By on November 11, 2011

Have you heard? The New Look Of Lincoln is coming, and everyone’s talking… about how much Lincoln has to prove. And after seeing these teasers, the topic will likely remain how much Lincoln has to prove. We’d probably better bite our tongues until the LA Auto Show, when the 2013 MKS and MKT actually take the stage; “teaser” photos can only convey so much. But given the wider “Lincoln situation,” it’s hard to imagine either of these new cars being able to fundamentally change perceptions of the brand. The Look Of Lincoln needs a clean-sheet reboot that I’m just not seeing here…

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42 Comments on “What’s Wrong With This Picture: Lipstick On A Lincoln Edition...”

  • avatar

    until these numbskulls get off the alphabet soup I remain convinced they are clueless about marketing.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree with you, but the best names in the world won’t do a thing about the seriously deficient styling of the current Lincoln line up. it wasn’t all that long ago that Lincoln make at least a half-assed attempt at a proper modern premium car with the LS, but then they killed it.

      • 0 avatar

        Look at that update. The damn car is a Mercury.

        For the past two years I have been saying that Ford should take the entire Lincoln line except for the Town Car Panther platform and rename them Mercurys. Then release a fully loaded modern Town Car as a single Lincoln model until sales improve.

        Now it looks like Ford is going to give us Mercurys with Lincoln names on them.

        And bad names at that.

        Whoever is in charge at Lincoln and Ford seem to be utterly clueless about what the hell a Lincoln is supposed to be. And I remember when I was a kid that a Lincoln is “what a luxury car is supposed to be”. Sad how Ford doesn’t anymore.

        There is absolutely nothing wrong with building big charming traditional luxury cars wallowing in hearse-like luxury.

        Ever since the Japanese and German luxury makes have been successful with the Boomers, Lincoln and Cadillac have felt inadequate in what it is they represented. Instead of hunkering down and doing what they knew how to do better than anyone else, GM and Ford chased their tails trying to out-Lexus Lexus.

        I don’t want a damn Lexus or a damn BMW. Those cars do not appeal to me. I want a big black Lincoln loaded with bling and saunders down the road like I don’t have a care in the world. Those luxury sports cars are like hyper over-achievers.

        It is understandable why GM and Ford chased after BMW and Lexus, but they did it in a way that they lost focus on what they were. I think Lincoln and Cadillac can tell you what it is not – but unfortunately they cannot tell you what they are, or what they used to be.

        Just shut down the damn brand if you don’t know what it is you are doing guys!

    • 0 avatar

      I recall reading that there was an official edict at Ford that the MK portion of MK-anyletter was NOT, repeat NOT to be pronounced “Mark”.

      Brilliant. Name it after a famous name of yours, but don’t let anyone say it. Brilliant. Bet they paid a consultant a lot of money for that wisdom.

      • 0 avatar

        Then they need to add a space, and preferably a lowercase letter.

        MKT –> MK T –> Mk T –> Mk. T

        It’d still be a crappy name, but this would be a better way to implement that crappy name if they want people to pronounce it “Mark”.

        Why have them all start with “Mark” though? If they all start with the same word, then that word ceases to convery any information. Just divide by the common denominator and call it a “T”.

        Even if they want a common denominator, “Mark” would only make sense if the brand was “Mark”. Call it a Linc-T or something. I’m a friggen engineer who can’t stand marketing, but I could do a much better job than they are.

        If they absolutely insist on staying with “Mark whatever”, then the “whatever” needs some logic behind it, as is done over at Audi, BMW, and Mercedes. Mk. A, Mk. B, Mk. C or Mk1, 2 and 3 (as mjz suggests, below).

        The SUV’s, like Audi and BMW, should get a different prefix such as T 1, 2, 3

  • avatar

    Agree with Buickman.

    Anyway, Ford didn’t invest enough in Lincoln that they can offer a dramatically different look. I think they are waiting to see if the “new” Lincoln can generate enough sales and profits to warrant spending more money.

  • avatar

    Ok, so what is this ‘new’ look exactly? This looks very much like – meet the new Lincoln, same as the old Lincoln.

  • avatar

    The front end is a nice refinement of the current ‘baleen whale’ look. Definitely an improvement over the current version, but doesn’t appear to be any massive order of magnitude improvement. Based on the pics, I’m kinda looking forward to seeing the finished product. However, I’m not expecting to be blown away.

