DETROIT -- Lincoln is hoping to pick up business for its slow-selling MKT crossover from what would be viewed as unconventional markets.
Back in October, Lincoln announced that two modified MKT platforms were being developed for the livery market, replacements for the base and stretched Town Car. The livery business workhorse will be discontinued in August 2011.
Next is the funeral business, with an MKT-based hearse. The hearse in this photo was spotted this afternoon in the Detroit area.
As can be seen in the photo, the MKT's wheelbase has been considerably stretched. The rear passenger door is much longer than the door on the regular MKT.
The roof is padded and has been raised nearly a foot. The rear-end styling was reworked considerably to accommodate a wide door that is hinged on the left side to handle a range of caskets. The MKT taillight theme has been adopted from the consumer model.
A Lincoln spokesman said the automaker does not plan to be in the hearse-making business. An unnamed hearse maker produced the vehicle in the photo.
“This is obviously a prototype from one of the livery upfitters,” said Lincoln spokesman Christian Bokich. The automaker will offer “conversion-ready kits for hearses. We will work with select suppliers to quality test.”
Ford Motor Co. announced in October that two new livery vehicles based on the MKT would be offered beginning in early 2012 -- a standard livery vehicle with stretched second-row seating and a modified heavy-duty chassis version for limousine modification.
The livery version is available in both front and all-wheel-drive configurations. The heavy-duty limousine chassis will feature standard awd for stretched limousine construction up to an additional 120 inches – 10 feet – of wheelbase.
After Town Car production ends, "the MKT or a vehicle based on the MKT, we have not finalized the name yet, will be the new livery, full service solution,” Bokich said.
MKT sales have been disappointing since the vehicle's introduction in 2009. Through November, Lincoln sold 6,797 of the vehicles.