2015 Lincoln MKC at Chicago: Good, but Lincoln Needs to Do More

2014 Lincoln MKC Chicago Auto Show

Lincoln announced their new-for-2015 Lincoln MKC crossover at this year’s Detroit Auto Show back in January. I was there with my fellow Gas 2 people Chris DeMorro and Nick Brown, and we all missed it. Every one of us walked by it, and none of us recognized it as a new model, despite the big lazy suzan underneath it and the shiny chrome “Ecoboost” badges on the MKC’s backside. Lincoln, clearly, has a problem … but it’s not the problem you might think.

The fact that this new Ecoboost SUV didn’t catch our eye is probably a good thing. In a show packed with hot new cars, the MKC (unlike its sore-thumb brother, the Navigator) fit in perfectly. The styling, too, is dead-nuts on, and the 2015 Lincoln MKC is every bit as good-looking in person as, say, the 2015 Porsche Macan. Maybe better than the Porsche, if you prefer Ford’s Edge look to Porsche’s “angry jellybean”. Even the interior …

Lincoln MKC interior

… is a modern-looking piece. Light, airy, and roomy-looking in person- even if my own pictures from the show floor didn’t come out right.

No, Lincoln’s problem isn’t in its product line. Lincoln has a great product line these days, full of both green and go-fast options. The problem, instead, is Lincoln’s attitude.

Last summer, I reached out to Lincoln to pitch a SEMA build to Lincoln through Switzer Performance. The guys at Switzer are big fans of the Ecoboost, as are we, and we wanted to do a seriously high HP Lincoln sedan and, as I gracefully explained to Ford’s Scott Monty, “drive it right up AMG’s ass.” We had a legit engine-builder lined up, a few handshake-deal sponsors, and had the hardware to convert the big, bad Lincoln to flex-fuel for a green angle in place before reaching out. It would have been a huge media hit for Lincoln, we all thought.

No response from Lincoln. Mr. Monty explained that Lincoln “didn’t really do SEMA” anymore.

At the Chicago Auto Show, I tried to ask questions about the upcoming 2015 Lincoln MKC. Nothing fancy, just stuff like: When would it be available? Who could I speak to to arrange a test drive? Was Lincoln planning a hybrid version?

Not only did the fashionable and trendy models at the Lincoln booth not know the answers to the above questions- they told me, on a press day, that there was no one at the show “from Lincoln” for me to talk to.

One of the biggest auto shows in the world. A new product that you could line up next to similar models from Porsche or BMW and look credible with. A prime show location and big-budget display. A storied legacy with tons of gear head cred. Lincoln had all of those things going for it at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show, and didn’t even bother showing up.

That’s too bad. Too bad for Lincoln, and too bad for us- that MKC really is a good-looking little car, and it might have had a chance to do something positive for Lincoln in the marketplace, if only the people who made it were willing to pound their own chests a teeny, tiny bit. That’s just my take on it, though- what’s yours?

 

Original content from Gas 2, interior photo courtesy Lincoln Motor Co.

 

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.