By on December 3, 2012
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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.

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136 Comments on “Lincoln Announces Name Change, Nobody Cares...”


  • avatar
    mbaruth

    What it WILL do is piss off a bunch of dying Lincoln dealers who will now have to pay their own money to re-brand their showrooms. Lincoln already has draconian marketing guidelines. This, along with the death of co-op, will be a nail in Lincoln (Motor Company)’s coffin.

    • 0 avatar
      Neumahn

      Lincoln needs to build something like this…

      http://www.noahmallin.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/ford_interceptor-concept_r6.jpg

      But I would use a variation of the fusion grill or something else, just not that grill. Here is another photo of this beauty:

      http://desktop-wallpapers.net/wallpapers/cars/171/1280-Ford-Interceptor-Concept.jpg

      • 0 avatar
        akitadog

        I absolutely loved that concept when I saw it at the Washington Auto Show, and I was telling the Ford spokesman/model that this NEEDS to be the next Crown Vic. Of course, they didn’t listen.

        Though I think the Lincoln cues should be more like this Continental variant:

        http://www.fordmuscleforums.com/attachments/garage/5411d1221872770-copycats-why-lincoln-continental-concept-02.jpg

      • 0 avatar
        Neumahn

        I like it but the grill I am still not pleased with. Everything else looks awesome. That was built on an elongated Mustang chasis. A Lincoln Continental like this would be my next car for sure. I love the presence of it.

  • avatar

    it’s not the division name that needs to be changed, it’s the cars themselves. foolish corporate executives have some pretty goofy ideas.

    • 0 avatar
      JK43123

      Agreed, and how about changing the vehicle names? How about Continental or something, anything, other than MK??

      John

      • 0 avatar
        Steve-O

        Who cares what the model names are? All that matters is the product itself and how good a luxury car it is. I like that they are (finally!) putting in a real effort to save the marque.

        Its a very attractive car in the flesh, having seen one at the NYIAS last year. The big Targa-style roof is a cool feature, too. So lets all reserve judgement until the thing is out on the roads and people get a chance to size it up.

      • 0 avatar

        “Who cares what the model names are?”

        Because nobody, including lay people, can remember what they are. Especially when you put the differentiating character at the end of the acronym.

        Person A: What’s that car?

        Person B: Its that new MK something.

        Person A: Oh… *car fades from memory*

        Branding fail.

    • 0 avatar
      geo

      But on the other hand, Buickman, GM’s awful cars throughout last three decades weren’t the real problem; they just needed to apply your superior marketing techniques?

    • 0 avatar
      Neumahn

      I agree as well, they should not be focusing on renaming, changing showrooms and giving out gifts. They should be focused on products. If they build what people want to buy then the customers will arrive. This is not at all the way Mulally normally operates but this is really a marketing driven exercise. THey are just taking existing Ford products, adding luxury makeovers and then trying to sell them through the power of marketing. This is doomed to failure.

      FORD, please build a slab sided, suicide door, monster of a sedan with rear wheel drive, a grill that is an ode to 1930′s Lincoln, rear tail lights in art deco style (similar to Bangles E60 BMWs), and last but not least a dual eco-boost V8. That would be F-ing sweeeeeet.

      You could even have no wheel cutouts for the back tires now that everyone is running on run flats.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Ford has already screwed over Lincoln Dealers by forcing them to expend a ton of $$$ in revamping their dealerships in terms of physical upgrades (mostly cosmetic, exterior changes), without bothering to supply any real, fresh product (just a bunch of way more expensive but uglier worked over Fords; the Baleen Whale grille Fords).

    In other news, Ford has recalled Fusions and Escapes using the 1.6 liter motors and has said that it is– and I quote– “trying to find out what causes the overheating problem” that is helping these engines decide to catch fire.

    Since Ford hasn’t diagnosed the specific problem nor a fix for it, new owners of these vehicles get a courtesy loaner vehicle from Ford for an unknown time, while Ford attempts to diagnose the specific problem and design a solution for it. Fun times.

    I brought up the fact many times that manufacturers going with smaller and smaller motors (now with turbos attached) hauling relatively heavy ass vehicles around is not going to be a good trend since the laws of thermodynamics (i.e. heat soak) and physics still apply no matter what claims are made about newer, better, more complete design, manufacturing techniques and claims of uber-materials being used, and many apparently “in the know” mocked such statements.

    Oh well.

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      I am dying laughing.

      Anyone affected by this should read the details of the recall. “customer will be put into another car.” So if you don’t drive away in a Navigator or Shelby while they troubleshoot, you should ask for your money back.

      The engine is going away for 2014 due to emissions and taxes, so there is your solution. This was first ID’d in the escape’s recall of scored fuel lines (well documented all over the web). Time will tell if the 2.0L will have similar issues.

      Deadweight was dead-on a year or so ago. Admittedly, I was one of your skeptics until the ‘original’ 1.6L recall. Then I realized there wasn’t much of a difference between a 1.6 turbo direct inject fuel line and that of a n/a mill.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        What do you mean the 1.6 liter is “going away?”

        It’s being used in the 2013 Fusion and Escape as the ecoboost motor. In fact, it made its debut in the 2013 version of both these new models.

        You’re saying that the 1.6 liter motor Ford is now using in the 2013 Fusion won’t be used after 2013?

        I’m not being sarcastic. I didn’t know Ford used this motor for one model year (technically), and if so, am surprised they debuted the 2013 Fusion using it as the ecoboost motor.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        Indeed, I thought the 1.6L was supposed to be the big-volume workhorse for Ford’s big-volume lines. Ford would suffer a massive financial blow if they pulled it so soon.

        Perhaps it’s a different engine that’s going away?

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        Yes, it’s going away for the reasons stated in NA.

    • 0 avatar
      wmba

      I’ve been a physicist and mechanical engineer for well over 40 years. I’ve never seen or heard the term “heat soak” in conjunction with the laws of thermodynamics.

