By on November 17, 2011

What can you even say about Lincoln at this point? The brand talks up its new design studio, and then releases a “spot the changes” facelift. Critics bash the brand’s waterfall grille as “cetacean,” so for the facelift Lincoln goes and makes it look even more like baleen. Lincolns have little identity beyond Fords loaded up with there-for-the-sake-of-it technology, so they give the MKS and MKT (Ecoboost only) “Continuously Controlled Damping”… to polish their carefully-honed performance image? Because consumers were clamoring for a Lincoln, but didn’t buy because “Sport Mode” wasn’t available on its giant crossover? I know these are only holdover models, and that Lincoln will eventually come out with something all-new. I know that picking on these sales weaklings is too easy. I know that there are probably even a few folks out there that find the MKS and MKT to be the subtle-but-cosseting waft-mobiles that they’ve been waiting for… but I just can’t help myself. Especially when Lincoln’s press release on the MKS proclaims that

Refinements Signal Direction for Brand Today, Tomorrow.

Note to Lincoln: the future is not in refinements. If this brand is going to survive, it needs a clean sheet of paper.

 

 

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75 Comments on “What’s Wrong With This Picture: Lord Love A Lincoln Edition...”


  • avatar
    Jimal

    It wasn’t all that long ago that Lincoln was at least trying to go up against the CTS with their LS; not perfect, but at least RWD and in theory available with a manual. I never understood why they abandoned that line of development, other than not having the resources or the funding to develop bespoke platforms. I wonder if this is just rearranging the deck chairs on the S.S. Lincoln before it slips beneath the surface of existence…

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      It wasn’t worth it.

      Cadillac has more or less proven that spending a ton of money on a rear-drive premium car over the course of a decade, only to (barely) tread water and end up in the same spot as Lincoln (who spent much less), isn’t the right tack to take.

      To extend the metaphor, while Lincoln is rearranging deck chairs and steaming slowly into the iceberg. Cadillac is also full-steaming ahead into the iceberg while also rearranging deck chairs. The problem is the iceberg.

      The problem is that both brands are damaged, and niether parent can or will take the steps to fix them. I won’t pretend to know what those steps are, but Lincoln’s, at least, hurts less.

      • 0 avatar
        Jimal

        I guess it all depends on what the goal is. If the goal is to take on BMW/Mercedes/Audi, I don’t see either Cadillac or Lincoln making much if any headway, even if they were to somehow come up with a world beater in the segment, because you’re trying to cater to an audience that has zero interest in you and most likely will never have interest in you. Now if the goal is go after Acura/Lexus/Infiniti, aka the more recent entrants in the luxury field, then you may be able to make some inroads. Maybe.

      • 0 avatar
        bp527

        How do you figure that Cadillac is in the same place as Lincoln? Cadillac isn’t completely fixed yet, but their sales and image are both much better than Lincoln. If I’m not mistaken, Cadillac outsells Acura and Infiniti right now, while Lincoln is still behind them all.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        The key question is whether Cadillac’s sales and image are better enough than Lincoln’s to reflect the billions of dollars that GM has spent on Cadillac since the late 1990s. Psarhjinian is right – the answer is “no.”

        Remember, GM’s goal with the XLR, CTS, SRX and STS was to vault Cadillac into the same league as BMW, Mercedes and Lexus. It didn’t achieve that goal by a long shot. The XLR is long gone, while the STS and first-generation SRX have been replaced by a rebodied Buick and Chevrolet, respectively. The only one that remotely fulfilled its original goal is the CTS.

        GM spent billions on Cadillac to basically end up using the same strategy that Ford is using with Lincoln. GM has just been better than Ford at hiding the plebeian roots of those Cadillacs (which doesn’t mean that those Cadillacs are necessarily better vehicles than comparable Lincolns).

      • 0 avatar
        FleetofWheel

        GM did seem to make an honest and earnest effort to invest in improving Cadillac over many years.

        That they have come up short of success with Cadillac hurts more than other areas which could be attributed to UAW work rules, Volt subsidy gimmicks, badge engineering and so on.

        When you lose a stand up fight, there are no excuses, just substantive reasons why you did not measure up.

      • 0 avatar
        MattPete

        @geeber: I’m not sure I would say “by a long shot”. For example, except for the STS, I would never, ever, consider buying a Cadillac in the 1990s (an STS was ‘possible’, but not remotely first choice).

