By on September 8, 2011

I was listening to a local radio station and as will happen in a regular Detroit newscast, they mentioned something newsworthy going on in the domestic auto industry. In this case they said that Ford would be spending $1 billion on 7 new products to revamp the Lincoln brand. Well that wasn’t really news so I wondered what really was going on and it turns out that the radio station’s news team grabbed a headline from an Alisa Priddle article at the Detroit News. Though the headline was nothing new, Priddle has interviewed Ford designers and product managers and has managed to give us a better idea of what the Lincoln brand will mean once Lincoln’s new team of 120 or so engineers, designers and marketing experts gets done reinventing the marque.

The seven cars will be new versions of the MKS, MKZ, MKX, MKT and Navigator as well as the luxury C class compact that Lincoln has already greenlighted. That leaves one more car, I’m guessing something sporty as opposed to a flagship. Ford simply doesn’t have any platforms suitable for a flagship beyond the MKS and since a billion dollars will really only get you one completely new car these days, I doubt Ford would develop a dedicated platform for what would be a low volume car. Also, from the tea leaves Priddle has uncovered, it looks like sporty would fit the proposed brand better.

Two of the new Lincoln brand signifiers will be fully retractable glass roofs and plus ca change pushbutton gear selectors. We’ve seen glass roofs on Lincoln concepts like the MKR, and after BMW and Jaguar have introduced trick gear selectors, why not pushbuttons? Pushbutton transmissions were the rage in the late 1950s, most notably on Mopar products but also offered on Edsels. So there is some Ford history with the concept. Derrick Kuzak, product development chief for Lincoln says that using buttons to select gears electronically will free up space in the center stack and console. They didn’t have center stacks in 1958, but the Edsels’ gear selecting pushbuttons were mounted in the steering wheel hub, which I’m sure saved space on the dashboard.

In terms of driving characteristics, Kuzak said that Ford was trying for a unique spot in the luxury market, making cars and crossovers as responsive to drive as a BMW but as comfortable as a Lexus. I think that’s a good idea in terms of brand identity, sports luxury, but I would have rather Kuzak said that Lincolns will handle better than BMWs and be more comfortable than Lexi. Benchmarks should be exceeded, not just matched.

Some of those 120 or so people on the Lincoln team are powertrain engineers. Since Ford’s not going to give Lincoln any new engines, one of their jobs will be giving Lincoln engines and transmissions unique control mapping as well as giving the brand a distinct exhaust note. All the new Lincolns will be available in all wheel drive versions and 8 speed automatic transmissions will be standard (to Ford’s six speed unites). The AWD news means that we most likely won’t see a RWD Mustang based Lincoln and Ford seems to be dedicated to the EcoBoost V6s so I don’t expect any V8 powered Lincolns. Active noise control will used to further distinguish Lincolns from Fords (and from competitors) and Lincolns will come with electronically controlled suspensions. No word if, like Ferrari, they will be licensing magnetorheological shock absorbers from GM/Delphi.

Kuzak also said that Lincoln will have technologies unique to the brand, though he did mention that the young and progressive luxury customers the company was seeking want their tech to be “intuitive and useful” while not turning off older traditional Lincoln customers. I believe that’s a way of saying that if MyLincoln Touch has features unavailable in MyFord Touch, it will be a bit more user friendly than the current iteration. I expect that some of that new technology will be located in the space freed up by the pushbutton transmissions.

Add up all the features that Kuzak said the new Lincolns will have and I think that while BMW and Lexus were mentioned as possible benchmarks, Lincolns real role model and possible competitive target is Audi. Think about it. Technologically advanced all wheel drive vehicles that are luxurious and still drivers’ cars. I don’t know if Lincoln’s suspension tuners can get Ford platforms to simultaneously handle as well as a Audi and ride as smoothly as a Lincoln of yore, but if they can, I think there will be a market for their cars.

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116 Comments on “Whither Lincoln?...”


  • avatar

    Perhaps the seventh car is a Lincoln version of the new Escape, filling a space vacated by Mercury? A Q5/X3/GLK/EX/RDX competitor seems far more likely to me than a sports car. I don’t think Lincoln is getting any dedicated platforms with a mere $1b. Cadillac blew through about five times that much in the early 2000s.

    Given Ford’s past record, I’m not counting on much until they do a second generation of products after the coming one. Ford has a long history of rebooting Mercury and/or Lincoln, saying that they “really mean it this time,” only to then give up when the initial effort doesn’t succeed.

    • 0 avatar
      philadlj

      The latest of those reboots wasn’t that long ago.

      In 2007 they started changing the names of everything to “MK-” (except for the Town Car and Navigator), and then gave every redesigned or refreshed model the MKR’s “whale baleen” grille (except for the Town Car and Navigator).

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Lincoln is a case study of badge engineering gone horribly wrong.

        Every single Lincoln not only uses the exact chassis from its Ford counterpart, but most use the exact same motors, as well, meaning that the only differential between a Ford and a Lincoln may be some interior trim, exterior trim, and extra sound deadening bits and pieces.

        While other manufacturers also use the same chassis in their more mainstream offerings and that of their higher end ones (e.g. Lexus ES350 & Camry), they also go to far greater lengths to materially differentiate the product and register improvements in NVH levels and driving refinement.

        Lincoln is a travesty as it now exists, and only a total and complete overhaul of Lincoln’s entire lineup with far greater quality components and engineering standards will save it from a very bad prognosis.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        There has been more powertrain differentiation recently.

        MKZ – 3.5 liter V6 standard (only available on Sport model Fusion)
        MKX – 3.7 liter 305 hp V6 standard (only available on Sport model Edge)
        MKT – 3.7 liter V6 standard (not available on Flex)
        MKS – 3.7 liter V6 standard (not available on Taurus)

        There is still some sharing, the 3.5 EcoBoost is optional on both the MKT, MKS, Flex, and Taurus, and the hybrid powertrains are identical in the MKZ and Fusion. The difference between the 3.7 and the 3.5 isn’t huge, but at least there is a difference in many of the cars.

        Interiors have been differentiated to differing degrees. The MKZ is closer to a Fusion in layout than the MKS is to a Taurus. The quality of materials has been greatly improved on all of the Lincoln lines. The MKZ is nicer inside than the Lexus ES, for example.

    • 0 avatar
      Acc azda atch

      Michael Karesh:

      Lincoln / Ford has been talking about the Lincoln C Concept.. for years. Focus is coming around from Europe that is giving the segment a real run for its compact money. Its a variation sedan and hatch. Its coming in more engines, with more variations RS and ST to come. On top of Kuga / Escape right behind it and C/S Max behind it still.