      Perhaps you can elucidate?

      Are you really saying that the close confines of a car’s engine compartment may mean a hot turbo might catch a nearby object on fire? Because underpowering a vehicle, like virtually all real working trucks for the last 100 years, doesn’t seem to have caused a multitude of fires.

      If one is looking for a marque that really catches on fire, try Ferrari, with nary a turbo in sight. Especially considering the small numbers produced. Underpowered? I think not.

      Pundits railing on about “small” engines with turbos being no good to power passenger vehicles always bring up things like, “oh, they’re gaming the EPA mileage tests”, or “those small engines will fail due to being too highly stessed” or some such red herring.

      None of these pundits are actually engineers, of course. They just like to sit off on to the side and lob bombs of criticism, because they’re just smarter than the people actually performing the development work. They could have been better engineers than the ones actually doing the work, but decided that their talents would be better employed at being a critic.

      The Europeans have been making turbo diesels for decades. They have been making small turbo gas engines for just as long, and not an EPA test to be gamed in sight. Of course, European highways and byways are littered with the burned-out remnants of small cars because of the short-sightedness of their manufacturers. These poor folk forgot to consult the Internet, where any home expert could have told them how to do their jobs properly. Talk about lack of due diligence on their part!

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        We can’t learn anything or change our minds if no one ever shows us any different.

        Rather than spending several paragraphs chastising us for not being mechanical engineers, perhaps you could explain (or provide a link) why placing a sub-2.0L turbo in a 3500lb vehicle should not be a reliability concern for buyers.

        What people are concerned about is the thought that automakers are sacrificing long-term (maybe even short-term) reliability for maximum MPG ratings. Kind of like how in your example Ferrari is sacrificing reliability for maximum performance. Do you have full confidence that this is not the case with Ford and other manufacturers?

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        He doesn’t know what heat soak means, by his own statement, as apparently that term doesn’t appear in university textbooks nor other publications familiar to him.

        Since that’s the case, I didn’t bother to respond.

        It’s not an insult, but a means of saving time.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        I’ve got to agree with DeadWeight. If he really can’t figure out what heat soak is from context, or take the time to google it, then what is the point?

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “perhaps you could explain (or provide a link) why placing a sub-2.0L turbo in a 3500lb vehicle should not be a reliability concern for buyers.”

        Reliability is largely a function of engineering and parts quality. Most of the most reliable cars sold in the US today have small engines.

        You’re assuming (wrongly) that stresses lead to premature mechanical failure, and that premature failure is largely a byproduct of stress. But it’s usually bad design that leads to premature mechanical failure, regardless of the power output. An engine produces a given amount of power and heat, and the rest of the drivetrain and other components have to be designed well enough to handle it.

        In the old days, it was necessary to allow a turbo to idle after hard use, in order to let the cooling system cool things down prior to shutting off the water pump. But turbos have improved and are far more reliable than they were in the past. The internet alarmists may believe otherwise, but they are mistaken.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        “perhaps you could explain (or provide a link) why placing a sub-2.0L turbo in a 3500lb vehicle should not be a reliability concern for buyers.”

        Because that sub-2.0L turbo has more power than a 3.0 V6 from 25 years ago? (think Vulcan, 1st gen Taurus) Didn’t we just have this discussion last week? Why do you think the modern design sub-2.0L made 25 years later would be that much more stressed than the post-Malaise Vulcan?

        Beyond that, it’s what pch101 and wmba said.

        Btw, overheating is a different issue from “heat soak.” If you’re just driving along casually on a freeway, you won’t have issues from heat soak, but you could have issues with overheating if something is wrong. In Ford’s case, the fire risks for prior Escape/Fusion recalls, if I remember correctly, have been for fuel line breaks and for plugs missing in the engine that caused coolant to leak onto hot exhaust parts. Unclear what the exact issue is on this recall of 89,000 cars.

        Anyway, the heatsoak-fire “connection” is cited quite a bit by armchair “engineers” but there likely isn’t much of a connection:

        http://cjbfire.com/Heatsoak.pdf

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        Pch101 nailed it on the head. My fears with the applications have been the high pressure fuel delivery. My engineer friends further support my worries by saying they’ve seen issues with potential fuel collection near electrical connectors on the injectors (on other applciations / different OEM / different supply base).

        As for heat / material properties: if modern CAD / FMEA analysis would fail durability and ‘life’ simulations – I would be very surprised. I think you guys are being a little hard on wmba.

    • 0 avatar

      So the “heat soak” is a law of thermodynamics now, and the thermodynamics is not a part of physics?

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        yes, it’s “internet physics” — aka talking out of your arse

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        So, are you disputing that “heat soak” is an actual thermal process that’s more intense with respect to relatively small displacement, forced induction motors?

        You can claim whatever you wish to about the consequences of heat soak or alleged lack thereof, but if one were to do thermal imaging on a recently driven but now non-running motor, could you not do thermal mapping of the motor (and engine bay), and wouldn’t, all things being equal, such motors I referred to above have more intense hot spots than their normally aspirated brethren?

        Further, Pch101 has what he did state exactly correct, but he didn’t provide a truly full and complete response regarding the trial and tribulations of Ford’s 1.6 liter ecoboost motor: The cause of fires previously noted in such units appears to be related to lines carrying combustible liquids failing, if Ford’s findings are credible, HOWEVER, this has not been the cited cause for the recent rash of fires in the same motors that served as cause for the latest recall- yet.

        As a final note, excessive heat and excessive pressure both exact an ominous toll of just about every component of an internal combustion engine.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        You were right to question the motor for reasons related to a turbo / DI application, you’re just incorrect in assuming any of these issues have anything to do with thermal cycling. The packaging of the turbo isn’t as horrendous as you’re making it out to be. I’m only knowledgeable of the 3.5 GTDI and the sources of heat are down and away from most of the engine bay, not to mention there is ample heat shielding.

