The program was first offered last summer on some 2010-model-year vehicles, Lincoln says, but it's now become a permanent offering for all 2011 models.
Many luxury brands—including Cadillac, BMW, Jaguar, Volvo, and Land Rover—have now added free maintenance, but Lexus remains one of the holdouts. Curiously, Lexus's Toyota and Scion counterparts—perhaps more in need of an image boost—has added complimentary maintenance for two years, but it costs extra money on a Lexus.
Analysts have in the past placed the actual value of the perk at just a few hundred dollars, but it's probably a smart choice for Ford Motor Co. [NYSE: F] as it helps build brand loyalty. Customers also are more likely to use the dealership, rather than an independent mechanic, for follow-up visits.
The Lincoln program is fully transferable to a second owner and covers oil and filter changes, tire rotations and multi-point inspections—up to eight service visits, in all.
Ford is building Lincoln into a full-line luxury brand, blending an American styling statement with world-class tech and connectivity features—steering it away from being seen as building more lavish versions of Ford vehicles to, instead, vehicles capable of taking on top luxury brands from Europe and Asia.
Lincoln dealerships are currently being asked to upgrade their showrooms, with a new look and layout on par with those of Lexus, Audi, or Mercedes-Benz, and while Lincoln had been combined with some brands in the past, moving forward it will only have standalone franchises.
The current Lincoln lineup includes the MKS and MKZ sedans, MKT crossover wagon, and MKX mid-size crossover, but the brand is developing a smaller 'C-segment' (sized like the Focus or C-Max) model that's expected to be on sale sometime in calendar-year 2012.