  • avatar

    I know it is easy to pull my chain…but I grow soooooo weary of the Lincoln bashing.
    I mean, why can’t more time be spent tossing barbs at Audi and Volkswagen, or Toyota and Lexus or Nissan and Infinity for their use of chassis and warehouse part bin sharing?

    Instead, I should just be happy I have an MKS with a fantastically fast ecoboosted engine at a fraction of this brand drunkenness that awards all imported, over-priced and impossible to repair cars.

    • 0 avatar

      The challenge is to do sharing of platforms and components while still differentiating the various brands and models (and avoiding the old-GM-style badge engineering). Most industry observers reckon VW is doing a rather good job at this today. The Audi A4, A6 and A8 are on a separate architecture from their VW brethren, and apart from the ubiquitous 2.0T engine, the shared componentry is not noticeable to a consumer.

      Ford is not at that stage with Lincoln today.

      • 0 avatar

        I did not know this!
        Are you sure? They shared the same architecture in earlier times. Other than the A6 being a stretched version, I thought they were shared.
        While I do agree that THE challenge is to make it not obvious this is being done.
        My point is the energy wasted on the Ford/Lincoln sharing is getting rather old.
        And regardless of the experts, there are very clever distinctions between the Taurus and MKS.
        Perhaps not blinding, but very much still there.
        From tuning of the chassis down to leather qualities and materials used inside…there is a huge difference.
        Yes…as much as that which separates an A4 from that of the Jetta or Passat. In fact, I swear I am looking at an Audi when I look at the rear of the newest Jetta.

      • 0 avatar

        The A4 and A6 have longitudinal engines and engine placement that is set back more like a RWD car. The Jetta and Passat have transverse engines and are more “cab forward.” Even the shared 2.0T engine is different: in an Audi it is 211 hp/258 torque, while VWs make do with 200/207. In other words, while there are shared components, the chassis, wheelbases, and of course the bodies to fit the different bones are quite different, even if they share some design elements. These days, unfortunately, some VW interiors have been downgraded from their previous Audi levels. But this allows them to be more competitively priced.

        The Taurus and MKS have unique sheetmetal, unlike the badge engineering going on to create both the Taurus and Montego/Sable, but they still share the 3.5 Ecoboost, and the same wheelbase and underpinnings. Although it is in the right direction, it is not differentiation done right yet. They will get there, if Lincoln doesn’t die first.

    • 0 avatar

      Only the Lexus ES and RX (well, I guess also the CT now) share platforms with the US Toyota stable and even then they’re significantly different. And anyways the problem with Lincoln isn’t the platform sharing, it’s that there’s no real benefit to buying the Lincoln version and you get penalized with horrifying depreciation.

  • avatar

    I know these are just teaser photos, but I was really expecting more. And is it me or do the tail-lights look like the new civic? Come on Lincoln…

  • avatar

    The problem with Lincoln is that their cars are ugly. MKT… it looks terrible. Probably top 5 worst looking cars on the road. Might be top 1.

    The rest of the new Lincoln’s have the worst grill imaginable. Well, except maybe Subaru’s nose design from a few years ago. Till this changes, Lincoln is going to have real problems.

  • avatar

    Seen that front end on a Mitsubishi Magna/Verada/Diamente. Time to get some fresh designers in and abolish the words “it must look like a Ford/last years” It is a Lincoln, the equivalant of a Cadillac, therefore must stand out and say “look at me and admire me”, not “look at me and count the number of mundane Fords you can see”. Or worse, “uuuugllllleeeeeeee!”

  • avatar

    I don’t think anyone was expecting the facelifted MKT or MKS to be radical departures from the current models, and as far as I recall Ford hadn’t said they would be. The major changes for both of these models will likely happen during the next redesign. Ford stated that there would be 7 all new or significantly redesigned models over the next four years this past June. Count the new MKZ and small Lincoln crossover as two of those and the first two to be seen, with the MKS and MKT being significantly redesigned towards the end of that time period when it comes time for a platform shift for the 2015 models.

    The upcoming 2013 MKZ is going to be the model that really signals Lincoln’s future direction.

