By on April 17, 2012

That split-grille that graces the front of the 2013 Lincoln MKZ? Don’t look for it on every single Lincoln product going forward.

The “waterfall” grille found on the MKZ, MKT and MKS won’t be part of the brand’s identity. Instead, Mays says

“You have the outside perimeter of the headlamp and grille. That’s what makes a Lincoln. I don’t want to confine the design team to just one grille texture.”

I’m not sure if your average bystander will be able to spot a Lincoln at 50 paces due to those obscure design traits, but as Mays said, it takes several years to build the brand up. Lincoln may want to move quickly.

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30 Comments on “Lincoln MKZ Grille May Not Spread Its Wings...”


  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    It’s a tough task to guild the lily on a Ford Fusion just enough to call it a Lincoln and not create something tasteless.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      No, no, no, no, you have it all wrong.

      It has the biggest sunroof on the planet and that whale baleen grille is just – awwww shucks – just look at it. You can’t call that badge engineering. Just ask Jack.

      Now the Impala, XTS, and LaCrosse, any baboon can see they share the exact same sheet metal and interior bits – and the nerve to include the same engines across the line up. THAT is badge engineering.

      A Camry to a Lexus ES is not badge engineering however – those body panels are different, just like on the Impala and LaCro…oh never mind. You had it right, but a Ford Fusion with the V6 and enjoy your almost Lincoln.

      You had it right the first time. But the loaded Fusion with the V6

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Wow another bloated squinty windowed plain slab sided sedan with a comical looking grille with little identity that could have a foreign badge on it. Lincoln is so lost that they are now pillaging through lost design themes from General Motors now defunct Oldsmobile division with a front end and grille design for what would have been the next Intrigue.

  • avatar

    indistinguishably ugly

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    Lincoln/Ford never learned their lesson from the success of their stretched Taurus/hot selling Continental. They added rear seat leg room with the added wheelbase, put in a long hood and long rear deck, added a vertical back window and level roofline and a classy stand up grille, and filled the car with classic luxury design cues, and the Conti sold like hotcakes, despite a pedestrian drivetrain.

    When they issued a new model with a more muscular drivetrain, but without the traditional luxury design cues and features, producing a less distinctive car, the new model’s sales dried up. Only the Town Car retained the cues and features, and it sold well for much longer, until a vehicle of that size became a low volume dinosaur.

    Apparently, nobody asked the buyers what they liked about the pocket battleship Continental, and Lincoln/Ford people went ahead with swoopy designs loaded with toys, cars that can now be mistaken for Hyundais. If you’re going to build luxury cars to sell, shouldn’t you have an idea what luxury means to the customers?

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Ford and GM have a long way to go to compete with what buyers relate to as luxury cars; Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Lexus.

      One of my neighbors moved to my part of the country from NJ and formerly drove a Towncar. He chose to buy an RX350, not an MKX, because it was better all around.

      Another traded his MKZ for an E-320 for the same reason.

      Styling is one thing, but merely upgrading a run-of-the-mill Ford product by slapping a Lincoln badge on it doesn’t put it in the same class as a real luxury car. Not even close.

      Frankly, I’m surprised that Alan Mulally, who used to own an LS-460, didn’t tell the boys and girls at Ford to use that as a template for future Lincoln products, or at least a boiler plate for the interiors.

      We owned a Towncar for many years. My wife drove it daily for her real estate work. But no more. Nowadays it’s a Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland Summit. Before that a Highlander Limited. Luxury AND reliability. What’s not to like? Styling? Not as gaudy as Lincoln either.

      • 0 avatar
        28-cars-later

        I agree its a shame they just really aren’t trying with Lincoln anymore, the Town Car was the end… one question though when did it happen where Grand Cherokee somehow equates to reliability?

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        LOL, 28-cars! It hasn’t happened yet, that I know of, but I am somewhat pleasantly surprised that my wife’s 2012 JGC with over 6K on the odo hasn’t had to go back to the dealership for warranty repair so far, like our Towncar did (twice in the first year alone).

        OTOH, her 2008 Highlander with nearly 80K on the clock now has never been back for anything, since I do oil and filter changes myself on all our vehicles.

        But in the case of both the JGC and Highlander, I like the interiors better than I did the leather interior of my neighbor’s former MKZ. Both are certainly more plush and luxurious than that of the MKZ.

        Our Towncar served us long and it served us well, but it was far from trouble-free. I replaced a lot of stuff on it, much of it with less than 70K on the clock.

        With the exception of the transmission rebuilt at 62K, which was done in El Paso, TX, and the AC rebuilt at 65K, which was done at a local repair shop belonging to an old Air Force buddy of mine, I replaced the alternator, water pump, fuel pump, driver-side-window motor, HVAC motor, wiper motor, exhaust manifold gaskets, exhaust pipe gasket, L&R head gaskets, and a few other minor irritants, most with under 70K on the odo.