        We can all look back and say you were right 5 years from now, but I think we’ll be looking back at the 1.6 as the modern day Northstar (hopefully not that bad). Haters gonna hate.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Ford has itself admitted it doesn’t yet know what is now causing the latest round of fires with the 1.6 liter ecoboost Fusion & Escape.

        Are you claiming you can rule out excessive heat (regardless as to what component[s] it is affecting) as a cause of the latest issues?

        After reading Pch101′s post again, it dawns on me that every single time (seemingly) I’ve read about how “modern” forced induction motors have (essentially) been designed & built to be reliable, I default back to my “internet” experience of not only seeing/reading about/hearing about larger displacement, more expensive, and presumably more robust turbocharged motors in cars and trucks suffer far more reliability and longevity issues than their naturally aspirated brethren, but that this must be double-ly or triple-ly so with small displacement turbocharged motors in plain jane commuter cars.

        Hell, EVEN FORD ITSELF OUTRIGHT ACKNOWLEDGES that the turbocharged motors used in its F Series trucks have a life expectancy of 150,000 miles, in what is a refreshing stroke of manufacturer candidness and forthrightness.

        Also, do you have a link that Ford is eliminating what is the new 1.6 liter motor used in the ecoboost 2013 Fusion and 2013 Escape that’s been subjected to several recalls? I did a fair amount of due diligence and could not find anything stating this.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        Any fuel leak in any motor will lead to firey whatever. I’m trying to understand how you are correlating durability / longevity to an initial quality issue.

        You’re going to have to trust my non-internet knowledge (which is like telling you to trust the internet for quality information; grain of salt, also, I should STFU). Logic tells you that the 1.6 issues are probably a 1) bad design or 2) manufacturing quality (@ OEM or supplier).

        ‘Doubly and triply so’ is speculation.

        Oh if only TTAC was not a public domain.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        No, I’m saying, connecting “heat soak” to fires is dubious at best.

        As tresmonos said, leaks of actual fluids onto the exhaust manifold can almost always cause a fire.

        If you read the link I sent above, you’d know that the exhaust manifold is not overheating from heat soak, and therefore heat soak is not causing the fires.

        Heat soak can cause other problems, e.g. it makes it hard to extract peak performance at a track. But as a daily driver, it’s not that big a deal in most cases and is not causing fires.

        Anyway, it’s not like turbos are new (as you keep suggesting in a deceptive manner). Just look at heavy duty turbodiesels. In addition, replacing a turbo isn’t that big a deal in all cases, as I pointed out in another thread — where one could get an upgraded turbo for an Audi for $330. Even if that 150K mileage number is true (which I think is suspect — 200K is probably more accurate, if not higher), $330 over 150K on an Audi is only for cheap bastards to complain about.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    It’s nice they show you an old 60s Continental, as it’s much more appealing than the new MKZ they were hocking. I guess the story is the kid grew up from poverty (living near a NASA launch site) to be some rocket scientist or some such?

    The tagline should be:

    “Lincoln. Remember what we used to sell?”

    • 0 avatar

      Brilliant

    • 0 avatar
      gottacook

      Speaking of taglines: Our local NPR affiliate periodically names Lincoln among the funding sources of Morning Edition, etc. A year ago the accompanying slogan was “It’s not just luxury/It’s smarter than that” (whatever that means). Six months ago this changed to “Now it gets interesting” (admitting that what came before was a yawn).

      So now in January, we can expect yet another slogan to go with the “renamed” division? Three slogans within a year indicates obvious desperation.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        “It’s not just luxury/It’s smarter than that” (whatever that means).

        Maybe it’s an attempt to pander to Gene Simmons’ caracature of the NPR audience?

    • 0 avatar
      roadrabbit

      Perhaps Norma Desmond as their new spokesperson? It could be played by Dan Savage in drag.

    • 0 avatar
      Acd

      How’s this:

      “Lincoln Motor Company: We’re not just tarted up Fords anymore. That was the old Lincoln. Really. We’re not. This time we mean it. Not like those other times. Just look at the cars (well just look at one of the cars, not so much at the others). Please? Hello? Is there anyone out there who cares any more?”

      • 0 avatar
        Neumahn

        “Lincoln, What Every You Want Us To Be Baby”

        • 0 avatar
          disabledvet

          What ever indeed. in 1970 and 1972 I had a new Lincoln both years..BOTH cars had the same failures at the same mileage. Heater core failure at 50,000 to 60,000 miles. NOT a cheap fix.Since 1972 I have bought another brand on purpose until I had my left leg amputated and needed more room to get in and out of the car..so I tried a 2008 Lincoln series L.Longer and more easy to enter and exit for people with mobility issues. GUESS what…this long and Ford still has the same damn problem with this newer Lincoln: heater core
          failure at 50,000 miles. Each and every car has this problem and NONE of them were recalled. How did they get away with this?

  • avatar
    james2k

    What an epic waste of time and money. Am I the only one who felt the deep cynicism between the lines? It can’t easy to spend this much money and time and say nothing of substance. It’s as if the ad execs who put this together knew damn well that this whole campaign was a useless farce but gave Ford exactly what they knew would get the cash flowing. “Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul. “

  • avatar
    mjz

    I was hoping they finally came to their senses and were going to announce new nomenclature for the individual models. What a disappointment. The current MK- is confusing and nonsensical.

    How about this instead:

    MKZ becomes: Mk3 (pronounced Mark, not M-K!)
    MKS becomes: Mk5
    New flagship sedan would be: Mk7
    New Focus based compact would be: Mk1

    MKX becomes: Mk4
    MKT becomes: Mk6
    Navigator becomes: Mk8
    New Escape based CUV would be: Mk2

    All wheel drive versions of each would be denoted by x, i.e. Mk3x.

    This is simple, easy to understand and has some distinctive and exclusive history to Lincoln.