      The coming trend.. is a COMPACT HATCH!
      Lexus had the IS Sportcross for 01.. and admitted they screw it up.. by replacing it with the CT200h. The absolute opposite of what the IS Sportcross was. BMW has it with the 1 — though not with the hatch. Mercedes is working on a shooting brake for that size. Audi has the A3…

      I hope that comes to fruition through Lincoln.. otherwise what is the point of taking existing cars throwing money at them to change their profile, keeping them build on the same dedicated lines as their Ford brethren yet making no headway and tossing overdone b.s nanny technology as the differentiator.

      In many ways.. they could be the next Acura. Lost in translation.

      But I sure as hell hope its not another Escape. They already have Edge, Flex and related Taurus

      • 0 avatar
        Silvy_nonsense

        “I’m not counting on much until they do a second generation of products after the coming one.”

        I think that’s a pretty sensible conclusion. A billion dollars is a lot of money until you spread it out over seven vehicles. Hopefully that billion will allow Ford to demonstrate that its safe to take Lincoln seriously.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        tossing overdone b.s nanny technology as the differentiator

        What I want to know is when & why techno-gadgets became synonymous with luxury. I am a customer willing to pay a premium for a product that is designed & built exceptionally well, but I do not want electric gizmos ruining it–which they always do.

      • 0 avatar
        Acc azda atch

        redav:

        BMW has that same technology:
        In braking
        In handling
        In reversing
        In control of the engine and or throttle
        In changing lanes…
        They have it in the i.p with a dual screen..
        There are more sensors and sounds to do things ya didn’t know ya needed.. than any car needs to have. It is tech for tech’s sake.

        There is no reason to buy a car from the Germans (Audi / BMW / MB) and OVERspend the kind of money you think you want to pay for what you think you are going to get.. unless you actually figure out.. exactly what you want and understand the issues they all have when regarding technology.

        Admitting and being willing to pay a premium for a well done “product” is like admitting there is a Pink Elephant in the room. You aren’t willing you just don’t “see” that car, in the same shape, design, features or quality from others or maybe you aren’t looking.

        Its like buying a tablet from Apple. It only says ya got other Apple products.. syncing and all (cloud based.) (Their nazi control and domination of the tech industry is pretty clear). Since Microsoft cant do much of anything right on the first try (forget trying to do a LINE) like Apple has. On top of.. Apple has managed to have hit after hit for the last few years. No one else has control like that in the tech industry. Heck, no one has the concept of: (Apple) they design it, (Apple) they get it built and (Apple) they sell it (for a price THEY dictate). Some nice methodology there.. CONTROL too.

        Then again, it breeds mass consumption on the level of Planned Obsolescence (releasing a new device with only minor changes to software and or hardware that could have been done in the first gen. Trying to make you NEED what you didn’t know you even WANTED). With that said.. they could be equated with “luxury” for the same sake of having technology for its own sake (dictating / controlling the prices on their “products” does that). Their ipad has been offered in the Hyundai Equus as their manual (a vehicle they price to at 40g, marketed as a competitor against the 7series / S class).. and I’m sure is offered in other companies.

        Point you are wondering is..
        Since when is technology the only differentiator paired with a car…

        Answer: When there isn’t anything else to make them separate.

        In the end.
        There is no reason.. NONE to spend major money to get a tech gadget. Its only because high end cars have the technology first, others to have it later (trickle down effect), making it synonymous with luxury.

        When in the long run.. the tech you might have bought for est $500 now isn’t worth 1/4 because of the tech problems that arise when put into a car, or the issues the device runs into after a few years of production involving software. Like a 02 or similar year BMW 7 series with the a first gen iDONTDRIVE system and or comparable MB S class with COMMANDwhat system. The biggest issues are with the technology and the bugs that pop up with replacing the various parts of the system.

        In the end..
        It doesn’t matter what “you” or “I” want. The tech in any vehicle is ultimately the undoing or the value “dropper” in any German “vehicle application”.

        Its like buying a vehicle with a standard nav unit.. and having the car for 4-7yrs. Tech matures.. its just the “way it is”. Ya better off having a separate unit, that costs less, easy to upgrade / replace than the several grand the dealers charge.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      Good call…since this size SUV is all the rage and very likely for some time to come.

      I remember the push button on our 1959 Desoto! Is was awesome, along with something I have NEVER seen since…”swivel” bucket seats that turned left or right towards the doors for exiting!
      Has anybody seen this feature ever since it appeared on these 1959 cars??????

    • 0 avatar
      VanillaDude

      Turn the Lincoln dealers into Ford dealers.
      Take the largest vehicle available and load it up with everything anyone can desire in today’s car market. Call it a Lincoln Continental. Price it correctly.

      Dump everything else.

      Save the billion. The global economy is going to crash. Ford will need to keep the Lincoln brand alive over the next decade, but not invest so much into it that it continues being a money pit.

  • avatar

    It’s funny, I actually woke up this morning with a strange thought: why doesn’t Lincoln grab the Ford GT parts and build a mid-engine halo? Maybe I’m getting lost in Lutz-land here, but that brand needs a serious jolt. I’m not generally a huge proponent of halo vehicles, but if there’s a brand that needs that kind of image-adjustment, it’s Lincoln.

    I’m not thinking about something insanely fast… more of an Audi R8 V8 competitor. Make it the first car with the inevitable DI Coyote V8 and make it the epitome of Lincoln’s new design direction (whatever that is). Make it comfortable, practical and beautiful… and put it in every single Lincoln ad for a few years.

    With something like that to boost the brand, I can see this “the same but better” approach to the mass-market offerings working. Without some kind of halo though, I don’t know if these (apparently) relatively incremental improvements to the lineup will ever give the brand the traction it needs in such a tough luxury field.

    • 0 avatar
      Sinistermisterman

      Coyote V8 with twin turbochargers…
      I know it’s pie-in-the-sky, but I get goosebumps just thinking about it.

    • 0 avatar

      Ed, one thing I thought about addressing but left out was the lack of any mention of V8s or using the now-being-developed new Mustang as a platform for a RWD coupe.

      Speaking of Lincoln, I had a crazy idea the other day. Well into the 1930s, Lincoln supplied rolling chassis to custom body builders. So did Packard and other high end marques. Today, every Tom, Dick and Harry in the big buck car biz offers a “bespoke”, “personalization”, or “carrozzeria” program and Ferrari has made it known that they’ll accommodate other well heeled customers who want to make a one off Ferrari, like James Glickenhaus.

      So start a company to make just the chassis for high end high performance luxury cars. Lotus Engineering developed a concept that Aston Martin more or less uses. The superstructure of the car is made up primarily of aluminum extrusions that are bonded and fastened together. By changing the lengths of some of the sections, the car’s wheelbase and track can be adjusted, without having to completely redesign the platform. Most of the drivetrain and suspension mounts and components remain the same.

