Lincoln's MKC trickles into showrooms

Lincoln is ramping up production of the MKC at its Louisville, Ky., plant, and some units are being shipped to dealers.
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SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- The 2015 MKC, Lincoln’s entry in the fast-growing compact luxury crossover segment, appeared on the sales charts for the first time in May with 677 units sold.

Many of the units are dealer demonstrators and test models.

Though Lincoln is running a social media campaign to promote its newest vehicle, the big advertising push will come in September, according to Andrew Frick, Lincoln group marketing manager.

“We have a media plan that mirrors the launch curve,” Frick said at a media event here.

Lincoln is ramping up production of the MKC at its Louisville, Ky., plant, and some units are being shipped to dealers.

Lincoln is eager to avoid the mistakes it made with the launch of the 2013 MKZ, when quality glitches and parts shortages forced delays of several months. Lincoln advertised the car during the 2013 Super Bowl, several months before dealers received significant numbers of MKZ units.

“We were early on the MKZ,” Frick said, referring to the ad campaign.

Lincoln is promoting the MKC via a social media campaign called MKC Dream Rides. Such prelaunch social media campaigns have become common at Ford and Lincoln.

Lincoln has received about 70,000 hits a day on its Web site. It is promoting the campaign through social media sites such as Facebook.

The MKC is the first vehicle to get Ford’s 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine. The base engine is a 2.0-liter EcoBoost. There is no hybrid version.

Lincoln sold 8,845 units in the United States in May, up 21 percent year over year.

IHS Automotive forecasts the MKC will total U.S. sales of between 26,000 and 28,000 per year. In 2013, the segment-leading Acura RDX sold 44,750 units.

The MKC will join a rush of competitors. IHS numbers show the luxury compact crossover segment had seven nameplates in 2009 and nine in 2013. IHS forecasts that by 2018, the segment will have as many as 20 nameplates.

You can reach Bradford Wernle at bwernle@crain.com.


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