By Andrew Ganz
Monday, Feb 11th, 2013 @ 8:45 am
 
If you're one of the 1,000 customers who has placed an order for a 2013 Lincoln MKZ, the luxury division of Ford Motor Company will buy you dinner to apologize for the delay.

Lincoln's marketing, sales and service director, Matt VanDyke, told Automotive News that the division is "thanking [order placers] for their patience by giving them a date night: A $100 gift certificate for dinner on us."

That's in addition to the money Lincoln has already allocated to reimburse dealers for either putting order placers in rental cars or extending their existing leases while they wait for their MKZs to be delivered.

Called the "ghost car" by one dealer because it took so long to arrive in showrooms, the MKZ's increasingly delayed arrival is turning into something of a debacle for Ford even as the first MKZs have begun trickling in.

The Dearborn, Michigan, automaker hasn't explained exactly why the MKZ was delayed. The MKZ debuted more than a year ago and went into production last fall at a plant in Hermosillo, Mexico. However, unspecified quality concerns prompted Ford to ship all MKZs built so far from Mexico to another plant in Flat Rock, Michigan, where the automaker has been going over every car built with a fine-tooth comb.

Eventually, Lincoln plans to have its Luxury Verification Center - a thorough inspection point - up and running to full capacity in Hermosillo. For now, that inspection facility is only going over cars allocated to five states in the southwest.