      Offer it in front engine and mid engine configurations, with AWD as an option.

      Give the customer options in terms of wheelbase, track, engine, etc. and they can then have Pininfarina or Stile Bertone or Chip Foose or Metalcrafters or whowever, build them a custom body.

      Of course it would be a business failure just as most of the chassis makers were in the ’30s.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      It’s funny, I actually woke up this morning with a strange thought: why doesn’t Lincoln grab the Ford GT parts and build a mid-engine halo?

      Probably because it’s just as brand-inappropriate as the LF-A, only worse because Lincoln has slightly less cachet than Buick, let alone Lexus.

      The idea is cool, but you may as well just bring back the GT40 itself. Or spend the money on bringing Lincoln’s existing stuff up to par.

      • 0 avatar

        I hear ya, you’re making a lot of sense… but how is the R8 appropriate to Audi’s brand? Sure, they were able to build it on the relative cheap thanks to having Lambo in the VW stable, but I think it’s been pretty key in putting Audi over the top in terms of brand perception. Of course the situations are very different because Audi was already doing fairly well before the R8 (certainly in comparison to Lincoln now), but remember the wisdom of Bertel… once upon a time, Audi was a schoolteacher/accountant car. Now look at ‘em.

        Ford doesn’t need another GT, or a halo of any kind… the Ford brand’s strength is already part of Lincoln’s problem. And until we start seeing some seriously compelling Lincoln designs, I have a hard time seeing the brand getting to where it needs to be without some kind of image boost… and these semi-monthly “we get it starting now, but none of our proposed changes sound earth shattering” stories aren’t giving me faith that the new lineup will be able to get there on its own.

    • 0 avatar

      In my opinion, a halo with zero overlap with the rest of the line is pointless. Exhibit A: Dodge Viper. The man behind it: Bob Lutz.

      GM has probably produced more halos than the rest of the industry combined. People will claim they sold so many more cars this way that the halos easily made financial sense, but I’m not buying it. One possibility: the cost of halos on the books doesn’t sufficiently account for the cost of the top executive attention they received.

      When Lutz was paying attention to the development of the Solstice, what wasn’t he paying attention to (aside from, well, the top and trunk of the Solstice)?

      Similarly, if halos attract the company’s top engineers and designers, these people then aren’t working on higher volume products

      Another result: the people who are working on the volume products feel like second-class citizens, and their motivation suffers. I directly observed this inside GM.

      It’s probably no coincidence that Honda created its best products when they were entirely focused on a few core models.

      And all of this said: companies could successfully create a larger, more varied portfolio of cars, but only if they decentralized power and authority within the organization. Which few if any senior execs seem willing to do, perhaps because they don’t trust their people.

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      If Lincoln were to offer a halo car, it needs to be an over-the-top luxury model, not a hi-po model. Build a new, limited edition Continental that stands apart from anything else made by Ford, full of cutting edge tech, and with a bold yet classic design like the Cadillac Ciel concept. Make just 50K units, sold at break-even prices (that still will be high). This could re-establish Lincoln as a true luxury brand instead of just tarted-up Fords. Trickle the design and tech down to the pedestrian models in subsequent years while they work on the next Continental, due out in 3-4 years.

    • 0 avatar

      Lincoln buyers aren’t young speed limit violators like me. They are OLD, BABY BOOMER, RETIREES who refuse to buy anything not made by Ford and are old enough to equate the “LINCOLN” brand with “LUXURY” even though Mercedes and BMW have more than obsoleted them in that regard.

      Lincolns are BORING. At least Chrysler knows what I like.

    • 0 avatar
      GS650G

      Cadillac has the CTS-V
      Lincoln could have the MKZ-V
      The 550HP GT motor would be a hoot in one.

  • avatar

    So in other words, Lincoln won’t be managed much differently than it has been the past 30 years or so. Shinier versions of existing Fords, big sunroofs not available in Fords and two extra cogs! Who wouldn’t want to pay near German luxury money for any of that?

  • avatar
    Hildy Johnson

    Now that Saab’s gone, thank god we still have Lincoln to gripe about.

  • avatar
    Nostrathomas

    Can we also get normal names again? It’s hard to get excited about a car when you’re never really sure which model people are talking about. I’m not in Marketing, but it seems like name recognition is pretty important.

    • 0 avatar
      imag

      Here, here. I consider myself a car person, and I have to look at Lincoln’s (subpar) website to even remember which is which.

      Ditch the baleen. Ditch the MKs. Improve the cars.

    • 0 avatar
      hakata

      Take this for what it’s worth, but OTR conversations with Lincoln marketing individuals suggest that the marketing end has been pushing to drop the alphanumerics, but that Ford brass won’t allow it. Reasoning: all our class competitors do it.

      • 0 avatar
        Nostrathomas

        “Reasoning: all our class competitors do it.”

        Except that a lot of the competition has a way of distinguishing their products. Sure, Audi has alphanumerics, but there’s an order to things….A2 is small, A8 is big…even if I dont know the details of the car, I can quickly gauge where on the totem pole it belongs. BMW’s numbers have some link to reality too, they tell you the size and often the engines. What exactly does a Z and a K tell me? Absolutely nothing.

        It’s also kind of ridiculous that Lincoln does this to ape the competition. I thought being unique and recognizable was a positive trait in such a cut-throat industry?

        Acura has the same problem as Lincoln. They were starting to build some real loyalty with names like Legend, Vigor, Integra…..now it’s another brand that’s lost in hazy fog.

        Again, I’m no expert, but a lot of this stuff just seems like common sense.

      • 0 avatar

        Interesting. OTR convos with GM individuals suggest that there’s pressure building to take Cadillac back to its heritage names, and such a move (save for maybe the CTS, which has built its own identity) could well happen by mid-decade. I speculate that this is why they’ve been waffling on whether “ATS” is actually going to be the small sedan’s name. But if they actually do it, I wonder if Ford/Lincoln will follow suit.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        The other big problem with TLAs is that it’s too easy to confuse the model & the tech. For example, you know someone is going to confuse “ATS” with “ABS.”

      • 0 avatar
        Amendment X

        redav: You have me laughing…

        “Is this the new Cadillac ABS? Does that mean this car has special brakes?”

        “No Grandpa, it’s the ATS, but it does have ABS.”

        “I think my LeBaron had ABS, so does that mean it was a Cadillac?”

        “Grandpa… just… shut… up.”

    • 0 avatar
      Loser

      Another vote for real names and not just for Lincoln. I love the 2 door Caddy but don’t ask me what they call it. I gave up on trying to remember these alphabet soup names.

      • 0 avatar
        Acc azda atch

        LOSER:

        Are you serious?! Ya cant remember the 2dr Caddy XLR! Is Eldorado too much to remember also? How about Allante?

