The big auto news on Twitter this morning – Lincoln is now known as “Lincoln Motor Company”, and they’ll be rolling out the name change with a brand new Superbowl ad. That’s great, but where’s the product?
As it stands now, Lincoln’s product lineup is in shambles. The new MKZ may be stunning and beautifully appointed, but the existence of the Ford Fusion makes the car irrelevant, and the $50,000 pricetag for well equipped models is an absolute farce given the strength of every other competitor in the segment. The same can be said for…just about every other vehicle in the brand’s lineup, where the Ford equivalent is equally appealing and far cheaper. Even the Navigator, which at one time had some real street cred, fail to launch, and allowed the Cadillac Escalade to become the déclassé luxury vehicle of choice.
Legions of people with much more experience and wisdom have written about Lincoln’s pitfalls and how the brand can save itself from oblivion, so I’ll steer clear of those prognostications. But it doesn’t take a genius to see that this whole retro theme (which Lincoln has been playing up heavily at auto shows with displays of classic vehicles) is a non-starter. Nobody outside of Ford is going to use the name “Lincoln Motor Company” and the retro theme clashes directly with the tech-heavy, futuristic-looking product lineup being offered. As it stands now, Lincoln is best known for 1) the Town Cars that pick people up from the airport and 2) the 1963 Continental that Johnny Drama drove on Entourage. There’s going to be a long and arduous road ahead for Lincoln if they want to make any kind of headway – and a name change should be the last thing on their radar.
But that’s not all. Automotive News is reporting that Lincoln is showing their desperation by announcing an initative to “crowdsource” their Superbowl ads, with talk show host Jimmy Fallon acting as “curator”. When car companies start hiring barely relevant B-List celebrities and throw around buzzwords like “curate”, it may as well be a death rattle.