Recently, my employer leased a 2017 Lincoln Black Label Continental, and while it isn’t technically mine, as a driver, I will be driving it a lot—as well as being the sole set of cheeks in the driver’s seat. Part of my responsibilities regarding the car was facilitating the lease, something I gladly took upon, as I was keen to experience the ‘Membership Privileges’ that supposedly come with owning/leasing a Black Label vehicle. These privileges begin before actually receiving the vehicle, as Lincoln facilitates the ordering process for potential Black Label customers. Boldly claimed on their website is the fact that owners have “Ownership On Your Terms” to look forward to, whatever that means. In Lincoln-speak, this means a mobile showroom that comes to you, a dedicated concierge from start to finish, an in-dealership studio featuring a private fitting room, as well as remote vehicle delivery. Launching lincoln.com, I started looking at what I had to do to get the ball rolling.
A quick glance at their website shows that there are certain conditions to some of the Black Label benefits, namely the fact that remote vehicle delivery is only available within 35 miles of a certified Black Label dealer. I was not so lucky. This looked to be a real blow, because that was the part that I was looking forward to the most, as well as the fact that non-Black Label dealers can’t even order a Black Label vehicle. It looked like a drive to my closest Black Label dealer—57.7 miles away—was inevitable. As I already knew the general specifications my boss wanted for his car, I decided to give the dealership a call, and let them know I was on the market. This is when I received both good news and bad news.
The good news: as one of the few Black Label dealerships in Northern California, they disregard the 35-mile range limit, and decide on a customer-by-customer basis regarding remote delivery. As I lived *only* 57.7 miles away, should we decide to go with a Black Label car, it would be delivered with no hassles.
The bad news: Lincoln Continentals, especially Black Label trimmed ones, are not the most ordered vehicles, and as such, the factory builds the cars in ‘lots’ 3 or 4 times a year. The earliest an ordered Black Label would arrive at the dealership? 16 weeks. Thankfully, my boss is as impatient as I am, and decided to look at cars that were on the lot. Sadly, this proved to be almost as futile, as the Northern California region had one Black Label left, luckily at this dealership.
Mentally sighing, I asked for the specifications to compare to my employers desired build; surprisingly, there were only a few differences between the car the dealer had in inventory, and the car my boss wanted. While my boss wanted a black car with a brown and black interior, this was the polar opposite scheme of pearl white exterior with a white ‘Chalet’-themed interior. On top of that, while it had the engine he desired, it only drove the front wheels rather than all four. Comparing these differences to the proposed 16-week wait, he decided to pull the trigger, and lease the vehicle on the lot. While I was grateful I would not have a 16-week wait on my hand for a new car, I was a little disappointed that I would not experience either the mobile showroom nor the dealership studio. And my “start to finish” concierge? Well, my start to finish looked like it was going to be a matter of hours, leaving me little experience of that.
Calling my concierge back—a nice lady named Britney—at Fairfield Lincoln Ford, I told her we wanted to lease the car and have it delivered to us. She replied that she was delighted and could have the car to us by 2pm the next day, provided the paperwork went well. I was genuinely surprised at the timeframe, thinking it would take at least longer than 24 hours, however took my good fortune and went with it. The paperwork was filed through an online portal via Lincoln, and was a smooth process for my boss—as merely the driver I was excluded from this part. Once my boss had finished his required part, he passed the process back to me, and Britney said that all was well and she would see me at 2 the next day.
Near the end of this text/email chain—talking on the phone is sooo taxing—I realized how surreal this leasing process actually was: finalizing everything, my boss was comfortably at home doing boss-things, while I was writing notes in bed, talking to my wife. The next day, a little before two, the Lincoln arrived, and it sure felt like Christmas as a kid. Meeting Britney in person for the first time, we went inside so my boss and her could finish a little paperwork that needs both to be present, make the deposit for the car—the first time cash was involved, with Lincoln providing the Black Label experience on faith/trust—and go over the details of what comes with the car. After that was said and done, she asked if we needed to be show how to use anything, as the tech-heavy Continental can be intimidating, and went on her way with a driver, leaving us with our shiny new car.
In the spirit of “Ownership On Your Terms”, this leasing process seemed a textbook example. While we missed out on half of the experience, at the end of the day, it is hard to imagine an easier leasing experience. At no point in the ordering process or the paperwork process did it seem rushed or stressed—being at home certainly helped—while the actual in-person paperwork also took place in a home, as well as taking less than 20 minutes. The final ‘grade’ of the first part of these “Membership Privileges” is an A-, with points lost for the 16-week(!) wait time on a custom optioned vehicle, and the lack of available inventory to make up for this wait.
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I recently recieved a degree in History from the University of Nevada, Reno.