        XLR (think exhilaration) it was canned years ago..because it was made on the Vette frame.. as a near competitor. Rule was for Vette.. there should be none.

      • 0 avatar
        Loser

        Acc azda atch,

        Are you serious? Whats with the crap attitude, bad day at work? It’s called CTS-V coupe. Last I checked Eldorado and Allante were actual names, not 3 letters.

    • 0 avatar
      JK43123

      Or at least ones that sound different? MKS and MKX sound the same. How about MKS and MKW at least?

      John

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        or start using other languages’ letters: MK-theta or MK-aleph
        or maybe use non-standard ‘letters:’ MK-schwa
        or maybe use punctuation: MK-pilcrow
        or just pull out all the stops and go for something unpronounceable and call it the “car formerly known as the MKZ”

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        Greek letters aren’t a bad idea, but at that point you may as well just use numbers.

        And there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as they’re sensible (1/3/5/7-Series, Mazda 2/3/5/6/9, Peugeot 108/208/308/407/etc). The problem that Lincoln (and to a lesser degree, Cadillac and Mercedes) has is that the letters don’t mean anything to anyone.

        If the MKZ was the MK3, the MKS (is that the Taurus one?) the MK5 and the MKT the MK8 I could at least keep them straight. Hell, they could use Roman numerals (MkVIII) and even that’d be ok.

    • 0 avatar
      Ralph ShpoilShport

      When regarding the alphanumeric nomenclature of Lincolns, perhaps it will help if you channel your inner Mr. Mackie (sp?) from South Park: “Lincolns are bad, M-K ……

  • avatar
    Morea

    and since a billion dollars will really only get you one completely new car these days

    I see this statement bandied about frequently but I’d like some more info. Anyone have a link that breaks down the costs?

    I think this number usually pertains to just the chassis and not the engine or the transmission. Is that correct? When they say chassis do they mean just the unibody with the so-called ‘hard points’, or do they mean a full suspension? Also, does the billion outfit a factory or is it simply the design? Is it the crash testing that makes it so expensive?

    • 0 avatar

      I think, and belive, and think I’m justified in saying, that:

      It does cost a billion. Most costs are factors of this nice number.

      Updating a factory isn’t really a development cost I don’t think; a few dozen mm isn’t a big difference anyway.

      The $1b assumes SOME existing things to make use of.

      Two examples are Ford’s new V8s (I think) and the Panamera, both at $1b.

      Mostly all-new.

  • avatar
    daviel

    At least they can use the Edsel pushbutton transmission tecnology.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Lincoln: who cares?

    What could Lincoln possibly offer that couldn’t be sold with a Ford badge? Basically, Ford is betting a billion dollars that there are enough domestic diehards who are also badge snobs and who also hate GM and Chrysler, to foot the bill for some ugly brightwork and a wholly redundant sales channel.

  • avatar
    bryanska

    I dunno, I like Lincoln. The aspirational comparison to Audi is pretty close, but Audi interiors are black and boring. You gotta hand it to Lincoln that in the MKX you could get three different colors with three different woods. That’s pretty stylish.

    It’s a classy American brand without the baggage of Buick, and it’s not as polarizing as Cadillac.

    I still see an upside to Lincoln, especially if the dollar remains weak. The product is pretty darn good. Shame about the sales.

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    “Derrick Kuzak, product development chief for Lincoln says that using buttons to select gears electronically will free up space in the center stack and console. They didn’t have center stacks in 1958, but the Edsels’ gear selecting pushbuttons were mounted in the steering wheel hub, which I’m sure saved space on the dashboard.”

    Some comments:
    - You’ve demoted Kuzak; he’s global group V.P. for all things product engineering.
    - take it from this expert: it is a great-thing to be able to get away from mechanical shift mechanisms and all the integrated and related things like BTSI-solenoids, key-shift interlocks, PRNDL displays, column-shift levers, column-stroke-demanded-cutouts in the IP-faescia (to prevent the shift-mechanism from hanging-up on the IP during crash), gap-hiders to hide said cutouts, elimination of one more thing that the driver can hit his hands or knee on in crash; assembly of shift cables at the column (GM had a recent recall because the cable popped off the shift mechanism due to a chinese clip) and trans and the need to carefully route these with a generous radius (so not as to create unpleasant shift lever forces) and past hot things like the catalyst which happily melt the cable, etc… (similar things hold true for floor shift assys as well.)

    “I would have rather Kuzak said that Lincolns will handle better than BMWs and be more comfortable than Lexi. Benchmarks should be exceeded, not just matched.”

    But Ronnie, if BMW really IS the Ultimate Driving Machine, this means nobody, not even Lincoln, could exceed that upper limit!!

    • 0 avatar
      Acc azda atch

      Robert Walker:

      Answer this..
      It is now a trend remove the ignition in place of a push button start. Explain how much harder it is to control the vehicle or replace the parts.. once the design concept has worn off.. and ya have to deal with it for years at a time.

      I hate the concept of the push button start.. or adding more touch sensitive buttons to the I.P. Shit, I hate the idea ya cant have a decent set of controls ya can work with ya hands… ya need a IPAD unit to talk to.. because its the new thing.

      How is removing the mechanical connections.. between you. and the car going to make anyone’s life easier?! Answer. Its not. Ya going to pay more to dig into the car to figure out what is going wrong.

    • 0 avatar
      KitaIkki

      No more shift lever? Then bring back the front bench seat! That will differentiate the product not just from Ford, but from every other luxury car in the US market.

    • 0 avatar
      ccttac

      This was a good post – very interesting to me. Hope you will give us more like this. You did not mention weight savings as I expect it is minimal but every pound saves helps. Seems to me that push button transmission is even more appealing for small cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      I have wondered why we still have the column or console mounted “gear” selectors for automatic transmissions; aren’t all systems electronically actuated now?

      Since selecting PRNDL is no longer mechanical a simple dial on the dash that you turn like a climate control adjustment should do fine, and would free up a lot of real estate on the dash or console.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    How bout an in-house design competition for the next Lincolns? Sort of like when GM used to challenge the divisions to out do each other in design concepts. It’s so crazy it might work.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      “How bout an in-house design competition…?”

      The only issue with that, as history shows, that unless the greenhouse is significantly changed as to not resemble its cousin in another car line, you have what you have. In Ford’s case, the Escape’s greenhouse is so obvious and has never changed, the Mariner was simply an Escape with more trim. Unfortunately, that’s the most expensive portion of a car to change, so I doubt in this age of bean-cutting you’ll see that change. Of course, there are things a designer can do to mask that somewhat. but I don’t see that since Chrysler did that with the early 80′s Charger where a large plastic panel that was the grandaddy of all plastic triangles covered the entire C pillar glass to differentiate it from its Plymouth cousin!

