By on January 8, 2015

Lincoln MKC

For the longest time, there wasn’t much difference between Lincoln and Ford in the design game, consumers hardly seeing much difference between an MKZ and a Fusion despite the former’s premium price. Ford global design boss Moray Callum is drawing a line in the sand as far as that is concerned.

In an interview with Automotive News Callum said that as far as design goes, he didn’t think there should be “a visual connection between Lincoln and Ford.” The decision to have a design studio separate from Ford is part of this goal, citing the cross-pollination among competitors Lexus and Infiniti with their respective parent brands, Toyota and Nissan.

Within Lincoln, the differentiation is beginning to take hold. Callum explained that the MKC and MKZ share no common sheet metal, proportion or stance with its cousins, the Ford Escape and Fusion. That said, the differentiation is not something he has to enforce, nor does he feel a need to do so, proclaiming that it’s a decision both brands are consciously making.

As for Ford’s own premium concerns, Callum states that though the Blue Oval isn’t pretending “to be a premium brand,” he didn’t see any harm in bringing a premium feel to the portfolio, adding that “the premium brands don’t have a monopoly on great design.”

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73 Comments on “Callum: No ‘Visual Connection Between Lincoln And Ford’...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    In other words, “The customer is smarter then we thought, so from now on we’re going to make Fords and Lincolns look different”

    yeh

  • avatar

    …UNTIL you get INSIDE…
    or…
    …UNTIL you open the HOOD…

    • 0 avatar
      AoLetsGo

      Under the HOOD you can get the MKC with a 2.3 Ecoboost can’t do that on an Escape. Also it is no one trick pony like a Hellcat, up here in snow country I will take the AWD. Motor Trend also has it at a 1/4 mile time of 15.0 same as the BMW X4 xDrive28i.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Aside from my general thoughts on the drivetrain, my question is why “can” I get it as opposed to it just being standard on the so called luxury brand? Seriously.

      • 0 avatar
        brn

        Not to mention the 3.7L in the MKZ and MKX that can’t be found in the Fusion or the Edge.

        Also, anyone that thinks the MKZ and Fusion look similar inside or out is living in a different dimension than I am.

  • avatar

    …until you look at the interior.

    …until you look under the hood.

    …until you look at the specs.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Interior is debatable… specs/under the hood has nothing to do with visuals.

      • 0 avatar

        Bridge of WIERD leather and MOUSE FUR upholstery do not a “luxury” car make.

        Nor your EGOboost engines.

        LOL – give these turkeys a turbocharged 1-liter engine with barely enough power to turn itself and hook it to a transmission with a billion speeds and a 0-60 in FOREVER…

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          Way to move the goalposts. As if fake Bentley grills, pushrod V8s and a general air of overcompensation are “luxury” as well. Like I said, what is under the hood or what the specs are have nothing to do with visual connections between the two brands…. LMK if you want to discuss that or if u are just going to keep throwing out self serving non-sequtirs.

  • avatar
    mjz

    Overall, I like Lincoln’s design direction. Still don’t think the split wing grille looks “premium” enough, too much like an Oldsmobile. The MKZ is really a stunning design. Always turns my head. Best, most distinctive interpretation of the grille styling cue.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I agree on the MKZ – every time I see one on the street it turns my head.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      The “split wing grille” is a throwback to ’30s-vintage Lincolns and to be quite honest are a good look for the brand–better than anything they’ve produced in the last 50 years.

      That doesn’t mean I’ll be buying one though; it’s still a Ford underneath.

    • 0 avatar
      gotsmart

      I was actually shocked when i learned that the MkC is based on the Escape. I thought for sure with its proportions and visual heft, it was based on the new Edge.

      So they’ve definitely done an excellent job of making the Escape platform look wider, more substantial and more upmarket than the Ford product.

      But that means they’re also going to have to work REALLY hard to distinguish the new MkX from both the Edge and the MkC.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    I think Lincoln is doing a good job with Lincoln condsidering where Lincoln was a few years ago, but I seem to recall that some Lincoln exec said about 6 months ago that it would be a multi year process to build Lincoln. I’m not expecting an immeidate change, but by appearances I think this is on track. Some additional investment on the interior and the grill will really help.

  • avatar
    Fred

    Moving farther from the Ford style will cost Lincoln some money. I’m not sure buyers are willing to pay that much more for a bit of style if the mechanics are still Ford.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I’ll pay the cost difference ($4000ish usually) between a Ford and Lincoln model because of better styling if it includes a V6 engine (boosted or not) over the Ford boosted 4. A V6 should be standard on the MKZ.