        Ever few days I see an XLR on driving towards me on the way to work. Everytime I see that, I think “Damn, that’s sexy!”. I tell my 2-year-old toddler in the back seat “Daddy likes that car”.

        The same goes for a lot of the current models. Whereas I would never consider a Cadillac in the past (I drive a 2003 BMW), today a Cadillac would be on my shopping list.

      • 0 avatar
        PJ McCombs

        Psar, I won’t pretend to know exactly what the issue is either, but I do think I can identify some of it.

        People buy luxury cars to buy into a lifestyle experience that makes them feel wealthy. The same way people will buy an Apple for 50% more than a PC–to similarly use 5% of the laptop’s capabilities–because of the way the buying/owning experience makes them feel (individual, special, premium, blah blah).

        Both Cadillac and Lincoln still fail to understand this and line up their wares alongside GMCs, Fords, Buicks, and allsorts pre-owned stock sold by the same entry-level staff, sitting you in the same coffee-stained cubicles to sign the papers. Cadillac at least seems to be putting more money into product.

        Both could learn a lot from Infiniti and Lexus–even though, as an enthusiast, I’d hit a Cadillac store far before touching any Lexus.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        Ever few days I see an XLR on driving towards me on the way to work. Everytime I see that, I think “Damn, that’s sexy!”. I tell my 2-year-old toddler in the back seat “Daddy likes that car”.

        The XLR blows my mind, and not in a good way. What’s an XLR? A Corvette in a suit. What’s wrong with a Corvette? The interior and the premium experience, otherwise it’s a world-class supercar.

        If you added a few thousand dollars of premium interior trim and refinement to a Corvette, you’d still have something you could sell for far, far less (or at far greater margin) than an equivalent 911/SL/M6/R8/California/Gallardo/Etc. You could go all-out and trim it in whale-hide and gold leaf and it’d still be a decent economic proposition and a more-than-competitive supercar.

        How, how, HOW!? How in the world did GM get the XLR wrong?!

        The STS was similar: what was wrong with the CTS? Space and a few interior bits. So what was the STS? A CTS with worse dynamics, no noticeable increase in space and a cheesier interior. Jeebus, with management like that, no wonder the government cleaned house.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        MattPete,

        The problem with the XLR is that it was supposed to take on the Mercedes SL, and didn’t do so successfully, judging by the fact that you cannot buy a 2011 XLR, but you can buy a 2011 Mercedes SL.

        Whether we view it as a dead end for Cadillac, or another example of GM throwing in the towel too soon, the bottom line is that that car failed in its mission and is no longer on the market as a result.

      • 0 avatar

        To understand luxury you have to be born and raised in Europe and not anywhere in Europe. American way is to lower costs and then more, cost cutting to be put it precisely.

    • 0 avatar
      VanillaDude

      I love Lincoln, but it seems they lost their way by chasing after the Boomer’s love of German sports sedans. That is a waste of time because Boomers in this price range will do everything they can not to look like their parents. Even after 65 years, this generation is still rebelling against their parents. That includes their parent’s concept of a luxury car, Cadillac and Lincoln.

      What Lincoln and Cadillac needed to remember is that the Boomer will all be dead in another twenty years – (hopefully, or we will all be forever bankrupted), but their brands can live on doing what they do better than the Germans, Japanese and South Koreans: making big bombastic bordellos.

      The symbol of societal success within reach for most Americans is the wedding. What kind of car shows up? Limosines. What kind of limosines? Lincolns and Cadillacs. These cars have an honored place in our culture that other brands can’t pull off as well.

      Lincoln needs to return to it’s traditional luxury roots.

      I spent the weekend with a 2011 Grand Marquis. It had a lot of shortcomings, but those shortcomings were due to the fact that the car had not been updated since 1991. It is twenty years old. On the other hand, this car had a lot of charm. It rode like something out of a Disney princess movie. It was kind of special, and it was also kind of neat.

      It is a shame that the Panther cars were not invested in. As I cruised around in that car I kept thinking how great it would have been if Ford just tweaked it here, or tweaked it there. How they could have given the car a more traditional shape. If they just tried as hard as they could to keep the car modern and true to it’s original intent, there would be nothing like it in the market.

      Every generation wants something different from it’s parents, but Lincoln should have thumbed their noses as the Boomers and worked even harder to make Town Cars, Continentals and Marks as they should be, kept them up to date technologically, and given the Brand a base from which they could have offered that generation a sports sedan like the LS or LSC.

