- Lincoln has relaunched its successful "Date Night" program.
- Potential buyers may test drive a 2014 Lincoln MKZ or 2014 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid for up to 48 hours and receive a $100 Visa gift card for dinner out.
- Nine percent of the car shoppers who participate in "Date Night" buy a Lincoln.
DEARBORN, Michigan — Lincoln has relaunched its successful "Date Night" program, which lets potential buyers test drive a 2014 MKZ or 2014 MKZ Hybrid for up to 48 hours and receive a $100 Visa gift card and a reservation to dine at an area Zagat-rated restaurant.
The 2015 Lincoln MKC, a small luxury crossover, will be added to the mix midsummer.
The extended program allows drivers to see how the cars fit into their lifestyle.
Lincoln originally introduced the program in 2013 to showcase the luxury brand's reinvention, differentiate itself from its competitors and to make the car-buying experience more personal, said Lisa Teed, Lincoln consumer experience manager, in an Edmunds interview.
Another key motive was to answer the question, "What would drive conquests (a non-Ford or non-Lincoln buyer in the past 14 years) to want to spend time or to go to a Lincoln dealership?" Teed said.
The program's 2013 success is undeniable, said Teed, with more than 1,000 "Date Nights" scheduled. About 67 percent of all program participants were new to Lincoln, and 73 percent reported they would refer Lincoln to friends and colleagues as a result of their test drive.
Lincoln employees survey the guest to find out their opinions of the brand before and after the test drive, Teed said.
"At the conclusion of the date, we are seeing a 10-point lift in favorable opinion, which is a great accomplishment for the brand," she said.
But nothing speaks louder than sales.
"Nine percent of the people who participate buy a Lincoln," she said. "If you follow the industry, you know that's high."
Edmunds says: A little trust, a pleasant experience and a steak dinner just might be the best sales pitch.