By on April 30, 2018

Image: Lincoln Motor Company

Man, how about that upcoming Lincoln Aviator? Pretty sharp-looking SUV, ain’t it? And then there’s the new Navigator. Kinda big, though, but the 2019 Nautilus should be just the ticket for the front-drive midsizer crowd.

Oh, right — we were talking about sedans. Lincoln loves ’em, apparently, and it’s not having any of this Ford’s-killing-all-the-cars talk.

Speaking to Automobile in the wake of Ford’s decision to kill off the Fiesta, Focus, Fusion, and Taurus in North America, a spokesman for the automaker tried to reassure traditionalists that the brand which brought you the Town Car for so many years has not abandoned its three-box heritage.

Ford is “committed” to the Lincoln MKZ and Continental, the spokesman said.

Is that the sound of doubt we hear echoing through readers’ minds? They’d be forgiven for thinking this Ford rep is referring to just the current-generation MKZ and Continental, as we’ve detailed just how poorly these models sell. Rumors of the Continental’s looming demise spread like wildfire earlier this year. Then, just as quickly, another rumor arose, this time based on the testimony of dealers who attended a National Automobile Dealers Association meeting in Las Vegas.

Ford Motor Company brass apparently wanted Lincoln dealers to know it wasn’t completely opposed to the idea of selling cars. Oh, and the next Continental will have suicide doors, they said.

It’s hard to muster up a firm belief on this kind of shaky footing. Both the Continental and MKZ ride atop Ford’s CD4 platform, the same one underpinning the Fusion, Edge, and MKX/Nautilus. While the Continental shares valuable factory space with the Mustang in Flat Rock, Michigan, Mexican workers cobble together the MKZ south of the Rio Grande.

One can envision a next-gen Continental appearing on the year-drive CD6 platform found beneath the 2020 Ford Explorer and Aviator, but we’ve heard that particular version of the modular platform is reserved only for SUVs, at least for the time being. And the MKZ? Maybe it could soldier on with its current platform, or switch to whatever shows up beneath the next-gen Edge. That model isn’t expected to see a revamp until the coming decade.

Then there’s the issue of China. While Lincoln sales fell 17.1 percent in the U.S. over the first three months of 2018, sales are on the rise in China, where the Continental is a prized executive car. The Lincoln brand is apparently readying a product surge for that market. One of those products, Reuters reports, is allegedly a new MKZ.

However, just because China gets an American model doesn’t mean Americans will. Look at the China-only Ford Taurus (also built on the CD4 platform) for proof of that. It’s possible, though, that China could build a sedan for us, just like it does with the Cadillac CT6, Volvo S90, and Buick Envision, thus freeing up valuable domestic plant space for the production of high-profit SUVs. Production of the first domestically produced Chinese Lincolns is expected to kick off before the end of next year.

As we said before, it’s weird to think of the Lincoln brand without at least one car anchoring the division to its illustrious past. Still, it’s impossible to ignore that MKZ sales fell 34.4 percent in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2018, with the Continental not far behind with a volume loss of 25.1 percent. At this point, it would be strange to see a next-generation MKZ appear in North America.

A new Continental? That’s a little more understandable.

[Images: Lincoln Motor Company]

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47 Comments on “Lincoln Says It’s ‘Committed’ to Sedans, but for How Long?...”


  • avatar
    ajla

    Mustang.
    Based.
    Lincoln.
    Cars.

    • 0 avatar
      geo

      I thought the Mustang was vaguely based on the old Lincoln LS platform.

      • 0 avatar
        dukeisduke

        The D2C or S-197 platform (2005 Mustang) was based on a shortened version of the DEW98 platform (Lincoln LS), except that the LS used double wishbones front and rear (and IRS), where the Mustang went with cheaper-to-manufacture McPherson struts up front and live axle at the rear, with coils, trailing arms, and a Panhard rod.

    • 0 avatar
      Paulinator66

      I had heard this was already a done deal. Lincoln would be getting a variant of the next Mustang. In fact, the current Mustang is on a shortened refresh cycle so Lincoln could have their car sooner. Now I wonder how much this latest news affects the Lincoln Mustang.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Ain’t.
      Gonna.
      Happen.

      (And it’s a shame. I bet you a Lincoln truck is coming, though.)

    • 0 avatar
      brickgeek

      The Lincoln Emancipator’s time has come. Stretch it just a touch. About 20mm of lift to supple the ride. Navigator quality interior. Offer it with the 3.0 Ecoboost. Have a Lincoln exclusive Shooting Brake. Do it. Please.