      By leaping from what it is they do best, Lincoln became an incomplete version of a German or Japanese luxury car, and few wanted an incomplete car.

      Instead of schooling the Boomers, Lincoln pandered to them and wrecked their legacy. Now Lincoln doesn’t know what the hell it is anymore, and the current line up clearly demonstrates this.

      • 0 avatar
        Advo

        So all the children of the aging Baby-boomers are buying entry-level luxury vehicles that are different from the non-Lincolns and Cadillacs that their parents didn’t buy?

        I can see a whole lot of Americans who want to buy domestic luxury but can’t find something that really compares with what is, or what was offered, by the foreign brands.

        The same dissatisfaction that drove many Boomers of all wealth levels to buy Japanese was a huge problem for the domestic luxury marks until perhaps recently. I’d think many of their children are just as conscious of their parent’s experience with that and are willing to buy the same brands: and if you look at the Japanese luxury cars since, say the original LS, and what is offered today, there isn’t that much of a difference in style or concept. It’s not the difference between the luxury boats of yesteryear and what Cadillac offers now.

        The domestics didn’t measure up to the apparent quality of the Germans, either. They also never offered vehicles in a size that is more convenient for an urban lifestyle.

        Now you have Lincolns based on pedestrian Edges and Fusions, Cadillacs with their own polarizing look, and nothing really from Chrysler. There’s not much of an alternative for Boomers or their kids to turn to even now.

      • 0 avatar

        I actually think that parents drive Toyotas, Hondas and BMWs and Mercs. Do not see kids rebelling against parents. Wait until US defaults though – things will change dramatically.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Lexus depends on the ES and RX for the lion’s share of its sales, while GS/LS/GX/LX sales are marginal by comparison.

    Lincoln depends on the MKZ and MKX for the lion’s share of its sales, while MKS/MKT/Navigator sales are marginal by comparison (and the Town Car is dead). Similar breakdown, but at 1/3 scale.

    Lincoln YTD sales so far are basically unchanged from last year: 70,935 vs. 70,120 in 2010.

    This tells me two things: 1.) demand for Lincolns is neither surging nor plummeting, and 2.) If Lincoln ever wants to be a major player in the luxury game again, they face an uphill struggle.

    Look at Suzuki and Mitsubishi and their paltry monthly takes. Once you’ve sunk into a pit of irrelevance, it is very, very difficult to dig your way out.

    These facelifts are just not going to get it done.

  • avatar
    Hildy Johnson

    The whole shape of the MKT is beyond repair, but honestly I really like the new looks of the MKS.

  • avatar
    John R

    Maybe once the Mustang goes IRS there will be more flexibility; like how Nissan leverages the Z for Infiniti?

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Ironically, the Mustang is based on a derivative of the old DEW98 platform that had IRS in its initial applications under the Lincoln LS and Jaguar S-type. The Jaguar XF still uses the IRS version of the Ford DEW platform, but the IRS was replaced with a solid axle for the 2005 Mustang. The Mustang kept the floor pans, portions of the transmission tunnel, the front frame rails, and basic fuel tank design from the old DEW98, but lost the upper and lower control arm suspension all around in favor of MacPherson struts in the front and a beam axle out back. Ford’s customers don’t demand any better, so why not?

      • 0 avatar
        Jimal

        That is the best argument for the solid rear axle that I’ve heard. IRS probably won’t move the sales needle much for the Mustang so why incur the expense? I’d still like to see a Mustang with an IRS, but it isn’t like I would go out and buy one if it were so equipped.

      • 0 avatar
        John R

        You are right. However, the idea is that while keeping the Mustang IRS may or may not have benefited Mustang sales you would have, at least, a platform to create analogues of the 3-series/C-class and 5-series/E-class.

        As good as the Mustang is, can you make a luxury car of it?

      • 0 avatar
        skor

        “Ford’s customers don’t demand any better, so why not?”

        Yup, and it’s been that way for a long, long time. Ford developed an IRS for the 1965 Mustang…they used a Falcon as the test bed….it was all ready to go when the bean counters deduced..correctly…that an IRS wouldn’t help sales one bit.

        Ever have a good look at Ford products offered for sale in Europe and Oz? Head and shoulders better than what they offer in North America. Most Americans just don’t care, and Ford knows that.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        I wouldn’t say it’s a matter of not demanding better, because IRS isn’t necessarily better than a live axle.

