By on October 11, 2012

Do you have a thick skin? Nope! Someone can reduce you to buckets of tears. Welcome to the world of Automotive Design, where talented folks regularly market/defend themselves with beliefs under the scrutiny of (not so) constructive criticism. I was guilty of this ritual at CCS: when I was done, I felt dirty. “Why did I say that? Did it help me, or make me feel better?” It was sorta like the regret following a one night stand.**

The marketing/defense of a design includes flowery language, uplifting sales/marketing words commonplace in White Collar America, and bizarre correlations between their design and an outstanding design elsewhere. All are present, accounted for in these two mailings for the Lincoln MKZ.

Back to the photo: I don’t know the significance of a Calla Lilly, without resorting to Wikipedia. Perhaps a designer came up with the Lilly+MKZ design early in the car’s ideation stage, so let’s spare everyone cynicism there. And we have better reason to snark with the following photo:



The only biominicry going on here is the reproduction of RoboCop’s cyborg face.  Oh dear. Let’s see what the other MKZ mailer says.


Wait a second! Is that one of the most iconic Chevrolet designs to date: a Stingray?


My bad, it’s a MANTA RAY adapted to a non-Corvette vehicle with ill-conceived, Camry-like proportions. Plus, now we know biomimicry is “the practice of examining nature to create something man-made, to breathe added layers into the all-new 2013 Lincoln MKZ.” Or…not.

I wonder if we’ll see this “biomimicry” in the MKZ’s sales brochure…or on TV. Does the One Night Stand flourish into a long term design direction? We’ve seen this go bad many times before (Lincoln and elsewhere) so don’t hold your breath. But maybe this will make you feel better:


BLAM! I got your biomimicry right here, son: the 2002 Continental Concept. As for the 2013 MKZ, I can’t wait to see one in the flesh.



**I apologize if you took offense to the sexual references, because I’m not entirely proud of them either. Plenty of designers live happy and healthy personal lives, some date/love/marry people while in design school. Most of my freshman year classmates did not, but that’s not the point.

The point? The dirty little secret behind Vellum Venom is these thoughts aren’t shared with people in my life. This series is an outlet for things I’d rather not discuss. Sometimes depressing in my real life, but rewarding here on TTAC.

And now you know why I regularly thank you, dear reader, for your time. I hope you continue to listen to my stories told via car design. Thank you again. – SM

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

36 Comments on “Vellum Venom Vignette: Design and Marketing’s One Night Stand, 2013 Lincoln MKZ Edition...”

  • avatar

    That Connie concept is gorgeous in that view. I’d like to see what they did to the front!

    That MKZ isn’t bad, but that trunk line reflector is really obvious when it doesn’t line up. For a luxury car this is unacceptable. You try to sell me something like this and it’s no deal!

    • 0 avatar

      Ask, and you shall receive! I think it’s kinda cartoonish looking, but perhaps it looks better from a more natural angle. Still a very attractive concept, however.

      • 0 avatar

        The then-current “waterfall” grille looks out of place on it — I’d wager it was probably designed with a shaver grille that got swapped out in the name of “brand standard.”

        Stunning interior, and you can see a lot of cues that ended up in current Jaguars in it.

        That said, I think they miss a couple of important cues from the ’61+ Continentals on the concept. First, the dimensions of the C pillar — the one on the concept looks like it was lifted from an LS. Second is the jog in the knife-edge at the trailing end of the rear door — it really helps to break up the planes on the original car.

        Oddly, those two elements are about the only things they *do* get right in the MKT.

    • 0 avatar

      “but that trunk line reflector is really obvious when it doesn’t line up.”

      Is this a joke about people who are so dense they’d make a judgement about the design and/or assembly of a vehicle based on one photograph taken from an odd angle well below the typical sight line of an average height adult? I like to think that the commenters on TTAC are all bright enough to realize that making such a judgement based on one photo (of a show car or pre-production example no less) from an off angle isn’t the best idea, so I conclude you’re poking fun at the knuckleheads over on AOL Autos.