    • 0 avatar


      Remember the crowd your talking to. Any less than a “grand slam, out of the park, home run” will be considered “epic fail” by a lot of the responders here. Especially those who have a lot of time and energy invested into nit-picking and condemning every “wrong” move Ford makes on the Lincoln marque.

      Personally, if I could afford a $30k+ four door, entry level luxury sedan when I go car shopping in January, Lincoln (and Buick) would be rather high on my list. No, not screaming state-of-the-art, or a major step forward – just a damned nice car and good value for money.

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    I don’t understand it…for a while there, I thought they were doing a good job my resurrecting the early 1960’s grille on their product (Google the 2004 MKZ, or 2005 MKX so you know what I mean) and then suddenly, BOOM! They dropped that in favor of that oversized Oldsmobile split grille. How was that an improvement?

    The other thing is, Lincoln, PLEASE drop that STUPID MK* moniker. I don’t know about the rest of you, but anything MK makes me think of Mary Kay cosmetics. Ugh…

    • 0 avatar

      They were supposed to be “Marks” rather than “MKs”, but that was given up on a while ago, so now it is just M-K.

      You’d never have to explain what a Continental is or how to pronounce it.

      • 0 avatar

        I think it was Mark Fields, the marketing genius who decided that they would be refered to as “MK’s” and not “Marks” Dumb decision.

      • 0 avatar

        Well, “MARK” or “MK” are both stupid names.

        To try to evoke the old MARKS in such a crass way was pathetic, especially on a goddamned truck!

        And aside from “enthusiast” types who on the planet knows what an MKS looks like? I know the idea is to build the “brand” ahead of models but it just doesn’t work for me.

        I mean, most people understand what a Continental or a Town Car is meant to be, right?

      • 0 avatar

        Is a TownCar like a city car??? Only good at low speeds? Believe me, had that conversation with my son who also thinks the 90s TownCars look like funeral cars.

  • avatar

    The problem with Lincoln naming is that the Germans are the gold standard, so everybody has to copy them, that and the marketing guys will tell you that letter combinations get you to think of the brand, rather than the model.

    If you’re a Mercedes or a BMW, that’s great. All you have to say is “E-class” or “7 series” and everybody knows what you’re talking about. If you’re somebody like Acura it’s not so great. Everybody knows what “Legend” is, even now. RL, who what? That thing has been a sales bomb for 15 years. “I drive an Acura RL” impresses nobody.

    The Lincoln badge is worth considerably less than even the semi premium brands like Acura and Volvo, let alone Mercedes and BMW. MKZ, MKS, MKT, MKX. Those could be literally anything. It’s the dumbest naming scheme ever.

    BMW has number cars in size/price order, and X CUVs in the same way. Same with Audi and their As and Qs. It’s logical. It makes sense. You know that a Q7 is bigger and more expensive than a Q3.

    What’s a MKT? Where does it fit? Is it cheap or expensive? Car or truck? Hello? McFly?

    • 0 avatar

      Dave: Totally agree with your assessment. The Lincoln brand does not have the prestige or cache to carry an alpha-numeric naming system. On top of that, the naming system is completely illogical, an MKT could just as easily be an MKX, there is no rhyme or reason to the what the last letter stands for, it’s just a very confusing mess. Agree too about Acura, Legend and Integra were wonderful model names, only to be replaced by those serile letters.

      • 0 avatar

        Here’s what I would do to salvage the “MK” mess: When the new 2013 MKZ is introduced, they should call it the Lincoln Mk3 (BMW 3-series competitor), when the MKS replacement comes out, that would be the Lincoln Mk5 (BMW 5-series competitor), and the rumored flagship sedan would be the Lincoln Mk7 (BMW 7-series competitor). The “Mk” would be pronounced “Mark” and not “M-K”. This seems much more logical and would retain the “Mark” naming history while also logically denoting the “pecking order” of the various size models, which BMW so successfully does. The crossovers could be Lincoln Mk3X (current MKX) and Lincoln Mk5X (current MKT).

      • 0 avatar

        It’s worth noting here that Cadillac has the same mess of names as Lincoln, no rhyme or reason, yet Cadillac is (ostensibly) in better short- and long-term shape than Lincoln as a marque.