        Every review of the Mustang puts the handling above the IRS-equipped Camaro and Challenger. Would you rather have the best example of a live axle on the market, or a cost-engineered IRS?

        Pushrods are an older engine technology, but GM’s pushrod LS series is superior in just about every way to DOHC Northstar engines.

        Roots type superchargers predate screw and centrifugal designs, but still see plenty of use in modern cars because the characteristics of their performance offer benefits over more recent designs.

        The live rear axle has a few drawbacks, but the ability to put a lot of power down and still be reliable day in and day out seems to make it worth a little bit of axle-hop and some jitteryness on rough pavement for Mustang buyers.

      • 0 avatar
        Jimal

        This is where the IRS debate falls flat. I get the point that the current Mustang buyer isn’t crying out for an IRS and I’ll buy the argument that developing and introducing an IRS probably won’t move the sales needle enough to be worth while, but why are the options always either a well developed solid axle or an poorly developed IRS? I think the preference would be a properly developed IRS, which at one point or another was in the Ford inventory.

  • avatar
    George B

    Outside of dealers who sell Lincoln, who cares? They sell nothing one couldn’t get with a blue oval on it. Dead brand.

    • 0 avatar
      Paul Richards

      You’re so wrong, George B. So wrong. I implore you to read the entire press release on the 2013 MKS and then #1 tell me Ford has the same car under the Ford brand. They don’t. And don’t tell me Taurus because it’s not true. Again read the entire press release and keep a copy handy so you can refer to it. #2, after reading it, then tell me ANYONE out there offers anything like the MKS for anywhere near the same price. You won’t because you can’t. Dead brand? Hardly, my friend. I think it’s about time you woke up.

  • avatar
    MrWhopee

    Since Lincoln has now took up the Mercury’s torch (only slightly more luxurious and slightly more expensive than the top-line Ford) they took up the grille as well. Seem like Lincoln is taking a baby step forward, while it’s a giant leap that’s required. Refining of existing product is OK if you already have a hit in your hand. If your product is poorly accepted in the marketplace and getting lost in the crowd, something radical is what’s needed. Something that gets noticed, gets people talking about the brand. Mercury grille ain’t it. Maybe try the Edsel grille instead? I think it will at least get people to talk about the brand.

    • 0 avatar
      Paul Richards

      The 2013 was only supposed to be a mid-cycle refresh to begin with. The completley redesigned MKS will come out in 2015 or 2016. But for what they did for this refresh, I’d say they accomplished quite a bit as far as the improvements they’ve made. So much has been added. It’s not just the look of the car. Read the complete press release for the details.

  • avatar
    redliner

    The Lincoln cars resemble something Alienware would design if it built cars.

  • avatar
    geeber

    Comparing the MKS to the Cadillac XTS is basically a six-of-one, half-dozen of the other proposition. I’m not seeing where the Lincoln is any better or worse than the Cadillac. It all boils down to brand preference and which front-end treatment one favors.

    The MKT, on the other hand – that one needs to go away. It’s almost as pointless as the Acura ZDX.

  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    “The Lincoln cars resemble something Alienware would design if it built cars.”

    You’ve nailed it.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I think we’re entirely too hard on the MKT. It’s not particularly premium, but it rides well, has a good amount of space, and has that station-wagon shape we all supposedly like. The detailing is odd, but it’s not the worst sin in automobilia by a longshot.

    The comparison to the ZDX is unfair: at least most human beings can fit into the MKT, whereas the ZDX seems to combine the bulk of an SUV with the ease of ingress, visibility and passenger space of a supercar.

    The MKT is a similarly nice car that’s unfairly slagged. It’s no worse or better than the ES at doing what it does, though I’ll admit it’s unneccessarily cramped.

    The MKZ is actually a very, very good car. It’s also the MKS’s biggest problem, because it’s about as roomy (for real people) and a lot easier to drive.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      Psarhijian,

      I compared the MKT to the ZDX because I’m not seeing why either one exists. The MKT is more practical than the ZDX – no argument there – but I’m not seeing why anyone would want an MKT over its platform mate, the Ford Flex, which is much better-looking (or least, a much more coherent design) and offers the same level of performance and utility.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        In that sense, I’d compare the MKT to the Acura RL.

