Updated with statement from Lincoln at bottom.
If rumors prove true, Lincoln could end its love affair with MK alphabet soup names with a new Aviator based upon the new Ford Explorer.
According to a second-hand source, TTAC has been told Ford engineers are working on a project internally called ‘Aviator’ based on the new Explorer. The source also stated there will not be a next-generation Ford Flex and will kill off the Lincoln MKT in the process.
A switch to the Aviator name, supported by recent trademark filings for the name, could be the first in many name changes at Lincoln. In April, Ford President of the Americas Joe Hinrichs said he was “very excited about the Continental name and the attention it’s gotten.” However, it could be the Aviator – not the Continental – to get the name change ball rolling.
In addition to the Aviator information, our source also stated the next Expedition and Navigator would get the 10-speed automatic transmission and an all aluminum body, making the full-size SUVs more efficient and lighter than their key competitors at General Motors.
In an email, Stéphane Cesareo, spokesman for Lincoln, said, “We do not comment on speculation. MKT continues to be present in our lineup, with a new model in 2015. By 2020, we expect to expand the segments that we participate in by adding two new nameplates to the Lincoln brand. We have not provided any indications about the products or their names.”