Lincoln plans luxury versions of its MKT next year to replace the rear-drive Town Car, the brand's outgoing workhorse for executive cars and stretch limos. But will chauffeur-driven swells embrace a crossover or force livery operators to choose other brands?
One version of the MKT Town Car that will be offered to coach builders will use a standard MKT chassis and will be available in front-drive or all-wheel drive. The limo package will provide an upgraded MKT chassis, transmission and suspension with standard awd. The coach builder can stretch the wheelbase up to 10 feet.
The immediate response from the livery industry, which saw a prototype Feb. 14 at a Las Vegas trade show, was tepid. Said George Jacobs, CEO of Windy City Limousines in Chicago: "What I heard from most people is that they're dissatisfied. ... People are used to what they consider a luxury vehicle for their clients, and this has got a bit of a van styling to it."
Rick Kane, CEO of International Limousine Service Inc. in Washington, said he would consider the MKT Town Car but also will look at Mercedes and Toyota vehicles. "The change is so dramatic," he said, that Ford executives "may have put themselves in a position where they are opening the door for others to come in and take market share."
We'll find out in September, when the Town Car is scheduled to disappear.