        I’ve driven the ZDX, or at least tried to. I suppose some people must like them, but it’s certifiably one of the worst-designed cars on the market today.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        I think the RL is a decent car that is overpriced. It can’t play in the segment that Honda thinks it can. I’d buy one with huge discounts or as a depreciated used car. I wouldn’t want a Lincoln MKT, even with big discounts. I do like the Flex.

        Agree about the ZDX – it’s a terrible design and an embarrassment to Honda. Judging by the sales (or lack thereof), nearly everyone agrees with you.

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    The CCD will be standard on all 2013 MKS models, not just the EcoBoost. CCD should do more than allow a sportier drivIng experience, it will improve the ride regardless of driving style or road conditions. Combined with a hp bump to 300hp, and the addition of the torque vectoring control that helps the Focus get rave reviews for handling, this is more than just a simple facelift.

    I’ll look forward to what I hope is a fair and honest review of this car when TTAC gets the chance. My guess is that all of the changes together as a whole will leave a dramatically different impression than the previous MKS did.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      When I saw these photos this morning, the first thing that came to mind was “I waited 4 years for this?!” While the upgrades are more than a simple restyle of the grill, these vehicles needed way more visual improvement than just grills and taillights. Heck, the 2013 Mustang got a more comprehensive makeover from the major 2011 update than these aged Lincoln designs did. Too little. That MKZ better be diamonds.

    • 0 avatar
      Paul Richards

      It’s a shame, NulloModo, that you’re one of the very few around here that “gets it”. The improvements you mentioned are a major reason why this car will be a leader in its segment. At least from a quality standpoint. Here’s to hoping the sales will follow because it’s certainly deserving.

  • avatar
    Sundowner

    where did the development money go?

    • 0 avatar
      Chicago Dude

      Keep in mind that in North America, the Lincoln MKS sells at roughly the same pace as the Audi A6. Audi, of course, has the rest of the world to make up volume.

      If Lincoln is going to stay a North American-only brand, they will have to make do with less development money. But even with less development money they are keeping pace with the superior car that has more development money spent on it. That is a really good sign.

      Mr. “One Global Ford” Mullaly needs to make a decision. Either shut down Lincoln or take it world-wide (and spend the same on development that Audi does).

    • 0 avatar
      dtremit

      What development money? This is a mid-cycle facelift. A-pillar forward and new taillights.

      The real money is being spent on the new cars we haven’t seen yet — MKZ and the Escape derivative.

  • avatar
    Sinistermisterman

    Fail. Next.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    As an avid owner/enthusiast of Nissan and Ford products, I can’t understand for the life of me why Ford won’t use the same formula that Nissan uses with the…

    370Z, Infiniti G, and Infiniti M, Infiniti FX and Infiniti EX. All use Nissan’s FM platform. While the Infiniti G has some spillage from the Z (i.e. you know they’re closely related from how the G drives), it’s a successful formula for great RWD/AWD cars.

    The Mustang can likely be fitted with IRS, stretched and tweaked into a 4 door car. I’m no automotive engineer, but if Ford can turn the Taurus into an Explorer, I’m sure the Mustang can be a 4-Door Sport sedan with a helluva motor to compete with the compact luxury juggernauts of the industry.

    Someone please tell me if what I’m saying isn’t possible, because I’ve been preaching this for a while and no one is telling me it’s a stupid idea or that it’s just impossible.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      It’s not impossible but why would they take a step back more than a decade? The Mustang is a “downgraded” version of the old LS platform.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        The Jaguar XF still uses the 4 wheel control arm suspension version of the DEW98 platform. This is the confusion that results when you intentionally go from producing mediocre modern cars like the LS to retrotech marketing opportunities like the 2005 Mustang. Ford needs better customers before they’ll have any motivation to build better cars. They can build whatever they want to for the ones they have, and that isn’t a situation likely to change before the current management regime cashes out.

    • 0 avatar
      outback_ute

      They’d need to resurrect the global rwd platform to do that – I hope they do. Lincoln, Mustang, Falcon, Taurus replacement

    • 0 avatar
      dtremit

      Frankly, I doubt Nissan would develop the FM today if they didn’t already have it.

      Development costs for a shared car platform are enormous. And what does Nissan have to show for it? Not much. The G sold about 30,000 units in the US last year. The M, EX, and FX together sold about 15,000 units. I can’t find full year 2010 sales figures for the Z, but it’s less than 1,000 a month. That puts total FM platform sales in the US at about 60k — or about 15k less than the Mustang alone. (I realize these are only US sales, but if we’re thinking about Lincoln, it’s apt.)

