Lincoln Launches MKC as Brand Gains Traction

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Lincoln's Jim Farley, says "sales are really growing and transaction prices are growing" for its MKZ. On Wednesday, Lincoln, which is part of Ford (F) , unveiled the second car in its revamped lineup with a sport utility crossover, the Lincoln MKC, which is slated to hit showrooms in early summer 2014 and have a starting price of $33,995.

Watch the interview here.

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Video Transcript:

Lincoln today unveiling what it's calling the second car in its Lincoln reinvention. Joining us today is Jim Farley, he heads up Lincoln. Jim thank you so much for joining us.

My pleasure.

So what's gonna draw customer to this new and MKC when they've already got you know the Audi Q5 and the Mercedes GLK, what's special about the new MKC?

A couple things, first of all it looks great. It also has a lot to unique first-ever features. Park Out you hit a button, extract itself from the parking space it has a wonderful fuel efficiency, probably is going to be the design most of all, and our customer treatment at the dealership. The design is pretty unique, a lot of the vehicles in a segment are kinda boxy, and we worked really hard to get the roof, the track width, different then our global C car platform exclusive. And we have a 4 cylinder 305-pound engine which is really fun to drive.

Now you got that you've got this new eco boost engine in the new MKC are we going to start seeing other design elements are features that you got in the MKC in future Lincoln product launches?

Absolutely there's a lot of features that are on this vehicle that you can expect from Lincoln, one is the embedded modem. This is the first Lincoln there were embedding a high-speed modem, we actually have an app that works on your smartphone where you can remotely start your vehicle actually program it to start a week in advance, locate the vehicle in case you can't remember where it is. Really mobile technology is coming not just electrified vehicles but to our main stream products at Lincoln and you can expect that more of that kind of technology in all of our Lincolns.

Now we've got the MKC hitting showrooms beginning of summer 2014. We'll have them rolling off the assembly plant. What did you learn from the launch of the MKZ that you'll do differently now with the launch of the MKC?

A couple big learnings for us, the first is, give more time to the team to prepare for the quality of the launch. When we launched the Z was just a few months after the fusion, and we wanted to give their Louisville team are more time to prepare for the craftsmanship and quality the customers really expect. That's one thing, a second thing is we really learned that to get customers to consider Lincoln for the first time on MKZ, we have to take some risk. We have to be a great value proposition. We priced the MKZ Hybrid the same as a gas. We're coming out with this product about five thousand dollars less than the German competitors, which is a big deal for people who have money. The other thing we've learned is to be really product focused than the advertising. We launched the Lincoln Motor Car Company which was great and interesting, but the thing we found them MKZs is that people want to know more about the product, so you can expect for advertising be very factual on and more about the product itself.

What are the things you read on car blogs that car enthusiasts wright you know they say the fusion and escape great products out there then you've got the MKZ in the MKC. Are you getting through to the consumer about the value proposition and what the Lincoln offers verses buying a Ford?

Well certainly the Ford lineup has never been better, so we have so much to say. But we really started seeing in the last several months attraction with Lincoln that we have we haven't seen before. Where our sales are really growing in our transaction prices are really growing far beyond Ford. MKZ now vs the old MKZ, the price went up about six thousand dollars are some people really buying and nicer MKZs now. We're also seeing a different demographic, about 15 percent in the MKZ customs and never bought a Lincoln before and what we learned is that we have to make the product really different so the claim shield or the 2.3 liter engine you can't find at Ford. All of those featured content see you can't buy at Ford, those are all important at making Lincoln just that much better.

Now you are producing the new and MKC in the Louisville plant have you been adding new jobs there, are you adding new ships to increase production and how many cars do you expect to kinda role of that assembly plant next summer into the end of the year

We have hired new people to build the MKC its really great story because we've had a lot of jobs the Louisville area. We have also put in an exclusive Lincoln validation center, where we inspect every Lincoln that comes off that

Line to the craftsmanship standards that we expect something that we only did after the MKZ launch, a big learning for us, and it's a great story because we are adding jobs. We haven't released our sales figures yet but I we expect this to be a high-volume products for us.

Jim it's no secret that, Microsoft is out there looking for new CEO potentially Alan Mulally one other contenders have you been approached about the new CEO job it opens up at Ford/?

Well we have a great team for that team works great together we have so much opportunity to grow the business

I'll all of us and for the whole leadership team at is really excited about future and as I don't know of any new news with Allen, but I'm really confident this leadership team that he's put together is absolutely world-class.

Jim, thank you so much for joining us we appreciate it.

Thank you, that was Jim Farley heads up Lincoln for Ford I'm Ruben Ramirez in new York, for TheStreet.

Written by Ruben Ramirez

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