Ford has announced that it will buck the industry trend of charging a premium for hybrid variants by pricing its 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid sedan the same as its non-hybrid sibling.
At $35,180, including delivery charges, the 2011 Lincoln MKZ will be priced below its nearest competitor, the Lexus HS 250h. Lexus has not yet announced pricing for the 2011 HS 250h, but the current-year model is priced at $35,525, including shipping.
Ford says it wants to offer its customers the roominess and comfort of a mid-sized luxury sedan along with environmental benefits and improved fuel economy without the usual premium pricing. With an impressive fuel economy rating of 41 mpg in the city, The 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid gets six miles more to the gallon than the Lexus HS.
In a statement, Ford and Lincoln general manager of marketing John Felice said, “Lincoln is about delivering luxury standard. Whether it’s our new MKX with standard MyLincoln Touch technology or the no-cost choice of a gas or hybrid powertrain with the Lincoln MKZ, we want to give customers premium amenities with unexpected value.”
Unfortunately for buyers of the new MKZ Hybrid, the $7,500 federal tax credit for purchasing an alternative energy vehicle will not be offered. Although the so-called hybrid credit was designed to encourage the purchase of more fuel-efficient automobiles, it is only available for the first 60,000 hybrid sales by an automaker.
Ford has been so successful in the Hybrid market that it reached the 60,000 unit sales limit last year. Once the 60,000 hybrid sales threshold was reached, the federal tax credits began being phased out until they were no longer available to buyers beginning in March.
Ford reported a $424 million second quarter loss in 2009. The automaker is expected to report a $1.6 billion for the second quarter of this year. According to the Wall Street Journal, the dramatic turnaround has come, in part, through sales of more expensive models. Ford has also benefitted from the slowly improving U.S. economy that has helped drive total sales 21% higher compared with last year.
Finally, Ford has focused on consolidating its model lineup. Eighty percent of the automaker’s sales come from just 20% of the possible trim levels and options. By building more popular models and equipping them with in-demand options and features, Ford is able to move vehicles from its dealer lots more quickly which leads to higher sticker prices and a healthier bottom line.
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