    • 0 avatar
      mr_muttonchops

      So basically take a BMW approach to naming? Not really much better. What’s wrong with having real names anyhow? Zephyr, Continental, Capri (not to be confused with Ford or Mercury’s Capri models) are all good names.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        The same reason Cadillac can’t use their real names anymore, because the customer association with those models is an early 90s car on a mid 80s platform which was still being sold as new (to rental companies and the senile) well into the 2000s.

        Tradition is a bank. Lincoln is overdrawn.

      • 0 avatar
        mjz

        It’s better because unlike what they are currently using, M-K blah, this actually makes sense in that there is a logical sequence to it. This approach seems to have worked quite nicely for BMW, to your point.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Mk = “mark” is just silly & annoying.

      If the “mark 3″ is a model, and people keep calling generations “mark,” would we then expect to see the “Mk3 Mk5″?

      • 0 avatar
        gottacook

        Well, this is the company that gave us the Mustang II Cobra II, after all…

        If the point of the introduction of this new longer name is to emulate Bayerische Motoren Werke, then we can expect to see “LMC” as the analog of BMW. Which in turn apparently means that if the former Zephyr doesn’t receive yet another name change, we can look forward to the “LMC MKZ”…

      • 0 avatar
        disabledvet

        Yes…you’ll see them…mostly in junk yards.Another sorry let down.

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    There’s more to any auto manufacturer than a name. What Lincoln needs to be a player is luxury cars on par with Lexus, Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Infiniti and Jaguar. Those are some decent rides, all vying for the niche customer seeking quality with distinctiveness.

    Rebadging the Ford vehicle line-up and slapping a new name on them is not going to sell more Lincoln cars. We don’t need to be reminded of what rebadging did for GM, pre-bankrupture.

    What I recommend for Lincoln is better, up-to-date 5-point suspension systems, all aluminum DOHC multivalve VVT V8 and V6 engines, and 8-speed automatic transmissions. If they want to use Ford bodies at least add some pizazz to them with better engines, suspensions and transmissions.

    At least Cadillac is trying to emulate European engineering. Lincoln not so much. When you lay out that kind of dough, you want something that’s world-class, not something that is low-class and gussied up like lipstick on a pig.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      Well, the new MKZ has the distinction of being the only Fusion available with Ford’s corporate 3.7 liter V-6 (which also powers the Taurus and I don’t know what else).

      So, that’s special! ;-()

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        The 3.7L (which is a good engine) is actually not available on the Taurus. The bull has the 3.5L, the 2.0T, and the 3.5T.

        The 3.7L V6 is the BASE engine on the $22K Mustang and F-150 XL though.

        In Ford’s defense, GM does this too. The 3.6L is the only engine on the rental-queen W-body Impala, but an optional engine on the Lacrosse, ATS, and CTS.

        FEEL THE LUXURY!

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        As of late, the interior trim level in Lincoln products has improved greatly over that of the previous decades.

        I remember our 1992 Towncar with the leather seats, clad interior panels and door pulls, etc, but it really was no better than a Crown Vic or Mercury Grand Marguis, with a little more sameness sprinkled here and there, and a lot more noise-absorbing padding everywhere.

        We had a 4.6 in ours with factory dual exhausts and it was just barely able to move all that heft off a dead stop. The problem, as I see it, is that Ford tries to put too much sameness throughout its product line, thereby ending up with more mediocrity instead, throughout its product line.

        Some powertrain combinations really shine in some models, and totally bum out in others.

        So in many aspects, if Lincoln were to use top of the line engines, an advanced suspension and upgraded automatic transmissions, I think that would draw a lot of potential buyers on its own.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        ajla, I still laugh every time I see grandma, grandpa, or a rental customer driving an Impala with dual exhaust.

        highdesertcat, the 4.6 could be interesting in the upper rev ranges, part of the problem was gearing and transmission. I’m also one of those people who believes that for years Lincoln was handicapped by Ford’s ownership of Jaguar. Ford really wanted you to buy a XJ8 Vanden Plas instead of that Town Car. :)

        • 0 avatar
          disabledvet

          They did many things to drive their buyers away…most dangerous is the brake and gas pedal design and placement: too close to each other and at the same level. Makes it likely for the driver to get both pedals tromped…very dangerous..the 2008 Lincoln series L has a 4.6 Liter engine which is plenty of power.If you stomp on both brake and gas pedal the accelerator will win…this is very dangerous and there have been NO RECALLS . HUM ???

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        PrincipalDan, you’re right about the 4.6. It had a sweet spot between 3500 and 4000 rpm, which was tested every day my wife drove up US82 into the mountains.

        The 4.6 may have been slow getting off the starting line but if you could keep it in that sweet spot, in any of the gears, there seemed to be a nice balance between power, torque and smoothness.

        The VandenPlas would not have worked for my wife’s real estate business. But I’ll tell you what really worked real good and that was her dad’s 4X4 Suburbans (plural) and her 2008 Highlander, and now the Grand Cherokee of course.

        Although she is retired from selling, she still manages properties and often goes off the beaten path to get to them, like in Timberon, Mayhill and Weed.

  • avatar
    Skink

    ‘Lincoln Motor Company’ sounds antique, like the name you’d throw over in favor of ‘Lincoln’. It has that polysyllabic, Oldsmobile quality to it. Like something read from a letter from the Civil War, when even lowly enlisted men were more eloquent and florid than today’s poets.

    Then again, maybe they’re trying to evoke a spirit of handcrafted, coachbuilt, bespoke vehicles. They’re allegedly looking forward while wistfully looking back to past glory.

    Lincoln Motor Company: boldly pursuing the future. Powered by nostalgia.

    OK. We’ve seen the windup. Waiting for the ball.

  • avatar
    mjz

    The fact that they are going to waste MILLIONS of dollars for an overpriced Superbowl spot to announce that “Lincoln” is now “Lincoln Motor Company” is absolutely stupefying. Nobody will give a damn.