      A clean-sheet-of-paper platform comparable to the FM could easily cost $5B or more. It takes a long time to pay that off at 60,000 units a year. And frankly, they could build the M, EX, and FX off of more pedestrian platforms without anyone much noticing.

      As for the Mustang, as others have noted, it’s already on a ten year old platform, and when they developed the Mustang out of the LS, they stripped a lot of cost and flexibility out of it. Had to, to sell it at Mustang prices. As a result, though, it’d be hard to make a competitive luxury sedan out of it.

      Outside of enthusiasts, no one cares much about whether the platform underlying a car is FWD or RWD — particularly in an AWD-equipped car. Given how many challenges they have in rebuilding their brand, Ford is probably smart to focus on things other than platform for Lincoln right now. They need to invest in powertrain, styling, tech, and interior quality to get people into the showrooms.

  • avatar
    hreardon

    To have a successful brand you must first have something that you stand for that is distinguishable and then you must have the resources to push that message for years before you may have much impact upon the market.

    Audi has been pushing itself as the all wheel drive manufacturer of choice for 30 years now, and I would argue that it is only in the last 10 years that this has really started to pay off. Granted, there are many reasons for their recent success, but my point is that they have pushed the same brand “message” for 30+ years in the US before hitting paydirt. That’s a lot of lean years.

    I’ve said it before and will repeat it here: Lincoln lacks any and all definition and as a result they are little more than a trimline in the Ford portfolio. Even Cadillac’s Art & Science messaging is fairly coherent and looks like that if they stay with it, will pay dividends down the road. Lincoln? Not so much.

    Build a successor to the ’63 Continental. Not necessarily in the Continental’s image, but in its spirit. But first of all, define what the heck the brand is supposed to stand for and stick with it with the recognition that you’ll never be able to be all things to everyone, that you’ll sometimes fall out of favor with the market and fail and that you’ll need to spend big bucks and lots of years to do so.

    If you cannot answer the base question: “who/what am I?” Then as a brand they simply do not deserve to exist. There are plenty of luxury plates out there, some better than others, but the successful ones have self awareness, brand solidity, continuity and consistency. Hell, even BMW recognized their lame “Joy” campaign was a disaster. Point being: they knew and know, who they are.

  • avatar

    “Fair and Balanced” counterpoint here: http://images.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/Picture-634.png

  • avatar
    mjz

    Makes Chryler’s redo of the Sebring into the 200 look like genius. These are very weak revamps, thinner grille slats, woo-hoo.

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    As a consumer, I keep getting my MKZ’ies mixed up with my MKS’es.

    From the rear, this is a splendid looking automobile. Kudos to the rear deck treatment.

    Someone at Ford needs to ask themselves how can a Lincoln look “distinctive” from the front without looking “gauche”.

  • avatar

    Forward all those images to designdisasters.com.

    @MrWhopee: Agreed. They needed a mashup of Jaguar-Meets-Ian-Callum, only bigger, and what did they do?

    They just made the cars uglier.

  • avatar
    Mr. Spacely

    These refreshes should have happened LAST YEAR. The all-new models seem even further away now.

    Of course, these refreshes don’t look particularly good, so it probably doesn’t really matter.

    I think people have been saying it for a couple years now on this site, but the two easiest things Ford can do to save Lincoln are 1. Bring back actual names for the vehicles, and 2. Stretch the Mustang platform (or bring over the Falcon) into a legitimate RWD sport or luxury sedan.

    Oh, also, kill the MKT with fire.

  • avatar
    gessvt

    Thank you, Lincoln, for giving Ford retirees something to get excited about.

  • avatar
    getacargetacheck

    Style-wise I was expecting more. Prices are being raised which means the MKS and MKT will not pick up market share. Sales might even go down. The problem with Lincoln (and Cadillac) is that everyone remembers what those cars were when they were in their prime. To stay in the game today they have to play someone else’s game, and they have to convince everyone that they play it better all while hoping status buyers forget the land barges of the past…an almost impossible mission.

