Lincoln Sounding Off with New Revel Audio System

Top-line system will make its debut on next-generation MKX sport-ute.

by on Dec.04, 2014

Lincoln made another move to continue attracting luxury buyers by signing a 10-year deal with Revel to supply the brand's sound systems.

Audiophiles may want to trade in their living room couch for a seat in one of Lincoln’s new MKX sport-utility vehicles. Or so the Detroit luxury maker is hoping as it signs an exclusive, 10-year deal with audio system manufacturer Revel.

The top-line brand within the Harman International family is developing a series of customized sound systems for Lincoln, starting with the debut of the next-gen MKX next year. The partnership is part of an evolving effort by Ford Motor Co.’s luxury brand to upgrade its products – and its image – among high-line consumers.

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“We waited 20 years to find the right automaker” to partner with, said Phil Eyler, senior vice president and general manager of Harman’s car audio operations, during a background session at Detroit’s Orchestra Hall, a facility considered to have some of the best acoustics in the U.S.

Best known for its premium home audio systems – its speakers running up to $20,000 a pair – Revel will create customized systems for each of Lincoln’s products. That approach has its challenges, as well as its advantages, Eyler and other Revel staff noted. It can be a challenge to find space to squeeze in a high-end audio system, especially one that will offer as many as 19 speakers in some Lincoln vehicles. On the other hand, the close quarters make it possible to deliver a focused sound that can be difficult to achieve in a home.

The Revel system for Lincoln was created for the unique interior environment of each Lincoln model.

“The Revel system for Lincoln was created for the unique interior environment of each Lincoln model,” explained Eyler. “The system is tuned to create an immersive audio experience unlike any other on the road.”

That is a claim that some might dispute. Lincoln is just the latest in a growing list of automakers – both mainstream and high-end – who have crafted exclusive audio partnerships. Bentley buyers can spend nearly $10,000 outfitting a Mulsanne or Flying Spur with a NAIM system, for example.

Lincoln officials aren’t yet saying how they will price the Revel system, or more accurately, systems that will be offered in products like the next MKX. But there are likely to be several different grades available, with the most expansive – and expensive – available in Lincoln Black Label models.

(Lincoln counting on new Black Label to draw new buyers. For more, Click Here.)

Black Label is another part of Lincoln’s effort to re-establish its bona fides as a credible luxury manufacturer. A sort of brand-within-a-brand, it offers buyers a series of specially designed interior packages featuring more upscale leathers, woods and other features. But Black Label also includes a bundle of features, including exclusive dining privileges, car detailing and even free car washes.

(Click Here for why plunging fuel prices could create problems for Ford.)

Lincoln formally launched Black Label at the Los Angeles Auto Show last month, introducing it on two of its newest models, the MKC crossover and MKZ sedan. New interior versions are expected to be added once the MKX sport-ute is re-launched.

(To see why Honda is expanding its airbag recall despite Takata’s refusal, Click Here.)

“Revel is synonymous with the finest home speaker systems,” said Matt VanDyke, Lincoln’s global director, adding that, “The Lincoln collaboration with Revel is the next step in our commitment to build vehicles that exceed luxury expectations.”

Revel and Black Label will both be offered in the U.S., as well as China, where Lincoln expects to have eight new dealers in operation by year-end. The booming Asian nation is expected to become the world’s largest luxury market within the next year or two, and Lincoln is betting China could also become its biggest national market.

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