      • 0 avatar
        Chocolatedeath

        I think the hybrid should be to standard engine just make sense forget to make a bunch of them and spread out the cost. the six cylinder should be the mid-level engine EcoBoost all-wheel-drive being the top level trim.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          The hybrid is a no cost option on the MKZ, so I would like them to continue that. At $35K the choice of the 3.7L V6 or Hybrid would be my preference. It’s not that the 2.0T is bad. I like it very much in the Focus, Escape, and Fusion. I just think the V6 makes a better Lincoln.

          • 0 avatar
            Chocolatedeath

            I did not realize they were still doing the no cost option thing. I thought they left that out during the last redesign. Although it expensive I still believe that the EcoBoost 3.5 with all wheel drive will be a great performance alternative as well. It would set it apart from the ES 350.of course I would still love to have my diesel. Preferably a diesel hybrid, this was separated from all others.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Yeah, it’s actually an option that you make money on because the residual of a MKZ Hybrid is much higher than that of the MKZ 2.0T.

            I don’t know if the 3.5TT fits in the MKZ. Ford hasn’t shoehorned it into anything smaller than the Taurus. I would think that the 2.7TT would fit though. I’d be fine with that in the MKZ.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I don’t know if the 3.5TT fits. It’s never been in anything smaller than the Taurus. There is always the 2.7TT that seems to fit in the Edge/MKX. I’d be fine with that.

          • 0 avatar
            TMA1

            That’s one thing that’s always offended me about the MKZ. They’ve already tacked on thousands of dollars to the price on an overdressed Ford, so they brag that they’ll give you the hybrid version at “no-cost”.

          • 0 avatar
            Lorenzo

            Of COURSE the 3.5 fits in a MKZ – that was the optional engine in the 2008 model, so an ecoboost 3.5 should fit the later model. I still think the ’61 continental grille in the older MKZ looked better than the split wing, but I’m old fashioned.

        • 0 avatar
          MrGreenMan

          When you’ve seen the struggle that the Fusion hybrid has in this weather in Michigan (they just don’t appear to be able to lay down any power – even I4 competency), and you’ve known enough people who turned in their hybrids after last year’s winter, a standard hybrid would be really bad for sales in the Rust Belt. People have seen enough hybrid poor performance. Better a hot rod Lincoln with V6+AWD for Polar Vortex winters.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I haven’t had any issues with my C-Max’s power in the winter. This is winter #3 with it, with last year being Polar Vortex nonsense. Do people not know where to find the gas pedal? Maybe they shouldn’t drive.

  • avatar
    tedward

    “Callum explained that the MKC and MKZ share no common sheet metal, proportion or stance with its cousins, the Ford Escape and Fusion.”

    I know that I shouldn’t care but I’m actually insulted by this. Really, screw this guy. The vehicles are blatantly badge engineered and demonstrate exactly how little regard Ford holds for the Lincoln brand and exactly how little Ford thinks is worth investing in it. It takes one second in any of these cars to see this comment for the lie it is.

    If a lie needs to be told let PR and Marketing do the dirty work. Everyone else is supposed to maintain some semblance of dignity. Self respect; it’s important.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      If there’s a problem here, its your determination to see Lincoln as nothing more than a rebadged Ford. Somehow, I have a feeling that if Ford were to completely rid themselves of platform sharing, ensuing that no Lincoln used a Ford platform, you’d still yell that its badge engineering.

      Take a close look at an MKZ someday. Same plaform? Yeah, just like Volkswagen/Audi, which seems to be ok. Same car? Dream on.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Ditto for Lexus, Syke. And yet, no one seems to trash them for “badge-engineering” the two models they can’t live without. Wonder why…

      • 0 avatar
        tedward

        Syke
        Their entire lineup is, physically speaking, rebadged Fords. It’s not my problem by any means. Every other brand dips their toe into the cheap profit water with this practice, but they limit it to a few models. Audi, which you mention, shares the A3, Q3 and TT with VW, and I think you would be a fool to buy one of those over the loaded VW alternative. Same goes for the Lexus ES as opposed to their otherwise quite distinct LS and IS range.

        Nissan’s practice of sharing a RWD longitudinal platform with Infinite is an interesting alternative path. Note that Ford apparently couldn’t be bothered to invest in this strategy either, despite having Australian and American chassis that could, with development, serve this purpose admirably.

        I’ve said it before but Acura is the only other premium brand that embraces this strategy. It’s a cheap, short sighted and contemptible way to run a premium nameplate. At least Acura has the defense of never having been anything but a trim level proposition.

