By on August 20, 2013

2013_Lincoln_MKS_--_2012_DC

It would appear that Lincoln’s upcoming replacement for the MKS sedan will be aimed squarely at the Chinese market. Rumors of a proper RWD flagship notwithstanding, the die has been cast, and it’s all entry-luxury-derived from here on out.

 

Based on potential insider information we’ve recently received, we can now predict that the next MKS, which will be based on Ford’s global front-drive CD platform, will be twinned with a Chinese-market flagship code-named the GOBI.

Documents represented to us as corporate internal communications claim that that Ford will

Offer a step up product from CD533 [Ford's codename for the Lincoln MKZ. -Ed] that meets the needs of the Gobi business customer, with class leading rear seat package and amenities.

Our source tells us that styling for the cars will draw some cues from the Continental concept of 2002. In keeping with the China-centric theme of the GOBI project, leg room and rear seat amenities are a key part of GOBI to suit its customers, which are frequently chauffeured. What is unclear is whether GOBI will be a separate nameplate or simply a long-wheelbase version of the future MKS.

This past week’s Pebble Beach Concours saw Lincoln bring over prospective Chinese dealers, with some suggesting that their Black Label interior packages were aimed at Chinese consumers as well. Lincoln’s following the lead of Cadillac here, reaching to the East to salvage their reputation and their bottom line. When the day comes that both remaining American luxury brands are primarily concerned with China, what will that say about the American auto business — or about America itself?

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63 Comments on “Lincoln Goes To China With New Flagship...”


  • avatar
    Firestorm 500

    Why does it look so–feminine?

    Maybe it’s the way the curvy baleen grille and the headlights go together?

    • 0 avatar

      Curves make cars more feminine. Blocky, squares – more masculine.

      I wonder what the MKS would be like if Lincoln had the balls to build the MKS on an upgraded panther platform with a RWD / AWD layout?

      My uncle has a 2013 MKS Ecoboost loaded and I find nothing in it worth liking.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        Isn’t that the 3-box concept? Not enough swoop, they’ll tell you – everybody wants a 4-door coupe. I keep telling people about the Taurus-based Continental that sold VERY well. The stretched wheelbase, formal roofline, long hood and vertical grille, and classic luxury cues from the 3-box past looked great, but was limited by a pedestrian engine. That was fixed with a model with bigger engines, removal of the classic cues, and lots of added swoop, and Continental sales crashed. Will they ever figure it out?

  • avatar
    Blackcloud_9

    On your last line – “When the day comes that both remaining American luxury brands are primarily concerned with China, what will that say about the American auto business — or about America itself?” – I think it means that an american car company is seeing a business opportunity and should jump on it.
    Being able to sell cars in another market is a win-win. It means more dollars for the bottom line. Which will lead to more dollars to invest in the halo cars all us enthusiasts seem to dream about.
    As for those of you who are worried about the Chinese influence on future design, I’ve seen some pretty good looking Riviera concepts coming from GM’s China-based design studio.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      The problem is that GM and Lincoln are going to start serving up their best stuff for China. If Lincoln creates a long wheelbase MKS and only sells it in China, think of what American livery operators are missing out on.

      I always use the China only Buick Park Avenue as a prime example. How many former Roadmaster/Caprice Classic/Fleetwood owners would have ventured down to their Buick dealer just to take a look at it?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        LWB should just be the standard offering in both China and North America, you want something smaller buy the Zephyr.

        The g/f and I rented a ’13 Malibu in July and she hated it for being so crampt, Daeworlet fail. Last weekend we rode as rear passengers in a friend’s ’11 and now she wants to demo the pre-13 as a replacement for her ’00 Focus. Heck I was even impressed with the legroom as I had driven those but never been a rear passenger.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          @28-Cars-Later, wife’s Vibe was at the dealer for some clutch work a few years back and the dealer gave us the keys to a Malibu LTZ from the first year of the revised Epsilon II platform.