  • avatar
    ranwhenparked

    So, is this just a renaming of the division and dealer channel, or is this going to be the actual brand used on the cars? Becuase about the only thing that sounds dumber than “2013 Lincoln MKZ” is “2013 Lincoln Motor Company MKZ”. A longer and more convoluted brand name is the opposite of what they should be striving for, which is consistency and top of the mind brand recognition.

    This is almost as bad as post-Rambler American Motors, where cars were marketed under either the “AMC”, “American Motors”, “American Motors Corporation”, “American”, or “The Tough Americans” brand names, most of which just seemed silly.

  • avatar
    Chicago Dude

    “Hopefully Citroen won’t try and pull a Cadillac and try and chase German driving dynamics either.”

    You criticize Cadillac for trying to make Germanic cars and caution Citroen against doing the same.

    Here we have Lincoln, most definitely NOT trying to make Germanic cars. And yet you say that it is not enough.

    How about a little more detail about why it is not enough? The new MKZ is the first car to be launched under this “Lincoln Motor Company” nameplate and as far as I know, there are no reviews of it here at TTAC.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      Yeah, the usual suggestion is for Cadillac to make floaty dead-steering wheel barges instead of chasing the Germans with the ATS, because, you know, that has worked so well in recent years. Nostalgia is nice, but it has its limits (see revived Ford Thunderbird, for example).

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    They want to really shock the automotive world with a brand name change?
    Then change it to Jefferson Davis Motor Co.

  • avatar
    RatherhaveaBuick

    Terrible marketing move that will cost the division too much money that it doesn’t have. A name should be irrelevant if the product sells, and Lincolns don’t sell. They should be worrying about their vehicles instead of names.

    Why is Ford trying to distance themselves from Lincoln anyway?

    For the record, I think the MKS is beautiful…

  • avatar
    danio3834

    If I could make one request of “Lincoln Motor Company” it would be to build that awesome MKR concept from a few years ago.

    It would be the first truly lustworthy Lincoln in at least a decade.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Conquest sales from Lexus? The market will judge the MKZ harshly.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    Lincoln is showing their desperation by announcing an initative to “crowdsource” their Superbowl ads, with talk show host Jimmy Fallon acting as “curator”.

    Huh?

    • 0 avatar
      ramjetroger09

      Yes, please translate that for those of us that don’t speak marketing buzz-word bullshit.

      • 0 avatar
        Type57SC

        They don’t have the cojones of Chrysler re: super bowl ads so are hoping some comedian using input from random 16 year old will give a bit of a hip shine to Lincoln.

        The Freep article was amusing as it appears that Farley must have watched each of the last couple superbowls in a stewing pile of rage as Hyundai, VW and Chrysler lit up the place and sold the crap out of their cars using old-school advertising techniques (good story telling and high production values). The article implies that Farley only green lighted the super bowl ad after a promise that it would be different from the normal one somehow (I guess they didn’t watch the Doritos crowd sourced ads last year).

        Yikes. Didn’t this guy work for Lexus during the launch of it, when they took the luxury market by storm with great product, nice dealers and well done traditional single benefit advertising?

  • avatar
    lowsodium

    Ugh, those grills are so hideous.

  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    I was hoping that they were going to tell me about an updated F-Series in the video. The truck at the start was drop-dead sexy. Maybe they could make one that was lower to the ground with a wood slat bed floor?

    • 0 avatar
      d524zoom-zoom

      MrGreenMan……”Maybe they could make one that was lower to the ground with a wood slat bed floor?”

      I KNOW!!!! you meant to say grounded to the ground..Right?

  • avatar
    carve

    More of a name extension than a change. LOL- maybe they should’ve just come up with a random string of letters that doesn’t stand for anything.

    Better yet, how about just “Motor Kompany”- that way the “MK” naming would at least make some kind of sense.

  • avatar
    200k-min

    If they want to add “motor company” to the name maybe the product should have custom motors to their name, not just tweaked Ford motors. Didn’t someone upthread suggest VVT V-6 & V-8 motors? That would be a nice start.

    A rebadge volume seller is fine, Lexus and Audi make it work, but the flagship must be custom metal. I also personally think that the dealers need to be a stand alone experience. You don’t go to a Lexus/Toyota or Audi/VW dealer. When I looked at the ’13 Fusion my local Ford dealer was selling Lincolns right next to it. No wonder people don’t see them as a premium vehicle. Test drove an Audi and the dealer experience was completely different…in a more premium way.

    FWIW I do think Ford has good product. Lincoln could too with a little work. Personally I liked the ’13 Fusion over the ’13 A6. I’d rather keep $20k in my pocket and skip electronic doo-dads and luxury cachet, but people like that cachet…and pay for it, which Lincoln sorely needs.

  • avatar
    daviel

    If they really want to jump-start sales, make a new Town Car.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Making a new Town Car is acceptable, as long as it turns out better than our 1992 Town Car was.

      True, our 1992 was driven daily, but it required a lot more repair than we first imagined. That was OK during the warranty period, since they gave us a loaner, but after the warranty expired, I had to do all the work to keep the car on the road so my wife could show houses and properties she wanted to sell.

      Should Ford decide that a new Town Car would work in this day and age, I would like them to make it the same SIZE as a Rolls-Royce, Bentley or Maybach.

      Once the body size has been decided, put an up-to-date individually-sprung suspension under it, with a V12 or V8 coupled to an 8-speed automatic. Price it in the same league as its true competition that uses similar components.

      If Lincoln really wants to get fancy, incorporate a full-time 4WD system in ALL its Lincoln products. Chrysler has done it with the 300 and they sell like hot cakes, just like the Grand Cherokee 4WD, Mercedes ML, Audi and Mercedes 4matics.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I agree with your points, but I like how they are doing it now with AWD being optional (as 4matic is with Mercedes). Lincoln becoming poser Audi with standard AWD (and only awd) would make me sad.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Yeah, AWD is not for everyone, agreed, and it usually adds between $2500 – $4000 to the cost of the vehicle, depending on the complexity of the system.