  • avatar
    mjz

    At this point, Ford should just dump the Lincoln (North American only) brand and introduce a new global Continental brand (which used to be a stand-alone brand separate from Lincoln until it became a Lincoln Continetal). They could start with the replacement for the MKZ next year. Here’s how the line-up would look:

    Lincoln MKZ = Continental Mk3 (Mark not M-K).
    Lincoln MKX = Continental Mk4X
    Lincoln MKS = Continental Mk5
    Lincoln MKT = Continental Mk6X
    New flagship sedan = Continental Mk7
    Lincoln Navigator = Continental Mk8X
    New Focus based sedan = Continental Mk1
    New Escape based CUV = Continental Mk2X

    • 0 avatar
      getacargetacheck

      Or, Ford might be better off phasing out Lincoln and replacing it with a new E-segment 4-door coupe Thunderbird halo based off the Mustang. A car like that with CLS levels of styling starting at $35K would be a winner. I’d also move the Taurus name back to the family midsize D-segment market space and get rid of the Fusion name. The current Taurus is a dud, probably in part due to the name not fitting with the upscale market segment.

      • 0 avatar
        gottacook

        This idea of “phasing out Lincoln and replacing it with a new E-segment 4-door coupe Thunderbird halo” reminds me of what Oldsmobile did nearly 20 years ago with the Aurora, which was, now that I think about it, an antecedent of the whole four-door coupe thing (a rather intimate low-ceilinged interior, frameless door glass, etc.). Olds began to use the Aurora logo on other cars in the line and was rumored to be considering renaming the whole division “Aurora”; the name “Oldsmobile” was absent from the first-generation Aurora.

        If a transition away from the Lincoln name did occur in this way, I wouldn’t mind at all. But a car of that size ought not be called “Continental,” given how mediocre the last several generations of FWD Taurus-based Continentals were – it’s too bad GM (presumably) owns the name Aurora, which might suit such a car well; I clearly recall being amazed by the futuristic Ford station wagon by that name displayed at the 1964-65 NY World’s Fair.

  • avatar
    NJ Pilot

    Blech! looks like Pontiac grills, and not from the good years.

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    Back end is ok, but who will ever see it after running away from that hideous front-end?

  • avatar
    mjz

    The press release says the MKS is all-new from the A-pillar forward. Really? If so, they should have saved the money, because it sure doesn’t look significantly different than the current model.

  • avatar
    JSF22

    The bottom line is, unless they are going to build the Continental Concept they showed 11 years ago in Detroit, they should just hang it up.

  • avatar
    meefer

    Ford must want to kill Lincoln at this point. They’re introducing everything backwards. Ecoboost, SYNC, MyTouch all came out on Fords first and trickled up to Lincolns. If Ford doesn’t think Lincoln is strong enough of a brand to carry demand for a year for new tech, why should we?

  • avatar
    Amendment X

    Meet the new boss… same as the old boss!

  • avatar
    mcs

    Lincoln is going to have a bigger styling issue when Ford starts implementing styling from the Evos Concept – the Aston Martin looking styling. Ford will look more like the premium brand compared to Lincoln. I think the new Lincoln styling has a cheap look to it. Put an MKF next to a new Fusion with the Evos styling and I’d bet most consumers would think the Fusion was the more expensive car.

    I agree that they need to get rid of Lincoln. Then bring back Continental as a super-premium brand starting at $80k and turning the engineers loose to create some really great cars.

  • avatar
    Joss

    That’s it Ford, raise the Lincoln decoy – keep GM over tuned on Cadillac.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    The new Lincolns have nice interiors, but I wouldn’t get one, because I wouldn’t want baby whale sharks following me home.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Overly simplistic Lincoln renewal plan in 3…2…1…

    First dump the acronyms. Lincolns are supposed to have names for the models, names for the trims, names for the wheels.

    Heck, some even have a name for their roof.

    Second, redo all the front fascias within the next twelve months. The face of Lincoln looks like either a ‘deformed chrominated squid’ (a.k.a. MKT) or a ‘protruding warthog of seventies flashbacks) (MK-XYZ).

    Third, focus on luxury. Everybody these days is cheapening their interiors and making them look like the equivalent a video game console. Lincoln’s leather should be thick and aromatic. The interior should be laden with wood that has depth and substance. And the engine should be a big hunkin’ engine that outgun everythings in it’s class.

    Don’t worry about it performing like the imports. Heck, don’t even bother. Make it ride and drive like an American steed. Think about the distinctive rumble and ride of a Harley. Make the Lincoln as distinctive and different from the competition (and other Fords) so that there is no mistaking the pure Americana that is Lincoln.