        • 0 avatar
          tedward

          Let me also put this out there. I’m a big fan of Ford product in general terms, so I’m not hating the parent brand here. What I hate is that I get into a Lincoln and it screams “Ford” at me with every surface angle and control point, inside and out. What drives many nails into many coffins is that I usually think the Ford version drives and handles better.

          I do think Lincoln utilizes some really interesting styling cues and has designers that would probably knock it out of the park if given a vehicle with actually distinct proportions to work with.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Lincoln had their chance on a separate platform (XJ aluminum) and didn’t take it. They were content with the TC, which of course was bang up to date and would last forever. D’oh!

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Corey always gotta be bringing up a Lincoln XJ just to make me sad.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            You can rest your Kleenex box on the Vanden Plas tray tables in the back.

            :(

          • 0 avatar

            Well, they did borrow the S Type platform for the LS. I’ve long thought that the Lincoln LS would make a decent canvas for some performance mods. Don’t know if the S Type R parts will bolt up or not, but it’s a decent platform and much as I like Jaguars, I’m not a fan of the S Type’s retro look and think the LS is handsome (even if it can be confused with the Mitsubishi Galant).

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I agree with the handsome looks of the LS, and it was current looking for about the first couple years. But everyone else moved on styling-wise, and there the LS sat, with only basic headlamp and tail lamp reshaping to tide it over. By 06 it was miles behind everyone else.

          • 0 avatar
            Featherston

            @ Corey – Between Seville Row and Vanden Plas trays, you’ve had me cracked up the past two days.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Why thank you, I aim to entertain while I’m here!

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Corey you’re getting some Acclaim for having Vision with your humor and being so Reliant to entertain.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            K, -Cars are just funny things!

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Vision was an LH car – OH SNAP.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Post-malaise humor cracks me up

  • avatar
    John R

    With the Mustang finally being IRS maybe Ford/Lincoln can at last join their peers in taking advantge of the bones of their resident RWD like Infiniti/Nissan and Toyota/Lexus have done.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I had hope that was going to happen about a decade or so ago. I recall cries about a “4 door Mustang” from those who took the notion a little too literally.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    I like the direction Ford is taking Lincoln. I seem to recall reading a statement about 6 months ago from a Lincon exec stating that The new shift in Linconln would take a few years. I certainly think Lincoln has made great strides since where they were 5 years ago. I agree there is work to do, but it seems there is momentum. The real truth is that this is no longer the 70s and consumers will no longer tolerate a different grill and different tail lights. I have no interest in Lincoln other than I own stock in Ford, but I’ll root for Lincoln. I’d like to see continued success.

  • avatar
    John R

    […what’s with this place and eating comments…]

    Hopefully with the Mustang being IRS maybe Ford can do more than rearranging the chairs on the deck of the ship. Toyota and Nissan has had success in exploiting the bones of thier domestic RWD products.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      One would think that a RWD Lincoln would make sense now that the Mustang has IRS, BUT FoMoCo has not used RWD platforms that it developed for Jaguar since the LS died in 2006.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        The next RWD Lincoln will be based on the RWD Explorer.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          More commonly known as the Ford Territory

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            No. It’s something different. The Falcon/Territory platform is done. The Explorer/Lincoln crossover will be on a new platform.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            My bad, I was referencing Derek’s report back in October where he used a picture of the Territory. That was misleading

            https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/exclusive-lincolns-upcoming-rwd-crossover/

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Lie2me-

            It is certainly the same idea, and I suppose it could be called “Territory” in other markets. They get the super cool Everest though. Damnit Ford…

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          That is true. I should have said “RWD sedan or coupe”. My wife will probably want the RWD Lincoln Explorer too. I’d prefer a sedan built on the Mustang platform for me, but I like the Mustang enough to buy it anyway. I’d part with an extra $10K for the Lincoln over the Mustang though.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            Don’t make me all hot and bothered like that.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Danio-

            All we can do is dream.

            (Ahhh, LWB Mustang, 4 doors, Coyote standard, squared off/slab side styling, excellent interior, RWD, suspenion not tuned for Burgerkingonionring laps. I need one!)

    • 0 avatar
      ...m...

      (i believe it happens anytime someone uses the word ‘s!de’, be it alone or in a compound word)

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “Callum states that though the Lincoln Imperial Motorcoach Co. Ltd. isn’t pretending “to be a premium brand,””

    Fixed it.

    “Callum said that as far as design goes, he didn’t think there should be “a visual connection between Lincoln and Ford.””

    Ah but everything else is identical.

    “Callum explained that the MKC and MKZ share no common sheet metal, proportion or stance with its cousins, the Ford Escape and Fusion.”

    The Ford’s are probably better.