          Nice midsize car, I set the front seat for me at a 34in inseam and then climbed in the backseat. The leg room was fine, I just disliked the “mail slot” trunk, which of course is the bane of modern sedan styling.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I didn’t care much for it either, or any trunk that cannot comfortably fit my golf bag horizontally.

            I’ll never forget your father’s quip regarding the Panther trunk… “Son that trunk’s got a basement”

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        The “problem” is CAFE. Talk to your legislators.

        • 0 avatar
          jacob_coulter

          Yep.

          Funny, there’s more choice in the market place for consumers in a Communist country than the USA.

          Let the market decide what sort of fuel economy consumers want. If they want to drive a gas guzzler, so be it, they’ll pay for it.

          It’s not like CAFE actually works, if anything, it made America embrace the SUV, which led to even worse fuel economy as a whole.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            That Communist state is not a nanny state.

            CAFE worked, some politicians always wanted to beat up the US carmakers and it did a good job at that! ;)

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I am for anything that increases Lincoln sales. I may not want a LWB MKS or MKZ, but Lincoln needs to move units.

      I still say the best idea in the US is to put the coyote V8 in everything. I will champion that ideal until Ford finally puts a bullet between the waterfall grilles of Lincoln Motor Company.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        I don’t find this vehicle’s styling offensive, but it’s pretty milquetoast.

        Lincoln really is in a bad spot, with a mere 1/2 of one percent of U.S. market share now, down from an already anemic 0.67 percent through the same period of 2012.

        The potential (probable?) problem that I see is that every automaker under the sun, amd this goes double for many badges in trouble, have placed so many of their aspirations for growth/sales on China, when it’s already clear that the affluent Chinese have strong loyalty to particular prestige ornaments (e.g. Audi, BMW), and pretty much all of the Chinese market is becoming saturated by even the most optimistic supply/demand curves – and all this as there’s a lot of credible data appearing that there are major structural economic and financial credit troubles that have already beset the Chinese economy.

        There’s Big trouble brewing in China.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    The model shown needs to go on a diet.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      The current Taurus/MKS certainly is a fatty. No styling can hide it’s tubby proportions. The move from the D3 to CD4 platform should correct the glandular abnormality that the Taurus and MKS seem to be stricken with.

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        i just can’t understand all the MKS/Taurus bashing. yes..they are large…but then again some of us need large cars with large cargo capabilities. i load massive loads when i travel and really like the room.
        this past summer i tried like hell to find a suv/cuv that would offer me the same 19 cuft cargo, awd and power and no such thing exist without losing MPG. and don’t give me a minivan as an example.
        every one required me to load to the point i had no rear mirror view. this is not true storage.
        so…show me a car that gives me all this so I can understand the large/over weight remarks.
        and remember…this car is already years out of design life.
        newer cars like the avalon have an advantage.
        the next gen mks should be better.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          The problem with the Taurus and MKS is that they are huge on the outside and small on the inside.

          The trunk is a good size though. They are actually good highway cruisers with very nice interiors. The optional 3.5TT is fantastic.

          I feel like the styling is bloated and has CUV like proportions. I don’t hate the car, I just know they could have done better. The MKR was the original vision. It looked fantastic.

  • avatar

    GM isn’t just looking at China for Cadillac. It’s looking at the whole world. The idea is to — eventually — get in BMW’s and Audi’s faces in a big way, everywhere. Yeah, they have a long way to go, but making Cadillac big in China is — given GM’s already-huge presence in China — their best route to getting the brand’s volumes up to global scale. Once they’re scaled up, there’s room to get really interesting, and they plan to.

    What GM really wants here is to be less dependent on US pickup sales for profits. VW gets between a third and half of its profits (which led the industry last year) from Audi. Plain and simple, the huge investment in Cadillac is happening because GM wants some of that action too. And now, belatedly and half-heartedly, so does Ford.

  • avatar
    romanjetfighter

    Looking at the fashion industry, if there’s one way to revive a dying brand, it’s to market the hell out of a overpriced luxury-branded car to the rich-as-balls prestige-starved Chinese.