      • 0 avatar
        Acc azda atch

        Zackman:

        Honda does a fine job in differentiation with the Pilot / MDX, as well as CRV / RDX, as well as TL / TSX / Accord.

        Dont use the Escape / Tribute / Mariner as a example. Its a pretty POOR example at that. The vehicle has been around since about 99.. with very few changes. Body got restyled.. and its going to be replaced by the KUGA very soon.

        You want differentiation…
        Look at how the Koreans are approaching that concept with the Hyundai Sonata and the Optima. They use the same cuts for the side, front fascia and rear.. yet there are differences. Door cuts are identical.. but ya know which is which.

  • avatar
    Russell

    Someone at Lincoln needs to step up and admit that the current naming conventions are ridiculous. It means something to people to tell their friends what they bought and get a good reaction. Call it bragging, showing off, or whatever. Besides the Lincoln folks, who really knows what a MKZ is? I can’t even get it right and I’m a car guy.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      MKZ = MarK Zuckerburg, right? The guy who founded Facebook.

    • 0 avatar
      Acc azda atch

      Russell:

      Ya not enough of a “Car guy” to figure out MK. As in MARK VIII the ancient rwd airbag coupe that is now running around with the ass on the floor.

      MKZ = Fusion
      MKS = Taurus
      MKX = Edge
      MKT = Flex
      Add the Expedition for Linc = Navigator and the Town car = Panther frame…

      Case closed.
      Spend 3 sec figuring out whats what.

      Its called frame association. The front or rear 3qtr does wonders.

    • 0 avatar
      turbobrick

      Every time I see one of those badges I read that as “Mark of Zorro”.

  • avatar
    jj99

    What is a Lincoln?

  • avatar
    MrWhopee

    I don’t hear anything of substance here. Mostly marketing-speak. Some added customizations for the MyFord system (MyLincoln, actually), big glass sunroof as the ‘brand signifier’ (but available in many Fords as well) and ‘brass’ that won’t even ditch stupid alphanumeric name. And push-button tranny! Whopee! That’ll get people to flock into Lincolns! Not. I doubt this future, hail-mary Lincolns will be much different than the turds they’re pushing today. A halfhearted effort at best.

    BTW that main picture showcases the MKTs (I think it was MKT, right? MK-something for sure!) sheer hideousness. That baleen grille plus small, squinty headlights reminds me of some nasty sea monster. A good example of ‘Chtulu’ styling. So Cadillac has ‘science and art’, Mazda has smiling Nagare, Lexus has ‘finesse’, and Lincoln choose ‘Chtulu’.

  • avatar

    Let’s hope that whatever they do to reboot the brand, they actually have attractive/stylish cars rather than just “different looking” cars.

    We bought a Ford Flex recently; I would have loved to have the ventilated seats and keyless go of the MKT (and would have been happy to pay the price difference), but the Lincoln version is too ugly to be seen in. Only the MKS manages to pull off the baleen grill in the Lincoln lineup.

    Without actually finding a way to make their well-equipped, competetive cars attractive, they’ll have a tough time selling them to anything but brand loyalists.

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    The MK* names are a bit confusing, and I would rather see Continental, Aviator, Zephyr, et al. come back, but at the end of the day if the car is good enough people will start to remember the name. CTS, SRX, STS, DTS, etc, don’t give any real hints to what the product is or where it sits in the lineup through the alphanumeric, but people seem to be fine with buying them.

    Most buyers don’t look at a car based on its platform, but as what the car is. While some will look at a MKZ and see a Fusion with more options, if the next generation is visually different enough, with an even more divergent interior, some actual under the hood changes, and unqiue luxury features and perks of ownership, as long as the car stacks up well to other luxury cars in the same price range it will sell.

    Audi and Lexus both do a lot of shared platforms and it doesn’t seem to hurt them. If the new MKZ looks as different from a Fusion as an ES does from a Camry and the next MKX looks as different from an Edge as the RX does from a Highlander, there shouldn’t be an issue.

    • 0 avatar

      We’ve been down this alley before. While Lexus shares some platforms for the volume, its most prized cars are not shared. Heck they are even all RWD (with AWD). Lexus, of course, is far from perfect in how they form their model range. Just look at the miserable failure of GS. Great car, what’s not to like? One thing: IS costs 40% less and delivers 85% of what GS offers. So, yeah. Nonetheless, it’s head and shoulders above Lincoln, in particular with the sharing issue.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Sorry, but DTS is for theater sound. And STS is for space shuttle missions. Name a car that if you want, but if I already have an association for the TLA, it won’t get replaced.

  • avatar
    Robbie

    Lincoln targeting Audi to me sounds a bit like a 5 ft tall schoolboy targeting the Michael Jordan model.

  • avatar
    Tstag

    1 billion dollars is peanuts. JLR the smallest of Europe’s major luxury car makers (BMW, Audi, Merc, JLR) is spending 1.5 billion pounds every year! In return they are rolling out a plethera of sexy new models and are busy designing bespoke components.

    If Lincoln is to have a long term future it needs to get closer to this level of commitment and it needs to sell in more markets. As things stand it’s probably less than a decade away from being the next SAAB.

  • avatar
    George B

    Why should Ford deviate from the current strategy of slowly starving Lincoln dealerships instead of buying them out? I could see Lincoln as a one model brand, Lincoln Continental, sold at Ford dealerships. If it isn’t RWD, low, long, and wide with suicide doors and a V8, I just don’t care. A Hyundai Equus competitor with a connection to history.

    • 0 avatar
      ehaase

      I agree with George B. No one interested in an Audi type car will consider Lincoln. A single RWD, V8 powered Lincoln Continental is a better strategy.

      • 0 avatar
        Acc azda atch

        ehaase:

        In a world of increasing EPA emissions… and EVERY vehicle having to have a minimum of a turbo 2ltr (like in the Hyundai Sonata) maximum of 3.5/7ltr 6cycl (excluding cars like Mustang) with direct injection, variable valve timing in intake and exhaust.. (as efficient in bringing in air and exhausting it as possible) in a fwd operation with HYBRIDS rearing their ugly heads…

        WHO the HELL wants a V8 from a Chromed Ford from Lincoln?!
        WAKE UP this isn’t ’65 or ’92!

  • avatar
    wmba

    Lincoln, he said yawning mightily, what’s that?

    Gotta agree with other posters. MK this and MK that, no rhyme or reason. The Z is the little one, the T is the truck, the S and I dunno is there another one, who knows or cares what the hell they are? Not me. And I am a car nut.

    If they have to stick to alphabetics, make them MKA, MKB, MKC etc in order of increasing size. Too much utter confusion to the present scheme, and more to the point, not a soul cares. Yawn.

