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Lincoln Considers Borrowing From MINI’s Customization Playbook

 

January 15, 2013 - Detroit, MI. Lincoln MKC Concept at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show. Photo by Joe Nuxoll.

January 15, 2013 - Detroit, MI. Lincoln MKC Concept at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show. Photo by Joe Nuxoll.

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Part of MINI’s success in the United States is due to the fact that the brand doesn’t market its cars to consumers as much as it markets the MINI lifestyle. In that regard, a MINI Cooper (or one of its many variants) is as much a fashion accessory as it is a mode of transportation.

Buy a MINI, and you can order it with a degree of personalization not often found below the ultra-luxury, bespoke level. In addition to the 14 exterior paint colors and 15 interior hues, there are six trim options, stripe packages, contrasting roof options, wheel options and even special editions to consider upon purchase.

While so many possible configurations may make finding the exact MINI you want on the used market difficult, it does strengthen the bond between the brand and the consumer that orders a personalized example.

Luxury brand Lincoln wants desperately to achieve the same thing, and Automotive News (subscription required) reports that Lincoln is considering adopting a similar “have it your way” approach.

Jim Farley, Lincoln’s executive vice president, calls the idea “mass customization,” and likens it to what Scion did during his time with the brand. While Lincoln probably won’t serve up as many choices as MINI, Farley says it’s considering “not just a light or a doorsill but something more fundamental.”

Don’t expect to see such personalization appear on the 2014 Lincoln MKZ, since the impact on sales, assembly and distribution will likely be substantial. In Farley’s words, the brand needs to “carefully study” the issue over the next couple of years.

That makes the recently-shown MKC luxury crossover a prime candidate to roll out such a program, since customization could better allow the MKC to take on the Range Rover Evoque and the Audi Q3.

What’s your take? Would you be willing to pay more money for a car built to your own preferences, even if it meant waiting a few months for delivery? Would having such an option help steer you to a brand like Lincoln?


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