Please Be True: Lincoln Planning a Return to Suicide Doors on Continental, Report Claims

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

The future of the slow-selling Lincoln Continental couldn’t be more hazy, but a new report claims the brand is preparing a last-ditch effort to revive interest in the flagship sedan. How does Lincoln plan to reverse a sales slide amid an industry addicted to crossovers?

Suicide doors.

Yes, the novel layout once favored by luxury American automakers — and returned to prominence with the iconic 1961-1969 Continentals — could make a comeback.

That’s what Lincoln dealers who attended the National Automobile Dealers Association meeting in Las Vegas last weekend told Automotive News. According to multiple dealers, Lincoln brass showed off a photo of a Continental with rear-hinged rear doors. And it wasn’t just catnip, either.

The same dealers say Lincoln is committed to building the model, part of an effort to show it isn’t completely opposed to the idea of cars.

After Ford Motor Company’s recent truck- and SUV-heavy product announcements, anyone would be forgiven for thinking both Ford and Lincoln had no time for cars. Multiple reports suggest Ford plans to get rid of the Fusion, and with it, the Lincoln MKZ and Continental. The flagship sedan, which bowed in 2016, rides on a modified Fusion platform and was intended to resurrect some of the brand’s past glamor. It also provided, via its grille, a new design template for the brand.

Still, as tempting as all of this door action sounds, the existing model really isn’t performing well with the buying public. A Hail Mary product pass isn’t out of the realm of possibility, but this latest report carries a big grain of salt even in the minds of classic Lincoln aficionados.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Ford’s president of global markets, Jim Farley, wouldn’t talk about the Continental’s future, or about cars in general.

“I’m not going to comment on that right now,” he said. “We have two new utilities coming in the next couple years and we’re going to learn a lot through those launches. You know, we’re always adjusting our product lineup.”

It isn’t known whether dealers attending the NADA conference were shown a modified version of the existing CD4-based Continental (which seems unlikely) or a wholly new model, possibly underpinned by the modular CD6 platform bound for the next-generation Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator. Last we heard, that platform was SUV-only.

If Lincoln were to try again to rekindle interest in the model through suicide doors, it wouldn’t just have fond memories of Kennedy-era Continentals to bank on. Rolls Royce’s Phantom and Ghost models brought the doors back from oblivion, with consumers now associating the layout with truly high-end motor cars. (Strange — few people mention the 1967-’71 Thunderbird sedan when discussing suicide doors.)

Lincoln Continental sales fell 29.7 percent in the U.S. last month, with sales over the first two months of 2018 down 30 percent.

[Images: Ford Motor Company]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

More by Steph Willems

Comments
Join the conversation
2 of 53 comments
  • Wodehouse Wodehouse on Mar 28, 2018

    As the kids say: "LOL" I don't really see the point if it's a 1-and-done in its current form. The proportions are wrong, anyway. Leave it as is and put the money into the pot towards turning the next "Continental" into an American style Land Rover RR Velar conquerer. Something that's fashionable and loaded with unmistakable style and presence the way Continentals always were before the 80s and 90s.

  • Dantes_inferno Dantes_inferno on Apr 04, 2018

    Return of the OCP 6000-SUX!

  • Mia Hey there!I recently stumbled upon the Crack Eraser DIY Windshield Repair Kit (check it out here: https://crackeraser.com/collections/diy-windshield-repair-kits) and decided to give it a shot on a small chip in my windshield. I have to say, it worked like a charm! Super easy to use, and it saved me a trip to the professionals. If you're dealing with a similar issue, this kit is definitely worth considering. 😊
  • Rust-MyEnemy Whoa, what the hell is wrong with Jalop1991 and his condescension? It's as if he's employed by Big Plug-In or something."I've seen plenty of your types on the forums....."Dunno what that means, but I'm not dead keen on being regarded as "A type" by a complete stranger"" I'm guessing you've never actually calculated by hand the miles you've driven against the quantity of gas used--which is your actual miles per gallon."Guess again. Why the hell would you even say that? Yes, I worked it out. Fill-to-fill, based on gas station receipts. And it showed me that a Vauxhall Astra PHEV, starting out with a fully charged PHEV battery, in Hybrid mode, on my long (234-mile) daily motorway daily commute, never, over several months, ever matched or beat the economy of the regular hybrid Honda Civic that I ran for a similar amount of time (circa 5000 miles)."You don't use gasoline at all for 30-40 miles as you use exclusively battery power, then your vehicle is a pure hybrid. Over 234 miles, you will have used whatever gas the engine used for 200 of those miles."At least you're right on that. In hybrid mode, though, the Astra was using battery power when it wasn't at all appropriate. The petrol engine very rarely chimed in when battery power was on tap, and as a result, the EV-mode range quickly disappeared. The regular hybrid Civic, though, deployed its very small electric reserves (which are used up quickly but restore themselves promptly), much more wisely. Such as when on a trailing throttle or on a downward grade, or when in stop-start traffic. As a result, at the end of my 234 miles, the Civic had used less gas than the Astra. Moreover, I hadn't had to pay for the electricity in its battery.I look forward to you arguing that what actually happened isn't what actually happened, but I was there and you were not."Regardless, that you don't understand it appears not to have stopped you from pontificating on it. Please, do us all a favor--don't vote."You really are quite unpleasant, aren't you. But thanks for the advice.
  • Tassos Jong-iL Electric vehicles are mandated by 2020 in One Korea. We are ahead of the time.
  • 1995_SC Can you still get some of the tax credits under the new program?
  • Analoggrotto HyundaiGenesisKia saw this coming a long time ago and are poised for hybrid and plug-in hybrid segment leadership:[list=1][*] The most extensive range of hybrids[/*][*]Highest hybrid sales proportion over any other model [/*][*]Best YouTube reviews [/*][*]Highest number of consumer reports best picks [/*][*]Class leading ATPs among all hybrid vehicles and PHEVs enjoy segment bearing eATPs[/*][/list=1]While some brands like Toyota have invested and wasted untold fortunes into full range electric lineups HyundaiKiaGenesis has taken the right approach here.
Next