    More interesting by far is meeting someone who has actually bought one of these MK something or others. They seem to be older versions of folks who bought Pontiac Grand Prix a decade ago. Males with lots of gold chains and rings, sporting a graying mullet and not afraid to drive round in a car of questionable taste and a big ass grille. Around these parts anyway.

    Lincoln has an uphill struggle. I say chrome everything and appeal to the people who really like shiny things.

    Yawn.

    • 0 avatar
      Acc azda atch

      wmba:

      Do ya know what MK stands for.
      It stands for MARK.. as in the giant boat coupes.. that blow out the rear air suspension.. cause the 3rd owner driving that hunk of shit cant spend the money to fix it.

      It already costs FORD / Lincoln a coupla hundred billion dollars to market the name, along with the vehicle. Lease ya could do is pay a cent of attention to figure out.. WHAT THE HELL YA ACTUALLY BUYING.

      IGNORANCE.. isnt bliss.

  • avatar
    ccttac

    Juliet:
    “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
    By any other name would smell as sweet.”

    But a rose seems better with a nice name. Same with cars. Give us some names that we can keep straight.

    • 0 avatar
      Acc azda atch

      ccttac:

      They have. Pay attention.

      MK = MARK VIII the ancient rwd airbag coupe that is now running around with the ass on the floor.

      MKZ = Fusion
      MKS = Taurus
      MKX = Edge
      MKT = Flex
      Add the Expedition for Linc = Navigator and the Town car = Panther frame…

      Spend 3 sec figuring out whats what.

      Its called frame association. The front or rear 3qtr does wonders. Is that hard?

      • 0 avatar
        Russycle

        Figuring it out is easy. Remembering is hard. Honestly, I can’t tell you what car any of the Lincoln, Cadillac, or Acura random collection of letters refers to, and I’m halfway paying attention. Numbers are one thing, bigger number, bigger car usually, but 3 or 4 random letters mashed together do not a memorable name make.

      • 0 avatar
        MrWhopee

        Congrats! You remembered them all right! Probably the only TTAC readers who did. Did you work for Fords BTW? It’s not that we can’t possibly remember if someone pointed a gun to our head, but that Lincoln’s so boring and so off the radar to most TTAC reader that we don’t want to bother. Lincoln’s fallen so far off the pedestal that Hyundai and Kias have more street cred than it. It’s gone the way of the Edsel, which was pretty distinctive in its day, BTW. Even had push-button transmission selector that Lincoln only now wanted to copy. Maybe they’ll copy the lemon-sucking grille and ‘Cyclops’ speedometer as well?

  • avatar
    Sundowner

    agree on the naming nonsense. Agree that the engines, if not unique, should at least be tuned for lincolns in explicit, and if ecoboost is the way of the future, then development costs to slap on nastier turbos running higher boost and maybe toss some coin at a better head and head gasket to handle the pressure. That should be do-able for a few million or less. And for F’s sake, put a freaking stick shift behind it. Luxury is about choice, give me the choice to row my own.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    Enough already of the anti Lincoln crap here.
    I will venture that not very many here even experienced the recent Lincolns at all and are in fact a serious example of so called web ranting experts today.
    Just repeating the same old crap you read from others or go off your ancient memories of cars of days long past.
    I am not one of you.
    I know of what I speak.
    I have had 2 MKS…09 and 10, 3.7 and ecoboost.
    Yes, it does have some odd stuff like a stupid trunk opening, front biased AWD, stupid cup holders and stupid headrest.
    However, it is still one of, if not the, best car for the 48K I was able to afford at the time. Well, I probably could have paid more…but why the hell should I???
    My friend got a convertible 3i and it cost OVER 60 GRAND! And when I drove it, the noises from the creaking damn hard top convertible drove me nuts!
    Still to this day and 35K on the ecoboost, there is no buyer’s remorse.
    And if anybody suffers from this, I DO.
    I second guess every purchase I ever make thinking I could have done a better job.
    I usually search the web and papers for a year making sure I got the best price or thingamajig.
    Not here.

    Bring on the same old cars to argue with, and they ALL end up 10 grand MORE after completing the purchase.

    My MKS is still the best cruiser for the money…..

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Ya know, just like a broken record, I feel the same way about my car, now more than 7 years old. Best under 20K I ever spent.

    • 0 avatar
      Paul Richards

      TrailerTrash is correct. Got a 2011 MKS Ecoboost. And everything he said about it is the “Truth”. Stands for Mark Sedan by the way for those who can’t figure these things out (and that seems to be the case in a lot people around here). And while we’re at it, MKZ stands for Mark Zephyr, MKT = Mark Touring and MKX means Mark Crossover. This is just for those that keep insisting that the letters don’t actually mean anything when indeed they do.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    My pappy is telling me I’m going to drive him to drinkin’ if I don’t stop driving that hot rod Lincoln.

  • avatar
    getacargetacheck

    If Ford decides it even NEEDS Lincoln (and that’s debatable), Lincoln might be better off targeting Buick by lowering their prices drastically. Make up the lost profit per unit on volume. Example: the MKZ Hybrid starts at around $34K while the 2012 LaCrosse is $30K. Forget glass sunroofs and AWD — nobody cares and it isn’t credible as an Audi alternative. Lincoln isn’t even a world brand.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      It isn’t credible now, but Cadillac wasn’t credible ten years ago, and Ford wasn’t credible as an option to most Toyota or Honda buyers five years ago. The change won’t happen overnight, but it can happen.

      I hope Ford has enough pride to reach for the top with Lincoln. Settling for some sort of Buick competitor is giving up. Plus, it wouldn’t make sense as mainstream Ford models continue to move into Buick pricing territory with Titanium trim models.

      Mercury was the competition for Buick, and it was determined the niche was too small to make sense. Ford is pushing the mainstream line upmarket, so bringing Lincoln down would be counterproductive.

  • avatar
    GoFaster58

    Build a sporty Lincoln. Just take the Shelby GR-1 and call it a Lincoln and there you go. One of the sportiest cars ever designed.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Headline: “Ford spends $1B, plans 7 new models to reposition Lincoln”

    Translation: “End of the road: Ford plans to discontinue Lincoln”

    $1 billion is next to nothing in the world of automotive R&D. A budget that low suggests that they aren’t taking this very seriously.

    And frankly, I don’t see why they should. Ford has a reasonably strong brand in many corners of the world. In contrast, Lincoln has virtually no brand power in the US, and even less abroad.

    It’s way too little, way too late. That billion dollars could develop a novel new car that carries a Ford badge and some sales potential, so giving that cash to Lincoln is a waste of money. I’d turn Lincoln into a trim level of Ford, sold at Ford lots, with plans to eventually phase it out.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      No one has said that the $1 billion investment will be it for Lincoln. It’s a first step to bringing the brand back to glory. Ford spends 1 billion now and benefits from the increased sales of the updated models, reinvests the profits with additional funds from mainstream Ford profits in a couple years for refreshes, and when it comes time for all new models doubles down again.