        That may be anecdotal, but I’m betting I’m not the only one who had to endure the strife of owning a Ford product.

        I’m wary of people who claim to have owned a Ford or Lincoln product for over a million miles without so much as an oil change. That’s exaggerated, I know, but you would be surprised how many Ford fanboys tell such lies.

        So, styling may be one thing. Like beauty, it’s all in the eye of the beholder. But if Lincoln was really such a hot commodity, they would be selling better than they actually do.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        I don’t think Alan Mulally wants to keep the Lincoln.

    • 0 avatar
      28-cars-later

      I agree Lorenzo, and then when the last generation debuted, it was even bigger than the mid ninety’s ‘sporty’ Conti, IIRC it was a hair smaller than the Town Car. Some buyers still wanted the smaller packaged with all of the right cues and Lincoln missed it gave them the LS which is another ballpark compared to the Taurus based Conti. You’d think they would have learned and given the MKZ these little perks to differentiate them from the Fusion/Milan, but alas.

  • avatar
    Steve-O

    Reserve judgement on the design until you see it in person–it doesn’t translate well in pictures. I finally got a look at it in the flesh at the NYIAS and I thought it looked great, especially the rear end. It was elegant and distinctive enough not to be mistaken for anything else. The front clip is the weak link, so they may need to keep tweaking this look before it looks just right.

  • avatar
    SilverHawk

    At the LA Show, the Lincoln people made it clear that the new grill on the MKS/MKT was not the future look of Lincoln. “Wait for the New York Show” they said. Now, the grill on the NY debutante, MKZ, is disclaimed as the “look”. When your basing your line on Ford models, there has to be an exterior design element that is readily identified by consumers, and the grill is the easiest way to accomplish that. It seems trivial, but it actually works. “The outside perimeter of the headlamp and grill” is just too subtle. Mays can do better than that.

  • avatar
    Mr. Spacely

    I actually liked the Mercurys grilles up to their phase-out. I wish Lincoln co-opted that to replace the whale smile.

    I still can’t believe how stubborn Ford/Lincoln are when it comes to these doofy MK-names. Dropping them in favor of actual names is the single easiest, cheapest fix they can do for this otherwise dying brand.

  • avatar
    naterator

    I had a 1998 Mark VIII LSC. Toreador Red on chrome Octastars. Stunning. That was a Lincoln.

    A buddy’s dad had a 1996 Town Car Congressional Town Sedan. Triple Black. That was a Lincoln.

    Another buddy’s mom had a 1992 Town Car in Crystal Blue with a white top and white interior. That was a Lincoln.

    Father in law briefly owned an MKZ. I called it “Dr. Teeth” (from the Muppets) because of the atrocious grille. Then I just felt sorry for him when I saw the P-R-N-D-L on the shifter.

    Oh, Lincoln.

    How I pity thee and hope you find your way back to your large, chrome-laden, floaty, ostentatious identity one day.

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    In the sense of grille-design-gate, if Steve Jobs had designed it, he probably say: “You’re looking at it wrong!”

    But to be honest, what self-respecting 1%-er would want to drive around in a car which takes its grille theme froma Guy Fawkes mask?

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    Could someone here please tell me what YOU consider attractive styling on a car in this segment. Please leave out any Audi’s due to default. My wife has an 2007 ES350 and her boss drive a 2008 Camry and I see them park beside each other every day at her job. Now the inside is indeed different however you are blind and kidding your self if you think that they look that much different on the outside then the NEW MKZ and Fusion. There are subtle hints like the lower roof line and higher beltline however thats about it. They look alot alike. No saying I like any of these but just saying come up with a better looking care in YOUR OPINION.

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    I think pretty much everyone agrees Ford gave the better looking front end/grill to the Fusion. As I said in another thread about this car the grill looks J.C. Whitney aftermarket and is reminiscent of Oldsmobiles of 20+ years ago. Too bad, rest of the car looks decent and IMO the interior is a knockout.

  • avatar
    Mr Nosy

    So a grille ,or”headlight grille surround”,is the biggest idea being used to develop interest in a luxury division of a company that’s been whittled down to two “core divisions”,down from seven.Whilst Ford has got this, and that,and gee whiz,and wow!Lincoln has a game plan to revive itself with a new grille concept.I’d have to say Mr.Mulally should be getting only 50% of that bonus check.Of course that’s corporate America and CEO pay,get it all before the job is finished.

  • avatar

    I agree. When even Hyundai and Kia (once hard-pressed advocates of the ambiguous ‘cheaper by the dozen’ appearance outfit)both have tasteful and recognizable front-fascias and other such trademarks, the (former) pride and joy of American luxury motoring really needs to take a heard look at itself…

  • avatar
    OliverTwist

    Ah, the Pringles Moustache!

    http://reneesbookaddiction.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/pringles.jpg

  • avatar
    CRConrad

    Well, good for them!

    They must have finally realised that the whole “Wings of a Bird” thingy was already claimed by Nissan.


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