        So this would have to be a marketing determination. My input was that if the New Lincoln of the future wants to distinguish itself, set itself apart and wrap itself in a cloak of “roadability” above and beyond the mere Fords, maybe Lincoln should consider going Automatic All-Wheel Drive in all its models.

        If it did it would be the only US luxury car maker to do so. Caddy doesn’t and Chrysler does not have a luxury vehicle line, but their 300 with AWD sells really well, as do all trims of the Grand Cherokee with AWD/4WD/Select4WD.

  • avatar
    mr_muttonchops

    I really hope the next batch of Lincoln products can pull away from their “gussied up Ford” stigma. Better engineer the platforms and engine tech underneath or something. I mean no one gives Audi much shit for using a bit of VW tech in their products, because they do enough to make the cars not only look but feel and behave differently.

    I honestly don’t see anything wrong with platform sharing, so long as it’s done really well. This is what Lincoln needs to do, if not totally revamp itself ala Cadillac or Infiniti.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    OK, Bill Ford, if you’re gonna call it “Lincoln Motor Company” I want the option of full aluminum “road wheels” with a center cap with the Lincoln gun-sight/star surrounded by the words “Lincoln Motor Company”. If you’re gonna pretend it’s 1965 again then I want a full lineup that would make Don Draper proud!

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Hmmm…yes to what you said, as I’m still trying to imagine myself in dad’s 1966 Impala, thanks to the pristine example last week over at Curbside Classic!

      Just make it three tail lights on an Impala for me and I’ll be good!

      Forget “Don Draper”, just make ME proud…

  • avatar
    snakebit

    In reference to the black Lincoln Continental convertible used in the opening credits of the HBO television show Entourage, it actually was a 1965 model, last year for that body style. In addition, IIRC, the character who usually chauffeured the boys around, when they travelled together, was ‘Turtle’, actor Jerry Ferrara.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    This is a touch late. It’s been LiMoCo for a few decades now.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “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.”

    Akin to shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic…

    • 0 avatar
      Type57SC

      BMW has their best month ever. VW storms the sales chart. GM share falls to 16%… and the Lincoln renaming is the big story? Ford must have some great PR guys. Maybe they should promote a few into marketing and product development.

  • avatar
    benzaholic

    So Lincoln Motor Company makes motors, right?
    What’s that?
    You say they just use Ford engines?
    I don’t get it.

  • avatar
    Neumahn

    The MK…name has relatively zero value. Please bring back a large, long, rear wheel drive Continental that has presence, power and luxury. Please bring a much more attractive take on the LS460L or BMW & Series. That is what the brand needs. The grils on these new Lincolns are terrible. The Fusion is so much more attractive. Perhaps the next Continental could be like the 2002 concept (http://l.yimg.com/os/290/2012/08/16/06-lincoln-continental-jpg_203543.jpg) although I hate the grill on that one too. I hear Chris Bangle is free…

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Hell, I’d just settle for distinguishable names, rather than MK[a-zA-Z], which all grep into the same bucket in my brain for some reason.

      And, if you’ve grepped through a file, you know how carefully people like me read everything. But I can’t even find the holes in the MK[a-zA-Z] namespace. And, yes, I seem to recall that the case of the letters is important, but I can’t fathom why.

      It really *IS* easier to communicate about the cars by saying “tarted up Fusion”. I have no F-ing idea whether that’s the MKA, the MKa, the MKz, MKZ, or any one of 50 other possible names. But we all know which ones the “tarted up Fusion” and the “tarted up Edge” refer to.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        Wait, there’s more!

        I’ve recently entered the luxury car income level and really can’t see myself in a BMW or a Mercedes. So I’m probably the kind of customer that Lincoln should be courting (except that I have young kid(s) and need a minivan).

        But I’m not going to go out of my way to figure out Lincoln’s nomenclature. Also, my benchmark for a car that’s worth $40k is the Volt, with it’s compelling package of futuristic green technology, interior-class, and NVH. If you want to have a shot at selling me a luxury car after I pay off the minivan, you’ve got to beat the Volt.

        P.S. My benchmark for a practical daily driver is the well-worn old Prius sitting in my driveway. That’s a really high bar, as well — my wife and I test drove a Prius V, and she vetoed buying one on the grounds that it just isn’t as good as our paid-off 2nd-gen Prius. Suits me fine, I’m waiting for something to break on that car so I can spend a weekend day tinkering on it for a change!

      • 0 avatar
        d524zoom-zoom

        ^+5000+

    • 0 avatar
      Neumahn

      What you are describing is not a Lincoln, at least not any Lincoln I would want to be seen in.

  • avatar
    2011TCCE

    Lincoln brought the new MKZ to my house last month to get my opinion of it. It was a definite step up from the awful previous edition. The new car was very high tech, with most buttons being touch sensitive, and was peppy and nice. But, it didn’t seem or feel special. It felt like a regular car that was crammed full with every bit of technology possible to distract you from the fact that the car itself was just okay. Like a Fusion or Camry or Accord is just okay. Not luxury, not econo, just okay. I found all of these gadgets to be distracting, but I don’t think I’m the target market. In fact, I don’t really know who is. A Lincoln, like an Imperial, use to be old money. A Cadillac was too flashy, like it is today. If you wanted to quietly say that you had made it in the world, you drove a Continental or a LeBaron. I think chasing BMW isn’t the direction for any American car manufacturer, because we have seen that it doesn’t work. The ‘new’ Lincoln Motor Company should get back to grace, style, old world crafstmanship with a dash of sporting. Bring back names, RWD, elegance, and identity. And please improve the atrocious dealer experience.

  • avatar
    juicy sushi

    Honestly, Ford needs to face reality and make the decision McNamara did not. Lincoln is a failed premium brand and needs to die. The brand has insufficient equity, the product line isn’t good enough and the market just too crowded. Lincoln, baring an extremely improbable business miracle, will not provide a return on what Ford invests. Just kill it and be done with the matter. If Ford is desperate to chase premium customers then it needs to buy an already established brand. Oops, they already tried that one as well.