      The writing on the wall for Mercury was easy to see – the new Taurus didn’t come with a new Sable, the new Explorer concepts had no Mountaineer counterparts, etc. What Ford is doing with Lincoln is the opposite of what would be done if a phase out were being planned. You don’t ask your dealer network to invest heavily in new showrooms, spin off a new financial arm, and put big money up front for refreshed models plus a couple new models if you plan on discontinuing the brand.

      I do agree though that standalone Lincoln dealers should be merged with the closest Ford store. There should be standalone Ford stores where the luxury market can’t be supported, and combo Ford-Lincoln stores where it can. There’s no reason that the same sales force, service department, etc, can’t support both Ford and Lincoln together and give customers an excellent experience with both.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        No one has said that the $1 billion investment will be it for Lincoln.

        The Detroit News claims that Ford has committed $1 billion.

        $1 billion in today’s market yields about one car. They claim to be planning seven in three years. That would require spending about $6 billion more by 2014.

        The reporter may have been sloppy and omitted some relevant details. But if I were at Lincoln, I’d be selling a $7 billion figure to the media if it was my plan to spend $7 billion. If I’m mentioning only 1/7th of that amount, then it’s probably because I have a seriously limited budget and am hopeful that the readers can’t work a calculator.

        What Ford is doing with Lincoln is the opposite of what would be done if a phase out were being planned. You don’t ask your dealer network to invest heavily in new showrooms, spin off a new financial arm…

        You mean like Hummer and Saturn?

        …and put big money up front for refreshed models plus a couple new models if you plan on discontinuing the brand.

        $1 billion is not big money. It’s tiny money, given the circumstances.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        PCH -

        It might not be a lot if you look at creating a brand new car from scratch, but it could go a long way in developing technologies that can be applied to the entire line to help differentiate future Lincoln models from their Ford platform-mates.

        As far as the amount being earmarked and how it’s being reported – Ford has to appeal to shareholders as well as the media. Ford doing a very good job turning a profit and working its way out of debt at the moment. Reducing that debt load and becoming an investment grade stock has to be a top priority. It’s probably better for the stock prices to downplay the amount it will cost to turn Lincoln around so that investors can assume more of the profits will go towards paying off the current debt.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        It might not be a lot if you look at creating a brand new car from scratch

        It isn’t. And yet they claim to planning for seven cars. There is a problem with the story.

        As far as the amount being earmarked and how it’s being reported – Ford has to appeal to shareholders as well as the media.

        Now you’re claiming that they’re lying?

        I don’t think they’re lying. I think that they’re charged with the impossible task of creating a luxury brand on a shoestring budget.

        This effort is designed to fail, unless the Lincoln folks do the impossible and get incredibly lucky. And when the effort does fail, Ford corporate will be able to tell the Lincoln team and the dealers that they need to look for other things to do. The fact that the dealer will have spent seven figures to upgrade his then-empty store won’t mean much, because it wouldn’t have been Dearborn’s money.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        They’ve said that they are planning for seven new or significantly redone models. Updating the MKS, MKZ, MKT, MKX and Navigator will cost a lot less than building brand new vehicles. The magnetic shocks, once developed, can be used across the line with little cost to tailor them for each vehicle, for example.

        I don’t think they are lying, but what they are saying is that right now they have $1 billion invested for this upgrade to the Lincoln line. They haven’t said anything about the amount that they may be adding into the pot in the future.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Updating the MKS, MKZ, MKT, MKX and Navigator will cost a lot less than building brand new vehicles.

        Even fairly minor changes would cost nine figures. GM spent $100 million just to federalize the Astra, a car that already existed and wasn’t being redesigned but for compliance with US safety and emissions regulations.

        I get it — Lincoln is going to spend very little money and work with what it has. But what it has is not exactly screaming out “Buy Me!” to the American public, or to anyone else’s public. That might be OK if the status quo was working, but the status quo hasn’t been working.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        PCH –

        I don’t know how the costs to federalize a Euro car compare to updating a vehicle that already has US crash safety and emissions certification. What I do know is that everyone who was part of this secret new Lincoln model unveiling has had very positive things to say about how the new Lincolns compare to what is currently being offered.

        At this point all we can do is make educated guesses, but I have faith that Ford knows that its doing. The track record for the Ford brand has been excellent recently, there is no reason to think that Lincoln won’t share the same success. I think Lincoln is also a point of pride for the Ford family, which with their special stock still really control the future of the company. Letting Lincoln die while Cadillac lives would hurt their pride too much.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I don’t know how the costs to federalize a Euro car compare to updating a vehicle that already has US crash safety and emissions certification.

        I’ve already told you — a typical new model costs about $1 billion per vehicle. Ford is claiming that Lincoln’s badge engineering days are over, so they’re going to need $6-7 billion dollars to build 6-7 genuinely new models.

        I have faith that Ford knows that its doing.

        I agree. They’ve taken the Lincoln team, separated them from the rest of the company, and given them a mission of sinking or swimming on their own. When they drown, they won’t be missed, and little will have been lost on the venture.

        It’s a win-win for Ford. If they get incredibly lucky and succeed with this, then they can take the credit and pocket the profits. Or, in the event of the more likely option of this failing, the division will be easily folded (since it will be semi-autonomous at that point) and everyone will feel good that relatively little money was wasted money on it.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        PCH –

        I see what you claim the costs are, but unless you’ve been intimately involved in both the process to federalize a new vehicle as well as the development of a new vehicle and have some sort of data to back those statements up it’s all just conjecture.

        Ford has said that Lincoln is moving away from badge engineering, not from platform sharing. Ford already has plenty of great engines and platforms available for Lincoln models. Most of the technology expected in a new luxury car already exists in current Ford or Lincoln models. The cost to take a car that is closer to badge engineered, like the current MKZ, and turn it into a model that is more unique and leans towards the platform-shared side of the continuum has to be considerably less than the cost to develop a brand new car to replace the MKZ.

        The Fusion is moving to the new EUCD2/CD4 platform for 2013, which works out beautifully for the introduction of the new MKZ. The investment for the platform has been made and economies of scale work out well since the new Fusion/Mondeo will be a global car, and the new MKZ gets a brand new platform to differentiate it from the old one, plus, this time Ford can start out with the new MKZ being further differentiated from the Fusion from the beginning.