    • 0 avatar
      WaftableTorque

      The Chinese market will be tough for Lincoln to crack. As China follows the 5 Stage Spread-of-Luxury-Model of Fred Husband and Radha Chadha just as the rest of Asia has, then the current need is for conspicuous consumption (stage 2), and will mature into a way of life (stage 5). Currently, Lincoln is currently light on conspicuous consumption signalling because it has a relatively low scores for barriers of entry (i.e. price, innovations, sophistication), which means it likely won’t establish enough momentum as a move-up product once the luxury market fragments due to a more discerning and educated market.

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    The 2002 Continental Concept? What took so long? Just put a baleen whale grille on it:

    http://www.netcarshow.com/lincoln/2002-continental_concept/

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I hope new MKS = this.

    http://img.gawkerassets.com/img/18p681w35i4n4jpg/ku-xlarge.jpg

    Because That in LWB would be pretty sweeeeet.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      That’s a nice start but it def needs more chrome.

      This is the Mark X concept, imagine that…

      http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://img2.netcarshow.com/Lincoln-Mark_X_Concept_2004_1024x768_wallpaper_07.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.netcarshow.com/lincoln/2004-mark_x_concept/1024×768/wallpaper_07.htm&h=768&w=1024&sz=67&tbnid=60aCmtdwPsWBaM:&tbnh=90&tbnw=120&zoom=1&usg=__4GZs_JpAvmu1fyIiO1_cl-Jb8ZU=&docid=yfD9N6EHzHRYtM&sa=X&ei=57ETUuv2DNS54AOLw4C4DA&ved=0CDIQ9QEwAA&dur=2314

      and these:

      http://www.roadandtrack.com/go/news/concept-cars/photos-lincoln-concept-cars#slide-1

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      The way I understand it that’s going to be a Mark built on the Mustang platform. That could be good

  • avatar
    olddavid

    What gets to me is every time I drive my 98 LSC I wonder how they hit it on the head so well 15 years ago but seem baffled by what to do with themselves in 2013? I went to fill up with gas this morning for my coastal cruise and ended up in an extended and stupid dick-measuring contest with an E Class. We must have looked damn foolish – two old men driving 9/10 on back roads at stupid speeds. Yet the sound of that Intech at full throttle is intoxicating. Nowhere can you find its like at a Lincoln store today. That’s a shame.

  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    Unlike some, I do find the front attractive.

    However, from the door mirrors back – it’s super advanced graduate level bland. Yeeeeech.

    As for going for the China market – well, MBAs aren’t exactly the sharpest knives in the drawer. After all, they’ve managed to “manage” GM and Chrysler into bankruptcy.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    A lot to digest.

    Lincoln’s plan to go entry-level luxury from here on out? Questionable at best. They still have not differentiated enough from top equipped Fords based on same platforms. It can be done (Lexus ES anyone or VAG MBQ) but it has to be done right.

    Lincoln’s plan for China to keep it alive? Makes perfect sense.

    What does it mean that American companies are sending their best to China for America? Our slow decline continues unabated. I have no good answer otherwise I’d run for office – but if the person building a new car can’t afford the new car they are building, the very fabric of what made this country an economic powerhouse is coming undone.

    When you adjust for inflation, and take out the top 8% of earners, wage growth for the bottom 92% has grown about 2% – in 33 years – in CPI inflated dollars. Non-CPI inflation and hidden inflation, coupled with stagnant wage growth is killing us.

    It says even more that companies are coming back because salary and other costs are now cheaper in America. This isn’t an argument for handouts, bailouts, or socialism. But when wages are flat for deades and corporations who are crying poverty are sitting on trillions in cash reserves – something is broken. We’ll never succeed without reinvestment, and I guess that’s what I’m arguing, Alas, with globalization, reinvestment here in America makes little sense.