    I think they need to kill Lincoln fast, and aggressively develop a proper range topper to replace the Taurus. Then give it a real name, perhaps Thunderbird…

    • 0 avatar

      It’s a good thing that Robert McNamara didn’t kill the Lincoln brand. Lincoln made money in the 1960s and 1970s.

      • 0 avatar
        dtremit

        Hell, they made plenty of money in the ’90s.

      • 0 avatar
        juicy sushi

        But how much money woul dhave been made by calling those same cars Fords and then saving the advertising and associated cost of the Lincoln brand.

        It is too expensive to try and launch a luxury brand from scratch, which essentially is the task with Lincoln. In particular, given the economic climate for the forseeable future, the amount of competition, and the opportunity cost of pursuing other high-margin strategies, there does not seem to be a logical business case for Lincoln. Nostalgia is insufficient to carry this nameplate.

  • avatar
    mpresley

    I’m very disappointed at the reaction here. Especially for a company trying to do something positive in this very tough economic climate. People are just too cynical, if you ask me.

    I know that that as someone whose been sitting on the fence for the past 20 years, trying to figure out a reason to buy a Em-Kay something or other, this new branding could definitely be the deal maker for me. A very exciting development. On the other hand, I think I’m going to hold out just a bit longer, at least until they bring back suicide doors, plastic burled “walnut,” blue-green velour interiors, and dual cigarette lighters in the back seat armrests.

    • 0 avatar
      SaulTigh

      I agree. Cadillac didn’t erase the stain of the Cimarron and their other awful 80′s product overnight, and everyone seemed to be rooting for them. For everyone who wants Ford to make some V12 powered, suicide door’d Rolls Royce fighter, it’s not going to happen anytime soon. Ford is smart. They’re putting a lot of effort into the MKZ, which they need to sell in higher volumes so that they can then work on the next model, until they get their whole line revamped. Also, I would think people would be used to platform sharing these days. EVERYONE does it, and it’s NOT the same as when GM literally changed badges and trim pieces back in the day.

      I’m rooting for Lincoln, but then I’m a biased FOMOCO guy at heart. I want to see this new MKZ in the flesh, and I can’t say that about many new cars that come to me in my magazine subscriptions.

    • 0 avatar
      dtremit

      Agreed. I don’t think anyone at Ford thinks this ad campaign is going to turn Lincoln around. But you can change marketing a lot faster than product. Building a foundation in media and dealerships /before/ the product launches is critical to ensuring that people are thinking about Lincoln enough to notice the cars when they launch. And let’s not forget that they are promising three future product announcements alongside the campaign.

      I think they could go in an interesting direction with this “bespoke”/”concierge” theme. It speaks to quiet American luxury — which is what Lincoln was at its best.* Whether they will succeed is an open question.

      [*] But I still want a new Mk III, I’ll admit.

  • avatar
    Neumahn

    I think they are going all about this wrong with the renaming and the forcing of the dealers to upgrade. This needs to be product driven. Build a car that people who are looking to make a statement want. Mulally ought to know better.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    Dear Ford/Lincoln:

    Drop the old, slow, inefficient, piece of $#@#@ 5.4L motor NOW. Drop the 5.0L Coyote in the Expedition, Navigator, and every other Lincoln vehicle.

  • avatar
    Neumahn

    You know, slab sides are not un-aerodynamic and they also optimize interior space. Why not a slab side, suicide rear door sedan with a classic grill that recalls the Lincoln’s of the 1930′s yet features rear wheel drive and a dual eco-boost V-8?

    The rear lights should be something that recalls art deco style like the Bangle E60. Headlights needs to be LED.

  • avatar
    corntrollio

    A true flagship instead of the Mk-Taurus is what’s needed.

  • avatar
    th009

    As far as saying anything about the cars, this commercial reminds me of the (in)famous Infiniti spots with the rocks and trees … of course that launched Infiniti into long-term leadership of the luxury market. Right?

  • avatar
    Luke42

    Let me propose a way that this move could possibly make sense.

    The comments here suppose that we (the car-buying public and people who care about cars) are the intended audience for the name change. Suppose we are not the intended audience for this change. So, who would be the intended audience for this little bit of semantic/pedantic grandstanding?

    Suppose for a moment that the intended audience is not us, but the employees of FoMoCo and the newly (re)named LiMoCo.

    This might help to creating a separate identity for Lincoln employees within the Ford company. Couple that with a bureaucratic/strategic effort to separate the creative and engineering functions of Lincoln from Ford’s way of doing things, and you might have a recipe for turning Lincoln in to a real brand (rather than a trim level of Ford) in 3-5 years.

    Of course, this would be hard to observe from the outside, and these kind of moves are hardly a recipe for actually creating change within an organization. Actually making it work is a much more subtle affair that requires buy-in from the employees, credibility from leaders, as well as actual leadership, and a very smart plan that can be changed when new information is learned.

    This is a way that a name change that is more-or-less meaningless to buyers and enthusiasts could be very important. From where I stand, though, I won’t be able to tell if this change actually meant anything until about 2016.

    P.S. I have the good luck to be working for a company that’s undergoing this kind of a transition, while working toward an MBA. Before I started there, they tried out a string of CEOs who tried to cut costs and increase the financial efficiency of the company without improving the products, and they just couldn’t pull off a turnaround. I had the good luck to start the day before a new CEO, who came in with all of the above elements (including a metric ton of product-credibility), and the turnaround is really starting to happen. It’s really fun to work with these people while this is happening, and I’m hoping that the Lincoln folks are in for the same kind of wild ride.

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    This is what a holding company does when they have no near-term solution to a dearth of new product or a weak services solution, or when the holding company is about to announce a big new palate full of long awaited products and/or solutions.

