The deaths of the Ford Crown Victoria and the Lincoln Town Car have meant overhauls of three high-profile American fleets: police, taxi and livery car. Just as police fleets are more open to considering other options and a Nissan van is the new face of the NYC taxi, livery car companies are looking at replacements for the Town Car beyond The Blue Oval. Ford, via Lincoln, has made an MKT Town Car (pictured), but an article in the Detroit News claims "it has failed to win over most of the big limousine companies." The upstarts trying to move in include livery and limo editions of the Cadillac XTS, and livery specifications of the Toyota Avalon and Chrysler 300.

Each of those challengers, however, faces challenges. The Town Car was a workhorse, American, rear-wheel-drive sedan with plenty of rear legroom. Cadillac has been in the livery space before but with decontented models that were about selling the brand, not its luxury. It is taking the opposite approach with the XTS, pointing out that its livery edition is "contented in the upper half of the XTS range." Still, the CEO of Michigan's largest livery company says "it's quite a bit smaller than what we're used to," and he also prefers rear-wheel drive.

The Chrysler 300 is rear-wheel drive, and American, which matters to some companies, but Chrysler hasn't yet revealed the livery package for it. The livery Avalon marks Toyota's first time getting into that business in the US, a natural step after having done so well with taxi clients and with the Town Car out of the way. Still, the livery client is a different to taxi buyers, so the Avalon could face other soft-touch hurdles.

