Ford will relaunch Lincoln…again. Ford Motor Company announced today that it will start a new advertising campaign for the coming year: “2013 Introducing The Lincoln Motor Car Company.” It’s not that the company is new, but Ford is conceding that its luxury division has not had—or at least not perceived as having had—the most luxurious luxury cars on the market.
“By reintroducing ‘The Lincoln Motor Company,’” says Ford. “the campaign captures the founding principles of the company and brings them forward to a new generation of progressive luxury buyers.”
“Befitting this new chapter in the life of Lincoln we are making a complete new start in every aspect of consumer communication to emotionally welcome our new target customer into our brand,” said Matt VanDyke, director of the Global Lincoln Brand. “It’s not often this opportunity comes around so we intend to make the most of it and have our work in every medium be as fresh, surprising and distinctive as the new Lincoln vehicles and customer experiences will be.”
The rebirth of Lincoln will focus on the all-new Lincoln MKZ midsize sedan and the MKZ Hybrid. It’s a similar starting point, actually, to Cadillac, which centered its revival on the Cadillac CTS, also a premium midsize. The CTS, however, features rear-wheel drive, with Cadillac adding a high performance CTS-V version not only to the sedan but also to coupe and wagon variants that followed.
The 2013 Lincoln MKZ, on the other hand, will have front-wheel drive with all-wheel drive optional, and instead of the high performance halo Cadillac has provided the CTS, the Lincoln MKZ will push a green agenda. The 2013 MKZ, introduced at the 2012 New York International Auto Show in April, will come with a choice of a 2.0-liter four-cylinder producing 240 horsepower (on premium fuel) or a 300-horse 3.7-liter V-6. Both will be offered with front or all-wheel drive.
Additionally, a hybrid—named the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid—will combine a 2.0-liter four rated at 141 horsepower with an electric motor to produce a peak 188 horsepower. The MKZ Hybrid will have an EPA fuel economy rating of 45/45 mpg city/highway. The 556-hp Cadillac CTS-V gets considerably less, even if it is considerably faster.
The campaign for reintroducing Lincoln will emphasize Lincoln’s heritage, harking back to 1922, when Edsel Ford signed the agreement to purchase the Lincoln Motor Company and make it part of Ford. In the early days, as was common with luxury cars, Lincoln models were often provided with unique or limited series custom bodies from the premier custom automobile body makers.
Ironically, the owner of Lincoln Motor Company had been Henry Leland, who had been the founder of Cadillac 1902 and had used the remnants of the Henry Ford’s first automobile factory. Leland famously made Cadillac “The Standard of the World” with a demonstration of precision manufacturing, and later for the introduction of the electric starter on automobiles. Leland is also credited with the first water-cooled V-8 engine.
After Cadillac had been absorbed into General Motors, Leland left the company during World War I. Historians credit it partly on disagreements with General Motors’ directors on just how great rather than good a Cadillac should be, and also on William C. “Billy” Durant’s pacifistic refusal to aid the war effort. Leland would get the contract to build V-12 aircraft engines, but when that was terminated, leaving the company in massive debt, Leland went into making luxury cars, purportedly named after the first president for whom Leland had voted, Alas for Leland, the post-war recession made Lincoln a bargain purchase for Edsel Ford.