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BBC Autos

The Roundabout Blog

With its Black Label Collection, Lincoln gets personal

About the author

Editor of BBC Autos, Matthew is a former editor at Automobile Magazine and the creator of the digital-only Roadtrip Magazine. His automotive and travel writing has appeared in such magazines as Wired, Popular Science, The Robb Report and Caribbean Travel + Life. He lives in Los Angeles with his wonderful wife and four-year-old daughter.

 

  • Lincoln Black Label Collection
    MKC Concept. (Ford Motor)
  • Lincoln Black Label Collection
    Center Stage theme. (Ford Motor)
  • Lincoln Black Label Collection
    Center Stage theme. (Ford Motor)
  • Lincoln Black Label Collection
    Center Stage theme. (Ford Motor)
  • Lincoln Black Label Collection
    Center Stage theme. (Ford Motor)
  • Lincoln Black Label Collection
    Center Stage theme. (Ford Motor)
  • Lincoln Black Label Collection
    Center Stage theme. (Ford Motor)
  • Lincoln Black Label Collection
    Indulgence theme. (Ford Motor)
  • Lincoln Black Label Collection
    Indulgence theme. (Ford Motor)
  • Lincoln Black Label Collection
    Indulgence theme. (Ford Motor)
  • Lincoln Black Label Collection
    Indulgence theme. (Ford Motor)
  • Lincoln Black Label Collection
    Indulgence theme. (Ford Motor)
  • Lincoln Black Label Collection
    Indulgence theme. (Ford Motor)
  • Lincoln Black Label Collection
    Indulgence theme. (Ford Motor)
  • Lincoln Black Label Collection
    Modern Heritage theme. (Ford Motor)
  • Lincoln Black Label Collection
    Modern Heritage theme. (Ford Motor)
  • Lincoln Black Label Collection
    Modern Heritage theme. (Ford Motor)
  • Lincoln Black Label Collection
    Modern Heritage theme. (Ford Motor)

HIDE CAPTION

When an automaker steps into the limelight during the high-profile automotive festivities on California’s Monterey peninsula, greatness is expected.

A fabulous concept car, a highly anticipated production model or a parade of gleaming heritage cars are typical Monterey habitues; Cadillac used this stage to roll out its dazzling Elmiraj coupe concept. Ford’s embattled Lincoln marque chose a subtler approach, revealing plans for a vehicle personalisation programme modelled on those from Audi (Exclusive), BMW (Individual) and Mercedes-Benz (Designo).

Lincoln’s Black Label collection allows buyers to enhance the style and material quality of their cars, along one of three themes: fashion- and theatre-inspired Center Stage, chocolate-inspired (yes, as in the confection) Indulgence and neo-classical Modern Heritage. Each theme offers a range of exclusive, and occasionally dramatic, colours, as well as upgraded materials – finer hides, supple Alcantara and natural wood.

The company appears to have faith in the essential appeal of its new MKZ sedan, as the four-door will be the first recipient of the Black Label treatment, late in 2014. The rest of the range – including MKS, MKT, MKX and Navigator – will eventually offer Black Label upgrades, promise Lincoln representatives, though exactly when remains a question mark.

In addition to a sharp Black Label MKZ sedan, Lincoln used its Pebble Beach rendezvous to show off a Black Label version of the MKC crossover concept, a well-received glimpse of the brand’s design direction that bowed in January at the Detroit auto show.

Beyond material matters, Black Label also promises buyers a heighted level of dealer service, both at point of purchase and beyond. Details on such concierge treatments are slight for now, but the mind reels at the possibilities. Coffee bar? Shoulder massage? Theatre tickets?

The luxury brand’s woes, including a quality-related production delay for the MKZ sedan earlier this year, have been widely (indeed, exhaustively) covered by auto-industry pundits. There is little question that Lincoln needs a hit, and while this personalisation programme is hardly the comprehensive, product-led makeover the venerable brand needs to go bumper-to-bumper with archrival Cadillac, it may be sufficient to entice fresh shoppers into Lincoln showrooms. And that, for now, will be a win.

Each theme offers a range of exclusive, and occasionally dramatic, colours, as well as upgraded materials – finer hides, supple Alcantara and natural wood.