    I wouldn’t have as much of an issue with the Lincoln Imperial Motorcoach Co. Ltd. if it literally wasn’t a trim package with uncommon sheet metal. Town Car used the same bones but used a completely different body vs CV/MGM, I believe Navi is the same way. Mark VIII was MN-12 but with a modified body and unique motor. FWD Conti was a “visually different” Taurus until the Taurus went DN101 and the Conti became a heavily modified -and unique- gen 1 Taurus. Fox Mark VII may have been the most closely related to its Ford sibling now that I think about it because the Fox Conti was vastly different than the Fox LTD/Marquis, and prior to that it was all BOF with different bodies between between the two brands.

    Some of the worst resale in recent memory tells a story Mr. Callum. You killed Lincoln and Mercuried the corpse, we get it. Just be a man and own up to it or keep the newspeak to yourself.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    This should not have taken some new decree… It’s incredible that had not learned from the many object lessons provided in the past on Badge Engineering that letting the cars look similar was not going to end well.

  • avatar
    insalted42

    Ehhhhhh….I guess so. Newer Lincolns are certainly more distinctive than most Lincoln models were a few years ago. At least now their main client base (soccer moms, octogenarians, and corporate bean counters) won’t be able to confuse them for their Ford counterparts like they could have circa 2007.

  • avatar
    bryanska

    Doesn’t matter much. Lexus looks like Toyota, the ILX looks like a Civic. So what? If the feature list was more compelling it would matter less than the visual similarities.

    If I could get a true V6, if the suspension was exclusive, if the interior was exlcusive… then we’d be talking a real benefit. As it is, I don’t think the MKC and MKX suffer from being Ford-ish on the exterior.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      The current MKX looks too much like its Ford counterpart (the Edge), but the new MKC is distinct from the Escape. The “Ford look” isn’t apparent on that vehicle. The next-generation MKX is also much more differentiated from its Ford sibling.

  • avatar
    onyxtape

    I interviewed with Ford back in the late 90s (?) for one of their fast-track executive programs for new grads, and one of the interviewers was some honcho from the Jaguar division. Being young with an unfiltered mouth, I told him straight up that the Jags at that time looked like Tauruses with leather. He was visibly unhappy about that, though I can’t imagine he’s not heard this before.

    In the end, they did offer me a position, despite the fact I was the only one there without an MBA or Master’s. So I guess maybe they were looking for people other than yes-men.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    Perception is a funny thing. The Ford and Lincoln may look completely different, but kowing they share a platform (or components thereof) taints how we might think of them. I drive a Lexus GS and my inner snob insists that the GS, LS and IS are the only real Lexus, the rest just rebadged Toyotas, yet, until recently, they were all ‘Yotas in Japan. Sheetmetal is only the start, they need to instill some fundamentally different driving/experiencing aspect to make Lincoln ‘special.’ And please don’t make it more infotainment features.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      You are correct in your snobbery but in the case of Lexus if its not being offered as a Toyota in your country in my mind its a Lexus if offered as such.

  • avatar
    Timtoolman

    The problem with badge-engineered products, especially 20 years ago, was they all still looked the same, (with exception of a grille and taillights). Remember Cimmaron? A Cavalier with a Caddy badge.

    I could never understand why Chryco didn’t try to make the T&C upscale with an exclusive engine, better suspension, higher grade materials, and even (possibly) different body panels. Despite the poor sales of the Routan, it was essentially another Chrysler minivan, BUT it had a better suspension and a bit nicer interior.

    Now, Cadillac is trying to distance their cars from the rest of GM by offering a different look, better performance and exclusivity. Will it work? I dunno…Ford tried to make Jaguars out of Tauruses and couldn’t make money at it. Fiat will share Alfa platforms with Dodge, but not body styles, engines, materials or suspensions. It could work, but there’s got to be a real difference. I’m not sure what Ford is doing will convince the “informed” buyer that his Lincoln is still a bit more than a cloned Ford.

  • avatar
    cargogh

    I took Mom car shopping last weekend–she knows little about cars. While she didn’t care about them, there was an older Escape, a new Escape and an MKC on the front row, side by side. She liked the last gen Escape best. Her only comment on the MKC was that the rear hatch looked enormous and it had better be power lifted. She didn’t like a Dart or 200. As for the 300, “Jerry has one of those.” He parks it at Pleasant Valley every Sunday. His is from 2006, but Mom saw no difference in the new ones. The new Mustang had a “hump” in the front of the hood. Still doesn’t find any grace in a Fusion. Foci look cheap. The only car she liked, “It really catches my eye, and doesn’t look like anything else,” was the Lincoln MKZ.


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