We received word today that Lincoln will get a pair of new livery vehicles added to its fleet starting in 2012. Both cars will be based off the Lincoln MKT and will replace the soon-to-be defunct Lincoln Town Car, which recently got a model year extension for 2011, according to Ford Fleet.
The Lincoln MKT will be offered in a livery and a limousine model, according to Ford. The livery vehicle won’t have a third row. Instead, a redesigned second row will be stretched and repositioned for more legroom. There are no photos, but we imagine this MKT will be set up like the Concept, which had only two rows of seating, on the inside.
The other MKT option will feature a modified heavy-duty chassis, which a third-party limousine company could stretch up to 120 inches — or 10 feet — to make a genuine limousine.
According to Ford’s president, Lincoln has been the market leader in the livery and limousine business going on decades now. That’s not too surprising to us, considering that every garden-variety chauffeur drives a Town Car. Rarely do you see a Cadillac DTS or Chrysler 300 pulling into the airport.
Ford doesn’t want to lose its lock on this market, but with the Town Car due to die after 2011, the automaker faces the same dilemma it’s facing in the police pursuit market. It remains to be seen if Ford’s “One Ford Mission,” which has streamlined the automaker’s lineup, will be suitable for its commercial fleet customers. Some police forces are skeptical of the V-6 only, front-wheel/all-wheel drive, unibody nature of the new Taurus and Explorer police cars. The same criticism could come from livery groups about the MKT.
As far as riders are concerned, the MKT should be a more sumptuous and high-tech place to dwell than the ancient Town Car. Lincoln could even persuade a few of these passengers to buy an MKT or the MKS, which aren’t exactly lighting up the sales charts right now.