    Finally, let MyTouch develop. Allow customers to upgrade their multimedia systems without having to go to the dealer… and think about offering a ‘lifetime’ package instead of the typical by the month/year subscription.

    • 0 avatar
      faygo

      “Second, redo all the front fascias”

      other than MKX – which is pretty successful – and Navigator – isn’t same styling language currently, sells at small but meaningful (profitable) levels – all others will have been refreshed. if it’s not to everyone’s liking, so be it. it will be consistent.

      “Third, focus on luxury”

      I have not compared A to B, but both MKS & MKT were noted as having upgraded craftsmanship in their interiors. they were already pretty nice, if not Germanic in their design & execution. shot of super-premium brands, Audi still does amazing stuff. the S7/S8 are really superb.

      “Don’t worry about it performing like the imports.”

      if people like imports for whatever reason, one can’t ignore the things they do well. doing them well with a coherent message is a trick, one I’m not sure you just do overnight, nor can you do too blatantly – people don’t like being told “this is cool, you should buy it”, something has to appeal on a basic, gut level, something which is hard to do.

      “Finally, let MyTouch develop.”

      this is already going on. the updates to the initially released MyFordTouch is updatable, at no charge via USB drive which will be sent out to all customers. I suspect that downloadable updates are completely feasible and coming. it may be more comfortable for some customers to get something in the mail vs downloading & upgrading themselves initially.

  • avatar
    faygo

    one thing to consider when criticizing the speed (or lack thereof) over which the Lincoln line-up has been revised is timing and spending.

    as much as everyone wants to talk about how much quicker the industry is now than in the past, it’s still a non-trivial effort to do the amount of engineering involved in these updates. and when you count back from now to when the decisions to go forward were made, you end up in mid-2009, with Ford not yet out of the woods economically, without any indication of the coming success of the plans executed post-crash.

    at that point, trying to spend big on very small volume luxury models would have gotten the product planners laughed out of their first discussion with management. refreshed Edge/MKX (which have done well AFAIK), Fiesta, Focus, new, more efficient truck powertrains, hell even Raptor and Mustang money would have been (and was) better spent. meanwhile, the Fusion/Mondeo/MKZ program has been a huge undertaking and will bear very attractive fruit in a few weeks at the Detroit show. additionally, at that point, Ford was getting started paying down it’s debt while GM and (to a much lesser extent) Chrysler were able to spend freely, having limited debt post-bankruptcy. their borrowing costs were higher, but their debt service was much, much, much lower.

    the cadence for updating the D-cars (including Taurus) with updated MyFordTouch and normal mid-cycle freshening actions is to be expected. the suspension changes put forward the emphasis on unique Lincoln handling and technology DNA. that sort of thing isn’t sexy and unfortunately doesn’t sell (many) cars, but it makes those which do sell that much more recommendable to others or favorably reviewable. within the limited scope available, the very subtle start of a new styling direction is understandable. it’s not earth-shattering, but it’s a start.

    Lexus nor Audi have been hurt by not offering volume (or any in Audi’s case) models with RWD in their recent success. BMW will prove that no one cares what sort of engine is under the hood when people start paying $50k+ for a 528i with a turbo 4 (base 528i is $48k before basically any options) or $45k for a Z4. RWD nor V8s nor particular pieces of technology make a premium brand. something people want and want to be seen in do. it remains to be seen whether that’s where Lincoln can end up, when.

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    I think the main thing Cadillac and Lincoln have to understand if they are going to be known as ‘luxury’ cars again, is that people buying luxury cars aren’t looking for a ‘deal’ or a ‘bargain’. Rich people who wants a cheaper car doesn’t buy a luxury car. You don’t see Porsche bragging about the 911 turbo being cheaper than a similar Ferrari, or Bentley saying their new model is cheaper than a similar S-class.
    Luxury car buyers buy prestige and a unique experience. They don’t buy Armani because it’s cheaper than Dolce&Gabbana…
    If they (American ‘luxury’ brands) would just charge more for their cars (that’s actually all they have to do), and let people know that their cars are more expensive, people would look at their buyers and think: ‘wow, he doesn’t care what the car costs, he must have way to much money’. And that is the feeling luxury car buyers want. They want to be looked up to by the ‘common’ people.
    They want to feel rich, and you don’t get that with people knowing you made a bargain. Certainly not when ‘common people’ can afford the same car you drive…


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