Callum: No 'Visual Connection Between Lincoln And Ford'

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon
callum no visual connection between lincoln and ford

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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  • Onyxtape Onyxtape on Jan 08, 2015

    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.

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    • Lie2me Lie2me on Jan 08, 2015

      @Corey Lewis Yeah, I'd like to know how it went with Ford and your blunt honesty. This could be good

  • Lightspeed Lightspeed on Jan 08, 2015

    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.

    • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Jan 08, 2015

      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.

  • Timtoolman Timtoolman on Jan 08, 2015

    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.

  • Cargogh Cargogh on Jan 08, 2015

    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.