        The push button shifters, magnetorheological shocks, 8 speed transmissions, and other technological bits can be shared across the Lincoln lineup so that one investment yields results in every vehicle. The costs to significantly differentiate the MKZ from the Fusion then just come down to unique sheetmetal, possibly a different wheelbase, and a unique interior.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I see what you claim the costs are, but unless you’ve been intimately involved in both the process to federalize a new vehicle as well as the development of a new vehicle and have some sort of data to back those statements up it’s all just conjecture.

        No, it isn’t just conjuncture. Based upon the typical costs of developing a new car, Ford isn’t going to magically create seven vehicles for the price of one. To believe that Ford can do such a thing, when nobody else in the industry is capable of doing that, is simply nonsense.

        $1 billion is not nearly enough to produce seven vehicles. I don’t care how many platforms that they share, they still can’t do that much with that small amount of money. That’s a lot of money to spend if you’re doing a shopping run at Costco or buying a new refrigerator, but it’s peanuts for developing several different vehicles.

  • avatar
    daviel

    Lincoln’s goin’ nowhere. I could not imagine buying one. The first time I saw the baleen grille in person I wondered what were they thinking? – designer and customer alike.

  • avatar
    Acd

    Pushbuttons? Are they kidding? Pushbuttons and the promise of the luxury of a Lexus with the handling of a BMW—let me guess…..and for less money than either of them. Sounds like the same formula Detroit trots out every time they want to relaunch a luxury car or failing brand that almost always fails to live up to the hype. But this time it will be different! All built on existing Ford platforms but with big, glass roofs, pushbutton transmissions and distinct exhaust notes! Audi, Lexus and BMW executives and engineers must be beside themselves right now figuring how they’re going to compete with the new tarted up Fords…oops, I mean Lincolns. Please forgive me for being just a little bit skeptical.

  • avatar
    bd2

    “…as responsive to drive as a BMW but as comfortable as a Lexus.”

    - Uhm, isn’t this Toyota’s new direction with Lexus?

  • avatar
    Bryce

    The relevant Lexus and BMW engineers havent quit laughing yet but anything would be an improvement on the monstrosities currently on offer

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      At the moment Lexus has more to be afraid of than BMW.

      The MKZ has a lot to offer compared to the ES, and in Hybrid form is a better luxury car than the HS or CT. I’ve sold several MKZ Hybrids recently to people cross shopping them against the Lexus hybrid cars.

      The current MKX is a major improvement over the old model with increased power, fuel efficiency and interior quality while also offering improved noise control and a better ride. After older MKXs the Lexus RX is the most traded in vehicle at my dealership on the new MKX.

      Lincoln still doesn’t have an answer for the LS, or a sporty car like the IS, but the MKS outsells the GS pretty handily.

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    Just shut Lincoln down. About 1 month ago, I told all that Detroit has a real problem. Lots are stuffed full of cars. Factories are stuffed full of union workers. And, european banks are going to explode. It is all unfolding now.

    So, cut the losses and shut down Lincoln. Obama is as good as out of office and no more free money will be available to GM, Ford, or Chrysler. No more subsidized loans. No more sweet commercial paper deals. No more TARP. No more special tax breaks. No more LaHood recalls. Time to cut the losses and start folding your tent.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    One thing that Ford should do is return to using a longer wheel base on the Lincoln version in all cases. They really need a coupe, and offering a 2dr version of the MKZ would be the best option if they aren’t going to do a version of the Mustang. Unfortunately the mystery car will likely be what would have been the Mariner like the coming C is rumored to be pretty much the Mercury version of the Focus they did before deciding to axe the brand.

  • avatar
    tekdemon

    Man if they want it to succeed they better start ponying up more money for lincoln. $1 billion spread across 7 cars is a super tiny budget.

    • 0 avatar
      Advo

      Sounds like the amount a small company such as Jaguar/Land Rover would spend.

      • 0 avatar
        MrWhopee

        There’s a post above that states JLR spends more than that. I guess a more apt comparison would be Studebaker in its dying days. I sure hope they have someone like Brooks Stevens who can do wonders to the Ford bodies he had to work with with minuscule budget.

  • avatar

    As a former Lincoln Continental owner, all I can say is that Lincoln had lost its way since 1999 with the introduction of the LS. They don’t compete with the big boys across the pond and they seem to be making little effort to do so. At least Cadillac is trying with the introduction of a larger CTS, a smaller ATS, and whatever they decide to replace the DTS with but even they have a LONG way to go.

    The MKS was a big improvement but that is like saying, “my child is an honor student attending the worst school district in the country.”

  • avatar
    willbodine

    Interesting tidbit regarding possible pushbutton trans. Yes Edsel had them in 1958, but Mercury had them for both ’57 and ’58.
    One of those Detroit “better ideas” that went nowhere. Until now. Some Aston Martins have them now.

  • avatar
    V572625694

    Can’t help but point out that the car in my icon (similar to the one in which I got my first license) had a push-button transmission on the most awesome dashboard ever.

    • 0 avatar
      MrWhopee

      Yes, that 1960s Chrysler had 3D speedometer that was just awesome. Looks like the back end of a transmission. Had blue lighting too. Saws it in a classic car show, can’t believe they have that in 1960. Maybe that’s the kind of outrageous thing that should be featured in Lincolns. The only way Lincoln could get traction once more is with unique products not available anywhere else. If you like it you’d have to buy Lincoln. Can’t do it by making another Lexus, another BMW, what have you, because people would go buy the alternative instead. Look at Chrysler 300C or Dodge Charger. If you want something like that, you have to buy it, no thing like it in the market place. Bench seat as someone suggested here might just be it. Big sunroof ain’t it (many other makes offer it as well), And more features for Sync ain’t it either, will only confuse people in its target market (it’s already too complex for many). Maybe bring back the reverse-slant rear window (that opens?) Opera Lights? Curb Feelers? Side Skirts? Continental kits? Two-tone paints (I wish!)

  • avatar
    getacargetacheck

    New products coming for Lincoln??? Sounds familiar…

    MERCURY CHIEF MAKES PITCH TO DEALERS
    July 29, 2002

    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2002-07-29/business/0207290018_1_elena-ford-chief-executive-bill-ford-ford-escape

  • avatar
    Morea

    From the article linked by getacargetacheck:

    Before going on sale July 1, Mercury had orders for more than 5,000 of the 18,000 copies to be built the first year.

    From the Mercury Marauder Wikipedia entry:

    The 2003–2004 Marauder sales fell short of corporate forecasts, and after a production run of 11,052 vehicles, the Marauder was discontinued at the end of 2004

    2003 – Total: 7838
    2004 – Total: 3214

    • 0 avatar
      mazder3

      “Unlike the short-lived 1994-1996 Chevrolet Impala SS, Ford said there’s no cut-off period for Marauder. “If it does well we’re not going to wear it out, but customers will tell us when to end it.”\"

      Boy did they.


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