  • avatar

    Didn’t Gerry McGovern design the conti concept? The Genius behind the Evoque?

  • avatar

    Calla Lily seems to be one of those words artistic types like to use just to use it.

  • avatar

    These new pics look pretty damn good. Better than what they did with the MKS.

    The old MKS has a baleen grill and Maserati taillights.
    The new MKS has a NAPSTER grill and a CAMRY taillights.

    Lincoln has to do whatever it can to be different, but I much prefer Cadillac.

  • avatar

    Really sad Lincoln didn’t pursue a new flagship with that Continental concept or the even sexier MKR concept we saw a few years ago. Those would have been cars to really lift Lincoln up where it belongs.

    • 0 avatar

      What Lincoln and its dealers need is a car that’s going to sell in quantity. A super expensive, high end flagship product won’t do that.

      Cadillac has never had a “flagship” at any time in the recent past and it is doing just fine. (The STS and DTS were no more flagships than the Town Car; though nice, they hardly compared to the top of line offerings from BMW, Mercedes, etc.) Audi didn’t experience its major image and sales turnaround because of the A8 – it was the lowly A4 that set them on the path to success. The vast majority of BMW’s profits come from the 5-series range, not the 7-series or the “M” anything.

      What Lincoln needs is for its “volume” model to be a smash hit. That will provide them with the profits they need to justify lower volume, high performance variants and a fancy “flagship” model. Debuting the “new” Lincoln with an really expensive flagship might make for great press, but it wouldn’t do much for the bottom line.

      • 0 avatar

        I disagree that they should focus on volume products. Lincoln doesn’t need humungous volume to be profitable, Ford brand can handle volume.

        Lincoln needs prestige to generate image and revenue per vehicle sold. Any volume after that will just compound success.

        If I were Lincoln, I wouldn’t want to be compared to Cadillac or BMW. While Cadillac products are arguably the best they’ve ever been, they aren’t the best in the entire world. They’ve relegated themselves to benchmarking German automakers.

        Since Lincoln is basically rebuilding their brand from the ground up (their volume sucks now) they have an opportunity to not benchmark the best, but be the benchmark.

  • avatar

    Please no more photos of the 2002 Continental Concept. So clean, so elegant, so cruelly dangled in front of us.

  • avatar

    For what it’s worth Sajeev pretty much all collaborative professional occupations (engineering, software, film, etc.) go thru this kind of design/review/criticize cycle. Nothing to be ashamed of as long as you are honest and constructive. Once things get personal however it’s time to break up the team.

    • 0 avatar

      “Once things get personal however it’s time to break up the team.”

      If things are allowed to get to that level, its a failure of leadership. I hate to see otherwise good teams fall apart because the leaders(s) lack the soft skills to manage conflict. Sadly, its almost always the team that is broken up/replaced/let go when it should have been the leader.

  • avatar

    Come to Detroit and I’ll get you inside of one… but just like conquering any ‘ho, inevitably your conscious will get the best of you and you’ll end up in the fetile position, crying/rocking youreslf to sleep from the sheer amount of shame.

    It has 1 piece of Lincoln ‘DNA’ (total horse crap terminology which is just a dry HJ to the purists) that I like: raised decklid.

  • avatar
    Jack Baruth

    Oh, Sajeev…

    The *women* are supposed to regret the one-night stands, not you. Read your Susan Minot:

    Actually, it’s best if they don’t regret the one night stand at all, but stop short of cutting themselves and sending you the photos via SMS just because you don’t want to move them into your home the following week.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Does Ford have an underlying platform to use for building the Continental Concept? If they built it, it’d need a V-8, 6speed MT, and AC seats for us who live in lands where 90 degrees Fahrenheit and 90 percent humidity is just another summer day.

    • 0 avatar

      That is RWD? No. Unless S550 can be stretched (which maybe there is a god and something happens like when the D3 gave birth to the D4 platform). DEW98 died with the LS. The XF still lives on the platform.

