A second chance at life?
Almost exactly 10 years ago, Lincoln unveiled what was and still is one of its most polarizing models, the three-row MKT SUV crossover/wagon. It is Lincoln’s version of the also oddly-designed Ford Flex. Instead of the Flex’s boxy design, Lincoln did everything it could to round off the edges and create a design that looked almost nothing like its Ford cousin. It succeeded but not everyone was a fan (it’s not like the Flex had legions of fans either).
For better or worse, the MKT never became a hit and Lincoln began to shift focus to its smaller crossover lineup. Today, Lincoln not only offers hot-selling compact and mid-size crossovers, but the Navigator has been completely redesigned and the all-new Aviator is just going on sale. So wouldn’t it make sense to discontinue the MKT?
In theory, yes, but as points out, the MKT’s first quarter sales for this year paint a different picture. In the US, Lincoln MKT sales increased by a shocking 143 percent compared to the first quarter of 2018. That’s not a typo. A total of 1,242 units were sold compared to just 512 the year prior.
Also interesting to point out is that the MKT accounted for just 2 percent of its segment share, which includes the likes of the Infiniti QX60, Buick Enclave, and Acura MDX (all three of which also experienced sales increases compared to this time last year). So, what’s the MKT’s secret to success? The livery market.
Because the Lincoln Town Car, perhaps the most popular limousine on the market, is long out of production, something will have to take its place once replacements are required. Ford realized the MKT was the ideal vehicle for that mission and therefore has begun to refocus marketing efforts to livery companies. They’ve apparently been responding in kind. However, the MKT’s future now apparently depends entirely on these customers.
Fortunately for Ford, there are few other competitors out there at the moment. The decade-old Lincoln MKT, weird looks and all, lives on.