We’re truly living in the era of the luxury car renaissance, and nothing says “renaissance” quite like Venetian leather, which is one of the several new options Lincoln Motor Co. is equipping its vehicles with.
Lincoln has been putting some considerable resources into a brand resurgence as of late, including the now infamous ad featuring Matthew McConaughey, and the Venetian leather is simply another bullet in the chamber. As the company has fallen considerably behind and is now in many ways an afterthought for many consumers, Ford has decided to get the ball rolling again and hopefully gain some momentum. One way to do so? Simply outdo what your competitors are doing.
In order to do just that, Lincoln is pushing ahead with Lincoln Black Label, which includes not only upgraded vehicles but a touch of personal service, as well. Black Label will include new versions of the MKZ and the MKC with unique designs and themes that include things like the aforementioned Venetian leather and Alcantara designer wood. In addition to those enhanced vehicles, the company is also rolling out a new service method.
The program, which is due to launch in late December, will begin with dealers in six states dedicating showroom space specifically to serve Black Label customers. Think of it as a level of personal service that could rival how some competitors, like Tesla, handle customers.
“Black Label represents a new level of Lincoln luxury in terms of product execution and personal service,” said Matt VanDyke, director of global Lincoln. “This combination of elevated service, materials and execution will set Lincoln Black Label apart.”
Lincoln officials say that the new approach and materials are an attempt to win over new customers. “Our goal is to provide an ultimate sensory experience by creating luxurious environments with a variety of unique color themes that resonate with customers,” said Janet Seymour, Lincoln’s color and materials design manager. “We achieve this by using the most premium materials with meticulous attention to detail.”
In an obvious move to bolster its game, Lincoln appears to really be upping the ante. But why, after years of declining market share and brand power, is Ford making a big push with its luxury line now? It may be because the company’s chief rival, General Motors, is doing pretty much the same thing with its own luxury line, Cadillac. Both Lincoln and Cadillac saw their brands reduced to something usually associated with older individuals and saw little traction or excitement among the younger demographics.
So far, the recent push has paid off. Bloomberg reports that Lincoln sales have jumped 25% over the past month behind recent marketing efforts. Executives also expect to spend up to $2.5 billion to bring Lincoln to China, where Cadillac has been having some huge success. The question will be whether or not the Black Label service and product offerings will be able to give Lincoln the big push it really needs to reestablish its name in the minds of consumers.
With so many luxury options available on the market right now, what could Ford do to push more consumers to choose a Lincoln over, say, an Acura or Lexus? There is no clear answer, but the Black Label plan is likely a good start. And by deciding to take a different approach to sales — a part of the car buying process that most people despise — maybe Lincoln can find a niche and exploit it. The costs aren’t priced all that much more extravagantly, at about $5,300 more than a standard model, and for those who are already willing to shell out the big bucks for a luxury vehicle, that amount shouldn’t be a deal breaker.
There is a lot riding on the Black Label strategy for Lincoln’s brass, and its success or failure may play a big part in deciding the future of the brand. The question is whether Lincoln has already fallen too far behind and if it’ll be able to catch up. Black Label takes a different approach and could be the big play Ford needs to spark revitalization.
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