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      This is not about US decline. The “problem” is CAFE. Talk to your legislators.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Please don’t confuse the cash reserves of companies with profits. Cash reserves are required by GAAP and statutory accounting rules to cover liabilities. Reserves are there for a reason, and they’re always accounted for in annual reports.

  • avatar
    JK43123

    I think it looks Pontiac-y.

    John

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I’ve always thought this too.

      Change the grille inserts to honeycomb or mesh, put on lace pattern wheels, widen the tail lights, and you’ve pretty much got what a Super Epsilon Bonneville would have looked like.

  • avatar
    billfrombuckhead

    Ford is trying to build commodity luxury cars. Even Toyota has went away from that concept.

    Ford needs to let Lincoln just be the Acura doppelganger that seems to be all these MBAer’s can do anyhow basically replacing Mercury. Then give Wolfgang Bernhard 5 billion dollars, a free hand and a share of the profits from the new Continental division. I bet Ford could get 3 disturbingly great cars out of that situation, All this changing grilles and names is just so much masturbation that Ford will pay dearly for as the car industry twilights. This whole MK? serial disaster has destroyed Lincoln as even a Cadillac competitor and they need the ghost of Edsel Ford to point these clueless MBA types in the right direction.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      THe problem is not just rebadging. The problem is that Fords are too expensive. Ford was one of the “low price three” when Lincoln was American luxury.

      THe 1961 Continental was over $6000. The 1961 Galaxie was $2600. So the Continental was more than double the price of the Ford.

      What’s the spread between the Fusion Titanium and MKZ?

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Speaks to the stretching of the middle class budget. Now you have many trim level options for “just a little more” whereas in 1961 you had to be BALLIN to afford that Continental at twice the price+.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        There are trim levels of the Fusion available at various price points. The local dealer stocks plenty of Fusions in the mid-$20,000 range, which is fully competitive with Accords, Camrys and Malibus. There are more expensive Fusions (I’ve seen versions in the low-$30,000 range), but there are Accords exceeding the $30,000 mark, too.

        A 1961 Ford Thunderbird hardtop listed for over $4,000, so it was possible to buy a Ford that was fairly expensive for that time. Not every Ford was available at one half the price of the Lincoln.

        Also note that, in 1961, there was ONE basic Lincoln model, and it was placed squarely in the luxury field. All 1961 Cadillacs and Imperials were in the luxury class, as well.

        In 2013, virtually every luxury marque has extended its range downward, thus putting the squeeze on the old medium-price marques.

        The problem isn’t that there isn’t enough price spread between the Fusion and the MKZ; the problem is that Lincoln has effectively started at the very bottom of the luxury market. The division isn’t effectively competing in the class currently dominated by the Mercedes E-Class.

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          Very good point. $6000 in 1961 is about $52,000 today. That’s the “starting from” price of the base E-class. BUT – the 1961 Continental was full size, the same dimensions as the Crown Vic. That’s S-class territory, with a “starting from” price in the $85,000 range. Would anybody pay that for a retro Continental?

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    This is what I wish the new Avalon looked like.

    Simple and clean lines, delightfully in the classic Camcord mold, more so than the genuine articles.

    And no prothagonous bottom-feeder’s ramscoop mouth.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Exactly.

      Bit it’s too “clean” & tidy for anthing marketed as a halo car.

      One of the reasons I liked the late 80s to late 90s Acura Legend is that it looked upscale, yet was consistent in terms of what used to be Honda’s philosophy of no excess waste, appendages or unnecessary styling cues (for the sake of differentiation by clutter).

      • 0 avatar
        Kenmore

        I’m astonished to find agreement with someone at least a generation younger than I. Pleasant anomaly.

        But values like subtlety and restraint can only be appreciated by people who’ve had the quiet space in their lives to develop the self knowledge and critical faculties to know toxic excess when it accosts them.

        Given the galloping intrusion of commercial manipulation into ever younger lives via electronic media, and the deadening of adults’ perception from constant bashing by always more simplistic but violently lavish entertainment offerings, deep reflection and sophisticated judgement have become legacy features of our society.