    I wonder which case it will be here…

    Also, wasn’t the big thing recently about “authenticity”? I think even MkF and Farley even made statements about this… So how unauthentic is it to promote the idea that what is, at best a division in name only, is now a Motor Company (traditionally reserved for full-fledged companies, or the absorbed into a conglomerate but not-yet renamed remnants of same)?

  • avatar

    Lincoln’s in even bigger trouble than what’s been mentioned here. Do you see how many (unsuccessful) schools of design it’s gone through in just the last eight years? This newest one ruined the front-fascia of the otherwise-pretty MKS. One of the things that makes a luxury car company is its identity, the thing that enables you to point out a Cadillac or a Ferrari or a Bentley. Even Acura has the beak (which is being phased out). But there is nothing, aside from the badge, that distinguishes a Lincoln from anything else. And it’s that factor, combined with the unmemorable nomenclature and lack of unique products, that will be Lincoln’s demise…

  • avatar
    JSF22

    I would love to see them succeed. Ford is a fine company; Lincoln sold some of the most memorable and desirable cars of my youth; and I would be happy to drive an excellent American luxury car. However, the last outstanding Lincoln was built almost 40 years ago. (Sorry, I always had a soft spot for the Mark V my best friend’s mother drove.) The commercial I saw for the first time last evening does not remotely give me any reason to consider switching from Audi; no contemporary Lincoln appeals to me; and my closest dealer (I had to look it up) is a dual with a ratty Ford store. I guess I am repeating the consensus here, but unless Ford plans following up their marketing gimmick with 20 years of product and dealer development, they should save themselves the trip.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Now would be the perfect time to drop Lincoln, give themselves a couple years to get it together with R&D on new product, and then return to market. As Packard.

  • avatar
    Junebug

    Tough crowd!
    My mother in law has been car shopping for a few weeks. Now, this lady buys a car and keeps it for YEARS!!! The Buick Park Ave of 1997 is a little long in the tooth and she’s trying to find a nice replacement. She looked at the new Buicks (I warned her) and she agreed, not the same as back in the day, too small, too pricey and just didn’t seem to have the value it once did. She’s crossed Caddy’s off, has Toyota on a maybe (Alvalon & Highlander – go figure) but the big thing is the hybrid Fusion, THEN – she heard about the Lincoln version, she’s waiting to sit in it at the dealership, and if it suits her, she’ll write a check, done deal.
    BTW – crossed off all German cars as too hard a ride and too pricey to maintain.

    • 0 avatar

      many people have felt the same way as her but I would encourage to drive a Lacrosse. it really is a fine automobile. one that she would enjoy for many years. it has the traditional Buick qualities of smooth, quiet ride, easy handling, understated elegance, and power.

      personally I prefer larger Buicks but this one ain’t too shabby.

      • 0 avatar

        In all fairness, there is a niche for large, soft luxury sedans. I don’t see a problem with Lincoln fulfilling that niche. The problem is that its cars are unmemorable and uncompetitive. People (myself included) would probably settle for a nicely-equipped Accord or Camry, or a pre-owned ES 350, before ever considering the outgoing MKZ, and the MKS is nice, but not a good value if you equip it with the EcoBoost in lieu of the dreadful-for-a-luxury-sedan 3.7L V6.

        As far as your mother goes, I hope she ends up liking the new MKZ because it’s the only car in Lincoln’s lineup worth purchasing. And that’s sad.

  • avatar
    akatsuki

    Lincoln could be in a great position if someone would actually take some control of the company, stop using committees and market guys, and put out a reasonable product strategy.

    They have the platforms to do some parts bin work to get a nice RWD car, a roadster, and put some money in something halo.

    Four car portfolio to start with (restyle and lux up a lot)
    1. Ford Falcon
    2. Ford Mustang
    3. Ford Explorer
    4. One halo luxury car – something like the Cadillac Ciel

    Oh, and fire every single stylist currently working there, those things are horrendous dogs.

    That would be somewhere to start.

  • avatar
    gottacook

    Oh my god… I’ve just seen the 90-second video at the top of the New York Times home page: “INTRODUCING THE LINCOLN MOTOR COMPANY / A full blown reimagining of an American automotive icon.”

    Not wishing to get into R-vs.-D here, but the spot resembled nothing so much as that “positive” Romney ad from the last weeks of the campaign (the one with five different consecutive American-flag shots) – or even more so, the well-ridiculed Tim Pawlenty ad of 2011 (“Courage to Stand,” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfkNEq1XioE).

    The resemblance is especially noticeable in the spot’s first two-thirds, in which the new car (the MKZ of course) is shown only in two or three 0.5-second snippets – a long shot; the door handles – intercut with the following:

    A child blowing out birthday candles and then setting off a model rocket, fireworks, wild horses running across a field, underwater swimmers, a child watching a full-size rocket takeoff, a cable car in the mountains, skydivers.

    (No American flags, surprisingly, although the skydiver is seen wearing red, white & blue before opening his/her chute.)

    At about the 55-second mark, they start intercutting the same historic Lincolns and Continentals as appeared at the LA car show. All shots of the MKZ (and of the historic cars) are brief, with the car in motion; the whole MKZ is only glimpsed once or twice. There are also scenes of clay modelers crafting the new car.

    I watched twice with the sound off. Would likely have lost my lunch otherwise. Yes, I’d say the reimagining has been fully “blown,” all right.

    (The last time “full blown” was in popular parlance, it was part of the phrase “full-blown AIDS” back in the late 1980s.)

  • avatar
    gottacook

    Sorry, I now see this is the same thing as at the top of this page…

  • avatar

    FWIW, Lincoln started out as a motor company, literally. Henry Leland, who ran Cadillac, wanted to make Liberty engines for the war effort (WWI) and Billy Durant was a pacifist who opposed US involvement in the war (so did Henry Ford but he had the gov’t pay him to build ships and a factory to build them at what would become the Rouge plant). Leland left Cadillac and started Lincoln to build those Liberty engines, planning to eventually make cars.


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