  • avatar
    TwoBelugas

    So much for all the foam-at-the-mouth Ford fans calling GM Guangzhou Motors…

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I *literally* created the tagline of Guangzhou Motors for General Motors (with vehicles made of massive % of Chinese-sourced parts, or e entirely in China!) ust to be clear, and believe FoMoCo is now on a ruinous path with steel office furniture expert Jim HACKett at its helm.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        So, basically everything sucks except Chrysler/Jeep, never mind that Jeep is huge in China and has China-only models like the new Grand Commander.

        So, you just pick and choose which facts to crow about and which to ignore, depending on your personal bias against or for a given manufacturer.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    +1 on the Mustang based Comet/zephyr/MK whatever sedan

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “Ford Motor Company brass apparently wanted Lincoln dealers to know it wasn’t completely opposed to the idea of selling cars. Oh, and the next Continental will have suicide doors, they said.

    Party on Wayne.

  • avatar
    gasser

    Take a mustang, splice in 10” in midsection, add two doors. Instant Lincoln sedan. Ford already has proven drive trains. BMW already does this with 4 and 6 series.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      They will have to do better than that. The Mustang interior is laughably cramped for its size. It will be the CTS all over again.

      FWIW the current Explorer is no better. If space efficiency is a target of the CD6 platform, Lincolns and the next Mustang should all be based off of that. There is no reason for the Mustang to have the exterior of a 5 series and an interior SMALLER than the 2 series.

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        Good Lord, the Mustang *is* almost as big. It’s less than 6″ shorter than the G30 5 Series. And it’s wider, though that doesn’t surprise me as much. You learn something new every day.

        To be fair to the current Mustang, the model did originate as a project that entailed sacrificing the Falcon’s excellent packaging on the altar of cosmetics.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    “Reached for comment, Ford spokesman Mike Levine sent us the following statement: “We do not speculate about future products. While diesel is a solution, it is not the solution. EcoBoost offers the ideal combination of performance and fuel economy that over 60 percent of F-150 customers are choosing.”

    Remember when Ford said this two years ago? No diesel in the F-150.

    So, yea, Ford is about as believable as Hillary Clinton.

    • 0 avatar
      TwoBelugas

      Ford only put the diesel in the F150 because Ram has had the market to itself for last year or two whenever the EPA wasn’t coming after it for technicalities. The fact that they put it in the Lariat as the lowest available trim for retail customers should give you the hint that they don’t really want people to buy it but hey, if you want to pay 8-10 grand on top of your XLT for the access that fleets already do….

      Otherwise they won’t violate the sacred doctrine of “Though shall not overshadow EcoBoost”.

      Also, was this meant for another thread?

      • 0 avatar
        EBFlex

        No it wasn’t meant for another thread.

        My point is that what Ford says, and what Ford actually does are two wildly different things (ie diesel F-150).

        • 0 avatar
          Pete Zaitcev

          Isn’t it how it always is? Remember how Apple touted the advantages of PowerPC while preparing to switch to Intel in secret.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            That’s okay, companies are allowed to adjust to the market and reconsider past decisions, unless its a company you hate. Then, feel free to rant about F-150 diesels in a Lincoln sedan thread because #downwithford.

          • 0 avatar
            05lgt

            I’m going to allow it, goes to credibility.

          • 0 avatar
            EBFlex

            “I’m going to allow it, goes to credibility.”

            Exactly. I’m not surprised how that went way over someones head.

            In December 2015 Ford’s official line was that EcoBust was the kind and diesel had no place. Two years later and it’s in production. And, of course, if you drink enough kool-aid, there is no problem there. Everyone else can see the dishonesty.

            “feel free to rant about F-150 diesels in a Lincoln sedan thread”

            Who is ranting about diesel F-150s?

  • avatar
    dwford

    I thought the CD6 was supposed to be a modular platform that could do FWD, RWD, and AWD, and basically be the basis for most everything at Ford. No reason it couldn’t be the base for a new MKZ and Continental. Even if it can’t, new versions could still be build on the CD4, it’s not an old platform at all.

  • avatar
    DEVILLE88

    SUICIDE DOORS SUICIDE DOORS SUICIDE DOORS…………..

  • avatar
    thegamper

    Lincoln is committed to cars in that they still have to sell enough Continentals to set off development costs and to the extent that the Continental is still fairly early in its product cycle.

    Show me a non vaporware production model of a new car you plan to introduce in the next 3 years and I will believe it.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      +1 on the vaporware. Ford has been talking about this mystery fleet of new alt-fuel vehicles, but where are the prototypes? Oh, yeah, they are parked out back with that Chrysler crossover and the replacements for the Challenger and 300 we keep hearing about.

  • avatar
    whitworth

    The big strategic mistake Lincoln and Cadillac both made is they tried to price their sedans the same as European offerings and they were just never going to win that battle.

    Instead, they should have decided to be something “in between” and beat the competition on price.

