Gimmicky but Grand: Lincoln's Attempt to Class Things Up Starts With Your Ears

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

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.”

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]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Nov 05, 2018

    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.

  • STS_Endeavour STS_Endeavour on Nov 05, 2018

    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.

    • EBFlex EBFlex on Nov 06, 2018

      It’s sheer ineptness that holds Lincoln back. Nothing more. They have no idea how to do desirable near luxury vehicles.

  • FreedMike Depends on the used car. If we're talking a numbers-matching GTO or something like that, then hell no. But if we're talking about something like a six-banger '67 Mustang, it'd be cool to make it into an EV with modern suspension, brakes and electronics. Call it an electro-restomod.
  • Billccm I think history is repeating itself. In the late 1980s the French acquired AMC. They discovered no easy money in that deal, Chrysler took AMC and Jeep is all that remained.Present day the French acquired FCA, discovered no easy money in the deal, and some Asian manufacturer will take what remains of Chrysler, and Jeep and RAM will be all that survived.To understand the future study the past.
  • Jalop1991 "why did the governor veto a bill to give me free gummint money?"
  • Jalop1991 absolutely. I'm probably coming into a 31 Model A, and there's a great retrofit system for that. It makes a bunch of sense.
  • TMA1 Been thinking about getting one of these for my mother. Skip the AWD and DSG, the FWD comes with an 8-spd. Good size vehicle for a woman who wants a SUV and has a small garage. Much better view outwards than the Mazda CX-30 I was looking at. Wish it had a power tailgate though - she's short.