As the Ford Motor Company grows Lincoln into a true luxury brand worthy of such a moniker, the marque has announced the Lincoln Black Label collection before the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in August. According to Lincoln, Black Label is “another important element to grow and highlight the brand” that’s a “combination of sumptuous product with a warm and personal experience that can transcend the expectations of the most discriminating luxury buyer.” In other words, Black Label is a way for Lincoln to upgrade its three core pillars of design, quality, and personal service.
One might say that that’s great and all, but ask what Black Label actually delivers to the customer. On a tangible level, the effort results in the creation of exclusive interior environments that are matched with unique exterior colors.
“Each interior theme draws out the fine craftsmanship, innovative trim details and designer finishes, complemented by premium selection of materials”, reads a Lincoln press release.
More specifically, key interior touchpoints receive special attention, including:
- The instrument panel, doors, and console — which are wrapped and stitched in the highest-grade premium leather
- Armrests and seats are trimmed in specialty Venetian leather created exclusively for Lincoln Black Label. Impressively, less than 1 percent of raw hides worldwide meet the requirements for becoming Venetian leather, which is “known for its lightly finished, supple and fine-grained texture that reveals the hides’ natural characteristics, but with the feel of premium furniture leather”
- Headliner, pillars, and package — which are wrapped in Alcantara suede, with seats, trunk, and floor mat details accented with the material
- Premium and designer woods are sought out from around the world to provide the best in richness of color, grain, and pattern
Designers also incorporated unique elements throughout Lincoln Black Label vehicles. For instance, jewel-like accents called “Satin Star” plating adorn the seat on head restraints and side shields, and multi-finish premium paint and chrome complements the wheel design. Brand accents include Diamond-L and Linking-L perforation patterns uniquely designed for the climate-controlled seats, with the same attention to detail given to tightly-controlled stitch seams and thread color coordination.
Designers responsible for the Lincoln Black Label Collection started out with over a dozen concepts before narrowing their efforts down to three themes: Center Stage, Indulgence and Modern Heritage.
- Center Stage is inspired by fashion and theater and designed for the most expressive clients. The Jet Black interior is highlighted by a Foxfire Red headliner, capturing the drama of being in a dark theater with the impact of a rich, deep red accent color. Alcantara suede with uniquely designed perforation adds plush texture to the doors and seats.
- Indulgence is inspired by the lure of premium chocolate to ignite a rich sensory experience. Ganache- and Truffle-colored Venetian leather with a subtle antiqued finish adds richness and depth. The Ziricote wood trim features a beautiful natural grain and color inherent in the wood with no added dyes or stains. This wood, while new to the automotive industry, is often seen in high-end yachts.
- Modern Heritage offers a fresh take on the classic black-and-white interior with subtle red accents. Designed for the client who appreciates a clean, modern aesthetic, the soft white interior is warm and inviting. Renewed and engineered wood trim – imbued with metal flake between its layers – creates a sparkling effect to stylishly highlight this modern classic design.
In the end, head of Color and Material Design Susan Lampinen explained the concept behind Lincoln Black Label best by saying:
“The idea behind Black Label was to create a collection of designer themes that are similar to what might be found in a high-end art gallery – inspired by lifestyles and experiences – to showcase Lincoln in its best light.”
The Motrolix Take
It’s great to see Lincoln administer such a high level of detail and materials in its vehicles. In that regard, Black Label — if and/or when introduced on real production Lincolns — will likely make the brand’s cars more desirable to some luxury buyers.
But imagine a scenario where the entire Lincoln lineup was made up of luxury cars that had a major level of engineering differentiation from their Ford counterparts (think Audi and Cadillac to VW and Chevrolet, respectively). That kind of combination would likely prove much more effective in re-establishing Lincoln as a force in the luxury automotive space on a global level. Until then, Linc will continue dabbling in the luxury area, and its sales will probably continue to struggle.