    Nobody is going to pay $70,000 for a loaded Lincoln Continental. But a nice big sedan for maybe $38k? Why not? Lexus can do it with the ES and Hyundai with their Genesis.

    My guess is they’ll fold shop soon, at least with their sedans. Shame, I wanted Lincoln to succeed, but they over priced it and really missed on the styling as well.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      I don’t know if price will do it.

      I honestly don’t think that Buick’s sedans (sportback included) and the Impala are terribly priced for what you get, just nobody wants sedans.

      • 0 avatar
        whitworth

        In this current era, sedans are just not a hot seller, but that change is relatively recent and I think a niche could be carved and whether the obsession with CUV is still there years from now is still an open question. I could very much see CUVs being looked at like minivans at some point and consumers drop them.

        Tastes change and there are still a lot of sedan buyers. I’m one of them, but no way do I even look at Lincoln or Cadillac with their current pricing.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        No one can really “afford” anything, but there are some things people are worth going into debt for and some they are not.

        Oh and they made most of the cars suck too.

        “I’m one of them, but no way do I even look at Lincoln or Cadillac with their current pricing.”

        This too.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Excpet somebody, a lot of somebodys actually, are paying big money for Navigators and Escalades. But, no, Lincolns and Caddys have to be CHEAP, right? Its not that the sedan market is in decline, noooo, they just need to loose massive amounts of money on them, that will fix everything.

      • 0 avatar
        whitworth

        People will pay more for a full size SUV then they will for a sedan, it’s been that way for a while across a lot of brands.

        Does Ford charge more for a Taurus or an Expedition?

        How about GM for an Impala versus a Suburban?

        For a variety of reasons, the Big 3 have been able to get consumers to shell out the money for trucks and SUVs, but premium cars have been a tough sale for the last 25+ years.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      Re: the $70K Continental, it’s a shame all the reviewers seem to get loaded Black Label examples. Optioned the way I’d want, the MSRP comes to $51,000 and change, and that’s before an automatic $1,900 rebate and haggling.

      For a dying segment, there’s a ton of choice right now in full-sized sedans. If I lived in exurbia or a rural area, I could be happy with any one of several offerings.

  • avatar
    BrentinWA

    In our household, we have an SUV (Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland) and a full size sedan (Cadillac XTS Platinum) and given the choice, I always want to take the Cadillac, especially on a longer drive such as those to go see my mother in law.

    The sedan is so much more pleasant to drive as the center of gravity is more appropriate and you can separate yourselves from the cargo we are hauling. If there’s one thing I cannot stand is the sound of groceries rattling around in the back of the SUV after a shopping trip. I also have plenty of cargo space in my 18 feet. I don’t get this obsession with people thinking they need to haul 4×8 sheets of drywall in the back of their daily driver.

    • 0 avatar
      Pete Zaitcev

      And yet you still have the SUV. So, basically, at this point sedans are exclusively reserved for the people who can afford several cars (hopefully through sharing with a domestic partner). They basically are on the same status as sports cars now — and will see the similar sales figures.

      • 0 avatar
        TwoBelugas

        I disagree about sedans are only for people who can afford several cars, they are also for people on a tight budget who are not image conscious.

        Believe it or not out there there are still people left who just want a car to go to work and stores with, and they don’t give a crap about center of gravity or driving dynamics, just that they can wash the car in their driveway with a bucket and a sponge without having to enlist a ladder and make a big production out of it.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          Aside from the minivan, which are just as large and in many cases, just as expensive as 7 seat crossovers, what do you do if you need one vehicle that can seat more than 5 and can carry more than will fit in a sedan’s trunk?

          • 0 avatar
            TwoBelugas

            Do what car people tell pickup owners do involving mulch and Home Depot, go rent a van for that one day a year that you need to also drive your inlaw in town visiting the grand kids?

            99% of the time on the road I see one person in 4 door sedans, what’s good for the goose…and all that.

  • avatar
    BrentinWA

    In our household, we have an SUV (Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland) and a full size sedan (Cadillac XTS Platinum) and given the choice, I always want to take the Cadillac, especially on a longer drive such as those to go see my mother in law.

    The sedan is so much more pleasant to drive as the center of gravity is more appropriate and you can separate yourselves from the cargo we are hauling. If there’s one thing I cannot stand is the sound of groceries rattling around in the back of the SUV after a shopping trip. I also have plenty of cargo space in my 18 feet. I don’t get this obsession with people thinking they need to haul 4×8 sheets of drywall in the back of their daily driver.

  • avatar
    robc123

    I was at the car show, saw the pathetic lincoln booth, there wasn’t even a rep there. Got in the sedan and was amazed at how cheap and shitty it was.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    A Lincoln I can retrofit Mustang GT/Shelby parts into? Heh-heh!


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