    • 0 avatar

      The Continental Concept is from ten years ago. It has about as much chance of seeing the light of day as the ’58 Ford Nucleon.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        It still looks good ten years later and would look good in 10 more years. Realistically will Ford build this? No. They’ll spend more on K-Cups than reviving Lincoln. I had a picture in my mind of Homer saying: It’s a Nucleon, Lisa”.

    • 0 avatar

      The current 5.0-liter V8 is so good that it deserves a luxury sedan to power. The 6-speed MT is also available, but has even less chance of happening than the car itself. It’s relatively easy to stretch the length of a platform. The tougher part would be making the car sufficiently wide.

      • 0 avatar

        It’s easy to stretch or raise the beltline (D4 is D3 with risers on the body structure). The trick would be to retain S550’s chassis and driveline components. DV/PV testing is over my head, but there’s enough stupidly wide spread platform ho’ing that I know it would be possible, though the 2002 Continental concept was a Panther.

      • 0 avatar

        Can’t comment on the next-gen platform, but the current Mustang is plenty wide. At 74″, it’s 0.3″ wider than a W221 S-class, and 1.1″ wider than an XTS. Only the 300 is wider — by 0.1″.

  • avatar

    We have spoken recently of fanboism. I resemble that remark. I have been a fan of FMC for most of my life (along with Mazda/Audi/Infiniti). I desire so much for FMC to get their stuff together and save Lincoln. 1 billion aint going to do it. The MKR and Continental concepts would start them off and maybe even save them.
    Ford in my mind seems over confident, and I believe that they have a strategy to shutter Lincoln in the next five years. Do I want it to happen? NO. Fords direction with their core brands smacks of arrogance. The made very competitive vehicles for what 5 years? Then they thought themselves as good as Yota and Honda. Despite the missteps by both of them they have been doing beyond competitive vehicles for 20 years. Ford should have continued to build solid dependable and somewhat fun to drive cars instead of leading edge tech that is hard to manage and understand (MFT). If you would wipe out MFT and the funky ass transmissions they wouldnt have to many issues.
    Like I said I love Ford and grew up desiring to have a Lincoln (actually did have a 89 Conti.) If a year ago Ford would have said we are sending 15 billion to Lincoln to get them headed in the right direction over the next 6 years year I would have said bravo. Instead they get the gas face.
    Come on Ford make Lincoln great again. Do the whole lineup of sedans with suicide doors, no matter what size sedan it is. Use only diesels hybrids. Yeah I know that it will be expensive but no one else will be able to say that. Originality worked for Subbie and Audi for years by them being able to say they only made all wheel drive cars. Now everyone has some form of AWD.
    Unlike alot of folks on this site I dont want Ford/Lincoln to fail, I am too much of a fan for that.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    The red one looks pretty good down to the bottom of the trunk lid. Way too much slab below there; needs about six inches of height cut out of it. The blue brick needs to go back to the warehouse where they keep the Ark of the Covenant, and stay there until the third Temple is built.

  • avatar

    Tisk, tisk, tisk, still waiting for the “full” design review. I would go to the dealer myself, but the only Lincoln dealer that was nearby closed. (Now they sell Kia) The nearest Lincoln dealer is now over 90 miles away. I’m not driving 90 miles to ogle a design I’m only mildly curious about.

  • avatar

    If FoMoCo wouldve built that Continental, they wouldve found many buyers IMO. That and the same era ‘Interceptor’ concept….

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • RHD: An Applecart (very clever of you, by the way) could be an electrified, high-tech shopping trolley that rings up...
  • RHD: These names are much better than ID.3, ID.4, ID.5 and so on. What the #### is VW thinking?
  • Inside Looking Out: Saturn tried that – did not work. Can we say that Saturn was an iPhone of the cars?
  • conundrum: The Apple business plan of buying something for $50 each from outside supplier(s) and selling it for $1500...
  • Inside Looking Out: Van Rivian.

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber