Ford Motor Co.'s Lincoln luxury brand has shipped 11,000 new MKZs to dealers since the midsize sedan began rolling out at the end of December, and Lincoln anticipates selling more than 4,000 of the cars in April when it releases sales figures on Wednesday.
In a conference call with reporters on Tuesday afternoon, Jim Farley, Ford's executive vice president of global marketing, sales, service and Lincoln, said dealers are fully stocked with the MKZ after waiting about four months because of delays caused by quality issues at the automaker's plant in Hermosillo, Mexico.
"Although we're encouraged, we're far from victory," Farley said.
Farley said early sales indicators point toward big gains in important markets like California, where market share jumped nearly 10 percentage points to 14.5 percent, according to Edmunds.com.
"Obviously this early data is telling us the MKZ is really driving our growth," he said. "It's not just important in how the business is growing, but where it's growing."
Ford expects to make waves in the New York and Miami regions, too, though the new MKZ did not spark any market share gains in those areas, Ford said.
Matt Van ****, Lincoln's director of global marketing, sales and service, said Tuesday the brand has altered some of its marketing strategies — which earlier this year included a heavy television presence on networks like CNBC — to better align with currently supply. The strategies highlight some of Lincoln's new dealer features, such as "Date Night," in which potential customers can take a vehicle for the weekend and have dinner on Lincoln. The brand also offers a customer concierge service.
Lincoln said it also expects to connect with consumers through dealer ads, which did not start until particular dealers received their new MKZ cars.