        Which makes the appeal of this car to Chinese highly doubtful for is there anything more antithetical to the contemplative mindset than the hyperdrive commercial bedlam of baby-poisoning, sex-slaving, nouveau riche China?

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I had always thought DeadWeight was pretty old. And you were too!

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            That ain’t him in the avatar.

            But, yeah, I’m old. I’m so old I think Oprah is *hot*.

            But then “Brick House” is one of my favorite songs.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Ha well I know that, but he has Ford stories from being pissed off in 1994. So, assumption!

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            I’m 39 (barely).

            But I have a dry personality & usually cynical outlook, so I’m older inside, at least when it comes to what I write (people who know me well and drink the finest ales & stouts with me allege that my dry humor is an endearing trait).

            I’ve become much, much more minimalistic as I get older, after doing some pretty crazy things and making some pretty expensive purchases in prior years. Habituation is a powerful force, and it’s taught me that the sayings that ‘money can’t buy happiness’ & that ‘the more you own the more things own you’ and that drain precious time are actually true (at least for me).

            I will still splurge on things I’m deeply passionate about, but I can count the things that deeply stir my soul on one hand. 99.9% of the things marketed aggressively and shoved into my face, irrespective of the mode of marketing, are superfluous, vacuous, empty calories, and just more junk that will inevitably gather dust in some corner, closet, storage unit, or on some shelf, somewhere.

            I’m pretty confident this is why such a lopsided majority of super lotto winners end up bankrupt and/or addicted to substance(s) and/or incarcerated and/or divorced, and extraordinarily far more miserable with their lives within 5 years of hitting their jackpot.

            I’d love to get to a Thoreau level of Walden Pond one day, to test the extremes of what I can truly do without, and come to a fuller realization of the “stuff” I still possess that not only does me no good and brings me no joy, but that acts to drag my happiness down.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I enjoyed your thoughtful response DeadWeight, it’s fun to me to find out more about the people behind these little icons I see every day.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Likewise.

            The comments on TTAC have become much more substantive since the recent changes were implemented, and it seems that people are now opening up on a more personal level than I can recall, which provides a much richer backdrop, more context, and more interesting comments, IMO.

            Things “feel” more human now, and people are less defensive/guarded.

  • avatar
    RS

    Let’s hope Ford puts more rear seat room back in their US cars and not just the ones meant for China.

  • avatar
    The Heisenberg Cartel

    Hey Lincoln, here’s an idea. Work on an all-new Territory and Falcon, then bring the tooling over to the US and start building them as Lincolns instead. Sure, you’re aping Infiniti with this one but they’re a HELL of a lot better to ape than Acura.

    And since you invented 3D printing sheet metal technology, put the damn thing to use by changing the body styles enough to differentiate, throw some leather and real wood at the interior, and make supercharged versions and invent a fake-AMG/M/RS designator.

    Or hell, at LEAST make Lincolns look a little more gangster. You know you’re lost when RWD V8 Hyundais make better gangster cars than your own Lincolns do, and American luxury cars practically INVENTED the gangster car aesthetic.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    Take this body, drop in the Coyote 5.0 Mustang engine with 400+hp with RWD, and price it a bit more than a loaded 300c and you’d have a whole new generation of people coming into Lincoln dealerships.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      I keep hoping for a Lincoln version of the new Mustang…perhaps a revived Mark LSC. But, so far, no word of that one yet.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      No, the styling is the same as everybody else, a 4-door coupe. Put a formal roof line on a RWD V8 with a long wheelbase, updated transmission and other modern upgrades, and go for maximum room and comfort, and it’ll sell as well as the Town Car did in the early 00’s – 50,000+. The classic ’61 Continental “saved” Lincoln, and it sold only 32k-40k the first few years, topping 50k only in the mid-’60s. The key is to make the livery-edition limo look markedly different so people don’t think it’s an airport shuttle.


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