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Lincoln MKT Won’t Die, Will Live on as Livery Exclusive

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2017 Lincoln MKT exterior

The Lincoln MKT will live on to fulfill the brand’s fleet needs

It’s been an open secret for some time now that the Lincoln MKT is pretty much donezo. While Lincoln hasn’t formally announced the discontinuation of the MKT, its ostensible successor — the three-row Aviator — is looming on the horizon like a scythe over so much wheat. And though the Aviator will largely take the MKT off the market for retail customers, Automotive News reports that it will live on as a livery vehicle.

Robert Parker, Lincoln’s marketing manager, told Automotive News in September that the luxury brand has set no date for the termination of MKT production because it will remain an available option for fleet buyers who wish to convert the SUV for purposes like hearses or hotel transport.

“MKT can fill that role profitably for the company and will for the time being,” Parker said. “We don’t think it negatively impacts the brand.”

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Parker likened the MKT’s reduced presence to that of a long snapper in football, saying, “Nobody knows their name, or cares, but if he screws up a snap, it’s a bad day.” He also noted that the MKT would help prevent Lincoln from having to offer the Aviator at a discount for fleet purposes, allowing the brand to focus more on higher-end trims like the Aviator Black Label.

The Aviator is all but officially slotted to take over for the MKT at retail already, having replaced the MKT on the “Vehicles” tab at Lincoln’s media site. It will also prove to be the last vehicle produced to wear Lincoln’s previous split-wing grille, as the all-new Nautilus and Aviator will provide the entire Lincoln lineup with its new signature grille design.

Lincoln is not likely to lose much in the adjustment process while the Aviator gets up and running: Through September, only 1,784 MKTs have been sold in the United States, which is less than the total number of MKX SUVs sold in September alone.

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News Source: Automotive News (subscription required)