Don't expect to see any of them flooding the streets immediately. The US fleet of the world's largest livery firm remains 85 percent Town Car, and companies are still finishing their research into what drivers and passengers want. But a brave new black car world beckons, and it look like it won't include nearly as many Lincolns as it used to.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 94 Comments
      jupiterzone
      • 2 Years Ago
      This is only one of Ford's big mistakes: killing off the Lincoln TC... The TC had a reputation for being "bulletproof"...so to speak...which is why livery companies and mechanics alike loved them so. They were easy to work on, and strong to begin with. RIP...
        foosielucy
        • 1 Year Ago
        @jupiterzone
        WE TWO OLD FOLKS PURCHASED A RED TOWN CAR 2008 IN 2011 WITH 34,000 MILES ON IT. A BIT OF A PROBLEM WITH THE USED CAR LOT AND THEY AND LINCOLN FIXED IT AFTER SEVERAL PHONE CALLS ABOUT THE ABUSE OF THE ELDERLY (THEY THOUGHT)..... PAINTED THE GARAGE TO MATCH - DON'T DRIVE MUCH BUT COMFORTABLE WHEN WE DO AND WILL TRY TO MAINTAIN THIS CAR WE GOT AT HALF PRICE FOR AS LONG AS POSSIBLE. I GOT THE PASSENGER LUMBAR SUPPORT AND MOVEMENT SEAT I NEEDED AND DIDN'T HAVE TO PAY FOR ALL THE GADGETS WE DON'T NEED OR USE...HERE'S HOPING.
        to your email L
        • 2 Years Ago
        @jupiterzone
        BOF construction is too heavy and too ancient. Yeah easy to fix supposedly but so was the Checker. Please they have MBZ livery and RR livery and probably even Toyota Crowns doing livery duty in their home countries.
      Cruising
      • 2 Years Ago
      What’s sad is Ford was already in talks in much of the 2000s for a replacement global RWD platform for the Panther however they canceled those plans around 2009. They could have easily been riding the Panthers coattails by now if they just stuck with the program, who knows it could have lasted another 30 + years like the Panther even if it was just fleet only. I mean look how loyal fleet customers can be like the CEO in the article above, I don't think he would have issue slowly introducing a comparable but more efficient RWD product from the same manufacture.
      Dean
      • 2 Years Ago
      While the MKT is far from pretty, or being accepted as the industry workhorse that the Town Car was, I've seen acceptance of these in my area (Northern VIrginia/DC area) - not too many yet, but they're slowly getting out there, as the fleets seem to have stockpiled Town Cars at least for the near future. The MKT does seem like the most practical (before you people ding me, I said it seems to be the most practical, NOT the best) option. It is larger than any of its competitors, easier to get in to, easier to load. It however lacks the road presence and elegance of the Town Car, and DTS, though. The MKT does not have the cache that the luxury brands may bring (Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz), but at half the price of the European offerings, it makes more financial sense. It'll be interesting to watch how the market changes.
      Matthew Dawson
      • 2 Years Ago
      This'll probably go down in the books as one of the biggest mistakes Ford has ever made. They pretty much had the livery market tied up and ended up giving it away for nothing at all. They could have had a guaranteed market for a couple more decades if they'd invested in a substantial revision or new generation of the Town Car, but for some reason I can't fathom, they didn't. I know livery car work isn't exactly glamorous, but that doesn't mean it is something to be ashamed of either. Lincoln really could have used a new, exciting Town Car as the jumping-off point for a turnaround.
        That Guy
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Matthew Dawson
        Sadly, the Panther cars (as well as the Ranger) did not fall into Ford's business model of "planned obslecense", so they had to go. Frankly, they were just too damn reliable and durable for the so-called "new" Ford.
          merlot066
          • 2 Years Ago
          @That Guy
          Ipp, you might need to tone down your driving a bit. My first car was a 96 Mustang with 120,000 miles on it and I couldn't kill it no matter how hard I tried. Jumped a curb once when my windshield froze over and I blew a tire out and snapped a control arm, axle was fine. Friend has a 2001 LS with 170,000 miles on it, flog the hell out of it on a regular basis and the engine and suspension are in perfect working order. Seriously mystified as to how you break 6 axles on a Mustang and destroy a Zephyr in 3 months.
          BB79826
          • 2 Years Ago
          @That Guy
          "The new Fords will last." You're basing this on...what, exactly? You fanboys, I swear. Ford's flippant attitude towards the livery market is going to REALLY hurt them in the long-run.
          • 2 Years Ago
          @That Guy
          [blocked]
      Mazdaspeed6
      • 2 Years Ago
      Why would a Michigan Livery company want RWD as opposed to AWD/FWD, especially considering all the snow that hit us over the past week and the time it takes certain counties to clear the roads.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Mazdaspeed6
        [blocked]
      Mike
      • 2 Years Ago
      So Lincoln get moving on an attractive RWD sedan ASAP!
      Mason
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm surprised that Ford didn't use the Flex over the MKT, it looks way better and has the same legroom. Sure, it's not a "luxury" brand like Lincoln or Cadillac, but the higher trim levels are way more than good enough for what's basically a glorified taxi.
      NY EVO X MR GUY
      • 2 Years Ago
      In Europe, A8Ls, Jaguar XJLs and the BMW 730ILD reign supreme. They have awesome chauffeur programs that include full maintenance and awesome warranty as well. The Lincoln market is a workhorse. But once you start seeing the cars I mentioned above get into the town car segment, they do very well. 300 LWB AWD would be awesome. I cannot see any other replacement. Acura? Nope. GM? Only the Yukon and Escalade dominate the SUV livery/black car market. Hyundai? Equus is possible. Ford/Lincoln? Nah.
      Britt Benston
      • 2 Years Ago
      If they did a sedan version of the MKT it would be tall like a Rolls Phantom and awful. But it might sell as a limo an awful lot more.
        That Guy
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Britt Benston
        They have a sedan version, it's called the MK.....umm......well, the Lincoln rebadge of the Taurus. Oh yeah, it's called the MKS. And IT looks like a mid-90s Mitsubishi Diamante. Every Lincoln is a sad excuse for the near-luxury cars that they are.
          merlot066
          • 2 Years Ago
          @That Guy
          I realize that remembering 5 letters is very difficult considering you still don't know the alphabet. If you read the article you'd have seen that the rebadged Impala.... srx, xlr, no no... XTS, isn't doing so hot either.
          BB79826
          • 2 Years Ago
          @That Guy
          An E-class. An E-class! Each comment makes me laugh more, dude, keep it up.
          lordedardstark1
          • 2 Years Ago
          @That Guy
          Is that from experience, have you driven in one? My dad has one(09, every feature), and I can assure you it is a luxury car. I believe it is actually equal to the E class in terms of comfort, features and interior style. Do some test driving before you make an inference.
      Randy
      • 2 Years Ago
      Corrections: The 300 is not American anymore. It is Italian. Also, the Avalon as a limo is about as exciting as a Honda Accord limo.
        MAX
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Randy
        Since FIAT is being run from Auburn Hills and John Elkann is American, FIAT is de facto American.
        SatinSheetMetal
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Randy
        Makes about as much sense as saying, "Once Obama took office I became an African American."
      Winnie Jenkems
      • 2 Years Ago
      F**king idiots at Lincoln. After killing their quintessential black car, they seriously expected the livery market to embrace that ugly FWD baleen whale crossover thing? They really think THAT is what celebrities and executives want to be seen stepping out of? Fools. And they wonder why the livery customers aren't buying. Don't even get me started on how the NYC yellow cab of the future is a Nissan... A FREAKING NISSAN! At least around here, limo companies are replacing their aging Town Cars with black 300s. The ONLY full-size RWD American luxury CAR left. (Looks quite nice too.) With a LWB model, Chrysler could be poised to corner the black car market. The XTS is not quite big enough, too expensive, and FWD, and Cadillac's true flagship is still years away. Lincoln doesn't offer a competitive car in the segment, and there are no indications it plans to do so. This has been said on here ad-nauseum, but it's worth repeating: IF Lincoln is really serious about recapturing the livery market and competing as a luxury automaker, they MUST start with a full-size, long wheelbase luxury CAR on a proper RWD platform. Anything less just isn't going to cut it.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Winnie Jenkems
        [blocked]
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        Greg
        • 2 Years Ago
        I'm surprised it was approved as the official taxi of NYC. Couldn't they have chosen the Altima instead?
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