      • 0 avatar

        Cadillac’s names aren’t much better, though the sedan names will actually be in descending order (possibly through pure luck):
        ATS < CTS < XTS

        And the crossover is an SRX, so it's a bit of a different name.

        But I expect the difference in Cadillac's and Lincoln's recent success is down to product more than model names …

        P.S. I do like mjz’s suggestion for salvaging the MK model naming scheme!

    • 0 avatar

      I think the “letter” thing works with Mercedes and BMW not because it’s actually a good naming convention, but because people ALREADY care about Mercedes and BMW, so people willingly learn and embrace that system. (Plus, I think the Germans generally have SOME underlying logic to their naming conventions, while the imitators are just looking for some 3-letter combo that focus-groups well or something.)

      Regarding Lincoln in general, I’m not even sure what perception of the brand *is*. Honestly, it’s a brand I rarely think of at all (either positively or negatively), and the first thing that comes to my mind is still the Town Car of circa 20 years ago.

    • 0 avatar

      When I was working for a supplier of these vehicles, I forced myself to make sense of their naming scheme. It couldn’t be too hard, right? Lets see:

      they are all “MK”, so just focus on the last letter.
      S. Let’s see, its a sedan so that’s easy. S for sedan.
      T for truck, I guess, even though I don’t know if its a “crossover” or “truck”.
      X…well it has all-wheel drive, so the X is symbolic in the same way as BMW’s x-drive and iX models. Wait, there’s a FWD version too, and the MKX is actually smaller than the alphabetically-inferior MKT. wtf Lincoln?
      Z. MKZ. Nothing, other than it is the biggest Lincoln sedan. Except maybe not, because Lincoln also still list the out-of-production Town Car on their website.

      I managed to confuse myself even more after that exercise. Their lettering scheme is functionally horrible. Maybe its just smoke and mirrors to help sell to confused old people. It doesn’t help that Z, S, T and X are so close together in the alphabet. Mercedes does a better job by spanning letters C to S. With BMW, you clearly have 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, with the X prefix for SUVs and Z for 2-seaters. Audi uses a combination of these two schemes, but it is still logical. The higher the letter and/or sum of numbers on the trunk, the bigger and more expensive the car. Easy!

      • 0 avatar

        LeMansteve: You’re still confused! The MKZ is the SMALLEST sedan and was named that because it used to be the Zephyr. The MKS is actually the biggest sedan now that the Town Car is out of production. This just proves how confusing this alphabet soup is.

  • avatar

    Everyone’s expectations here are too high. The business model behind Lincoln hasn’t changed in 50 years, i.e., “luxury” cars built off Ford platforms and parts. Without billions invested in international distribution (including, low-return Europe), Lincoln-only stores, and dedicated platforms there will be no Lincoln alternative to BMW or Mercedes across the board everywhere. But Lincoln may do just fine as a Buick/Chrysler/Acura alternative in North America especially with the MKZ and MKX, assuming Ford is making money. If they’re not making money and sales don’t improve substantially then we’re probably looking at this new generation of product as the last. BTW, Mulally’s talk about Lincoln in China seems suspect: the Chinese pronunciation of “Lincoln” will be very difficult.

  • avatar

    Those snippits look very Ford-ish so I don’t see too much change there. Funny that as you page through the photos, data for the Chvey Cruze comes up. An error, or maybe not.

    Lincoln was on its way with the Mark VII LSC and the LS, but then it got lost in the PAG quagmire never to return to the direction it once had. Here, at least GM is working in the right direction with Cadillac. The MKZ needs to feel much different and look much different than it’s Ford stablemate. Right now that is not the case. Yes the interior materials are much nicer, but as you look at the car from the outside, it is very clear what the roots are. You don’t get that when you look at a Lexus ES. Ford can make this work, but where does it want to go? Cadillac wants, and is pushing, in the direction of BMW. Which works for them, because the more traditional Caddy buyer can likely find what they are looking for in Buick stores. But where would old school Lincoln buyers go?

  • avatar

    Memo to Mulally: Give Sergio a call, HE knows how to do a quick and dirty refresh that actually produces significant changes in a car (see Sebring to 200). This is the Motor City and this is what we do.

