hopes to make the Aviator stand apart from its premium rivals. Hard to believe, but some people don’t think Lincoln can cut it in the luxury field. With the Aviator, which uses the 2020 Ford Explorer’s modular CD6 platform, the brand isn’t leaving anything to chance. Driving a pricey luxury vehicle is all about feeling special, and it’s small, unique flourishes like this that can bolster a vehicle’s cachet.

Apparently, the musicians were made to sit in a Continental for inspiration. Make of that what you will.

“This is quite a departure for us – introducing music into the informational chime world,” said Jennifer Prescott, Lincoln’s supervisor of vehicle harmony, in a statement. “But we’re always thinking about luxury, and this was a way to take Lincoln to an even higher level.”

Image: Ford

The brand held listening clinics to select the right recording for each chime. Lincoln’s media release makes sure to portray a team locked in an obsessive search for the correct chime sound, with some alerts drawn from a pool of 100 recordings. Unlike Chrysler in the 1980s, Lincoln cares about your ears and sanity, and don’t you forget it.

Following their introduction on the Aviator, these same chimes will filter down to other Lincoln models.

Lincoln’s reborn Aviator makes its debut on November 28th at the L.A. Auto Show, and not a moment too soon. With the exception of the new-for-2018 Navigator, all Lincoln vehicles — cars and crossovers alike — recorded year-to-date sales declines in the United States. Even with an extra selling day last month, the brand saw a 15 percent year-over-year slide. The first 10 months of 2018 brought a 9.6 percent volume drop.

[Images: Lincoln Motor Company]

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35 Comments on “Gimmicky but Grand: Lincoln’s Attempt to Class Things Up Starts With Your Ears...”


  • avatar
    Rasputin

    About that “This is a new nameplate” …….

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    Did she really say this is a new nameplate?

    And good on you Lincoln. I hear all the time how warning chimes are harsh and need to be more premium. It’s a common complaint on the Audi/BMW/Jaguar/Cadillac/Mercedes/Bentley/Rolls Royce forums.

    • 0 avatar
      cbrworm

      What’s funny is I saw a TV show, or possibly a video, on how much effort BMW put into each chime/tone/warning, and all the subtle nuances between the different product brand and price points.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    How about the premium stereo comes standard on all trim levels?

    That would be a “treat for the ears.”

  • avatar
    Boxerman

    Or, they could not use cheap hard plastics, have switch gear that feels quality well oiled. Everything you touch should feel substantive.

    Dynamicaly, using an explorer which has been dynamic disaster from version 1.0 is a question mark. What motors are they using, will the be smooth and powerful, will they sound inspiring or like farts.. Will the transmission shift well and smoothly or will it stay stuck in high gear like so many USA suvs. Will the brake rotors warp from some high speed slowdowns. Will the ride be confortable or are they using cheap shocks again. How will it steer.

    These are the issues to adress, the styling is already appealing. But a warmed over crapbox wont sell because of philharmonic chimes. Likeley the same tune played over and over will just aggravate the f out of people.

    There are no shorttcuts, looks liek ford is still lookign for one with lincoln.

  • avatar
    WallMeerkat

    It looks like a generic luxury SUV from a computer game like Grand Theft Auto, where they don’t license real cars from manufacturers, but you can usually pick out what cars they’re going for.

    In this case a Range Rover rear and an Audi Q7 front.

  • avatar
    deanst

    I kept waiting for the Saturday night live logo to appear….

  • avatar
    IBx1

    Reminds me of how Microsoft spent millions of dollars to come up with the 4-note Windows Vista/7 startup chime. Hopefully this comes out nicely.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I think the Aviator is gorgeous, right up there with anything from Land Rover. I’m looking forward to seeing this in real life and think it could be a real success based on looks alone

  • avatar
    stangmatt66

    These are basically the same chimes Ford and Lincoln use now, but played by the DSO. Not nearly as distinct as what BMW does to separate the chimes in Mini, BMW, and Rolls Royce models.

    • 0 avatar
      EBFlex

      This stunt reminds me of how Ford screwed up the turn signal a few years ago. Yes they had a perfectly fine turn signal stalk that would remain either up or down until you completed the turn. But then Ford said…..”wait a minute, despite nothing wrong with it’s operation, lets change it and make it infuriating”.

      Same thing here. You have the exact same chimes but you’re going to waste money on making the same thing different. Meanwhile you are still in a rebadged explorer.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    I can’t believe I really like this idea, but I do. How about the Wells Cathedral Choir singing, “Your door is ajaaaaaar!” Also can’t believe how much I like the big Lincoln SUVs, but I do. Lincoln really nailed the design of these things. And, the Procol Harum reference, that concert was in my hometown and was the first number-one recording by a symphony orchestra on mainstream radio, or some such, great record.

  • avatar
    Boxerman

    You can shoot the messenger all you want. There is a reason Lincoln is at the bottom of the luxury heap, despite some visualy promising designs. And its not because everybody is so stupid that they just buy a euro badge, well maybe JLR buyers do, but the rest of the euro products are actualy pretty good.

    unlike others I dont make excuses for the domestics, I truly want them to be better than the competition. So far between cadillac and Lincioln its a a close to total miss depending on the product.
    Some gimick chimes wont cut it here, ;lets hope the rest lives up to it.

  • avatar
    northshoreman1

    “This is quite a departure for us – introducing music into the informational chime world,” said Jennifer Prescott, Lincoln’s supervisor of vehicle harmony….

    I really thought the “Supervisor of Vehicle Harmony” wasn’t really the job title, but just looked it up. Yup, it’s real.

    What other projects does this job entail? Did Jennifer give any clues?

    And yeah, this is a serious question.

  • avatar

    Detroit Symphony Orchestra will scare lot of potential defectors from Cadillac off. If they chose Grand Funk with Detroit Symphony Orchestra on the other hand (e.g. Loneliness, I am Your Captain) it might work. Or better make it Eminem with no Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Or Quatro sisters as the last resort, no Detroit Symphony Orchestra either.

  • avatar
    STS_Endeavour

    Poor Lincoln. Trying to make themselves into the Andy Warhol of the automotive industry while the bean counters at Ford hold them back from being the truly competitive luxury automobile company they are perfectly capable of being.

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