As Ford Motor Co. introduces premium features and more expensive trim levels in its mainstream vehicles, Lincoln is taking a novel path to differentiate itself.
The luxury brand is focusing on exclusive service-based experiences, which it designs before crafting its new vehicles.
Getting those experiences right is critical to setting Lincoln apart at a time when the Lincoln and Ford brands overlap on price. High-end Platinum and Titanium Ford trims are even more expensive than base Lincolns. A Platinum Fusion, for example, starts around $36,000, while a base MKZ, which uses the Fusion platform, starts around $35,000.
To be sure, customers can get a host of Lincoln-exclusive luxury amenities not offered in the most fully loaded Fusions, Escapes and Expeditions. They include massaging seats in the Continental, a special 400-hp, 3-liter V-6 engine in the MKZ, an exclusive head-up display in the newly revealed 2018 Navigator, and unique push-button shifters throughout the lineup.
But the main selling point for choosing a Lincoln over a Ford -- or other luxury brands -- comes from the service-focused experiences meant to make customers' lives easier. Last year, Lincoln said it became the first in the industry to offer pickup and delivery on every model when it's being serviced. The brand has had more than 15,000 pickups and deliveries so far.
It is piloting at-home test drives in Dallas and Houston. And last week, in a handful of markets, it launched a Lincoln Chauffeur pilot program that lets customers use a smartphone app to call for a personal chauffeur to drive them around in their own car. The driver will also run errands, such as getting gasoline or groceries or picking up kids.