  • avatar

    I fear Lincoln will be gone in a few years. Ford has a bad recent track record with luxury brands, let’s see; Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin, Volvo. All were poorly handled and are now doing better in the hands of their new owners. Now it’s Lincoln’s turn, and I’m not hopeful. First of all, they practically killed the dealer network by prematurely eliminating Mercury before they had any new Lincolns that could make up the HALF of sales that were lost. Now they want these weakened dealers to invest millions in new dealership upgrades for a weak selling flagship brand that will probably be nothing more than what they are now, gussied up Fords with awkward styling. I also don’t see why Ford is going to want to dump millions of dollars into a North American only brand of cars. What happened to Mulally’s “One Ford” worldwide theme? The only hope I see for saving Lincoln’s a$$ is that “Rincolns” are successfully launched in China, which is the only reason we still have Buick around.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree that killing half of the dealers sales by dropping Mercury when they did was stupid. Many of the potential 2011 products like the Milan and Mariner were carry over models over at Ford, so it wouldn’t have cost any real money to keep making them, ditto for 2012s. The design for their version of the new Focus was supposedly pretty much finalized and only would have taken the further investment in the tooling. The on again off again Lincoln Focus was supposedly going to pretty much be the Mercury version with a Lincoln badge. 2011 Grand Marquis were actually produced, yes mainly for the rental car industry, but the dealers did have a short window where they could order retail versions.

      For most dealers Mercury sales did account for around 50% of their volume. At the end the best selling Mercurys were that Milan and Mariner so keeping them in production might have meant the dealers only saw their potential sales drop say 25%. Throw in the new Tracer or what ever they were going to call it and the dealers would have been in a much better position to invest in their facilities.

      For Ford it probably wouldn’t have made any significant difference in their bottom line one way or another. However it would have helped the dealers bottom lines significantly and helped them bridge the gap until the “NEW” Lincoln is launched. I fear that by the time the new Lincoln is fully launched there won’t be enough dealers left and many of those will be Ford Lincoln stores where Lincoln will take the back seat.

      • 0 avatar

        The Lincoln dealer near me (North Brothers) is a sad looking place without the Mercury line. Their new car lot, which used to be bustling and filled, now has all of maybe two dozen homely new Lincolns spread out on the vast ashphalt expanse in a desperate attempt to fill all that empty space. It’s quite pathetic. I honestly think that Ford dumped Mercury prematurely in a clever attempt to shut the Lincoln-Mercury division down without having to pay the dealerships the big bucks that GM did when they closed Oldsmobile down. This way they will slowly “starve” the remaining dealers who, if they have half an ounce of brains, will decide NOT to invest millions to upgrade their dealerships for the moribund Lincoln brand alone. Ford will give Lincoln one more round of products, which won’t cost them too much since they will be (as now) warmed over Fords, then just close down the few remaining Lincoln dealers that haven’t already thrown in the towel by then. That’s the only expalnation I can think of for abruptly chopping Mercury like they did. Per Scottdude, they could easily have produced 2012 versions of the Milan and Mariner, their highest volume sellers, and I’m sure there were 2013 versions in the pipeline as well. The Mercury version of the Focus was ready to launch as well. Killing Mercury like they did and weakening the Lincoln dealer group just doesn’t make sense unless that’s exactly what Ford wanted.

  • avatar

    Ha ha FMCO you made a mistake not buying the JEEP brand when it was available.

    You didn’t take JEEP knock off Land Rover anywhere in the CUV/SUV. Now you can’t go anywhere with Lincoln save as an R&D spending decoy for GM. Seriously, you think the up & coming are going to take to a tweak?

  • avatar

    How Lincoln is different from Acura? Both make basically rebadged mass-marked cars. At least Lincoln has luxury heritage. Acura absolutely unknown outside of US, is something like: “What?”. When I saw Acura first time my first question was – how Honda Accord/Legend(European) got weird names. But still Acura stand alone dealerships somehow survived. Lincoln is known around world from movies as a big RWD cars. Now imagine Mercedes suddenly starts making FWD cars which are basically somehow redesigned Opels with higher quality interior and etc – what would be your reaction?

  • avatar

    th009: Glad you liked the proposed naming scheme, now if only Mark Fields liked it (or is that M-K Fields?). Hee hee.

  • avatar

    MKT looks like last gen Nissan Quest.

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