Lincoln Design Boss Calls It Quits, Resigns From Company

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

David Woodhouse, who took on the role of director of design at Lincoln Motor Company in 2013 before gaining expanded duties in 2017, has resigned his post. No reason was given for his abrupt departure.

Woodhouse’s exit comes after the designer and his team finished work on revamping the brand’s SUV-heavy lineup and crafting a new model to draw the sales Lincoln so desperately craves.

In a Facebook post cited by Automotive News, the 50-year-old Woodhouse called his decision “difficult,” adding, “Ending a long-standing relationship with a corporation is just like ending a personal relationship multiplied by the number of wonderful friends and colleagues.”

A Lincoln spokesperson stated that Woodhouse left of his own accord.

Woodhouse’s time as design director saw Lincoln embrace its new mantra of quiet luxury, with all models adopting a new, Continental-esque grille and its utility vehicles donning understated yet elegant sheetmetal. The brand’s new midsize Aviator heads to dealers this summer. After that, the compact Corsair, looking very much like a baby Aviator, arrives to replace the MKC.

After withering on the full-size luxury vine for years, Lincoln’s redesigned-for-2018 Navigator helped earn the company some serious coin. Its distinctive sheetmetal allowed it to stand apart from the likes of Cadillac’s aging Escalade. (Woodhouse’s CV shows a brief stint at Cadillac of Europe in 1998, following his time at BMW.)

Arriving at Ford’s Premier Automotive Group in 1999, Woodhouse eventually sculpted several Lincoln concept vehicles before taking on the top design job at Lincoln. In 2017, CEO Jim Hackett named him director of global strategic design for Ford Motor Company, a title he held alongside his Lincoln role.

Barring family obligations or unrevealed criminality (there’s no evidence suggesting this!), Woodhouse’s departure from Lincoln likely precedes a new gig at a rival automaker. Time will tell where Woodhouse lands. For Lincoln’s sake, it’s a good thing he finished the brand-wide revamp before hitting the road.

[Images: Lincoln Motor Company, Tim Healey/TTAC]

Steph Willems
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  • Conundrum Conundrum on Jun 10, 2019

    Woodhouse got an offer he couldn't refuse? He's a Brit and has worked for MINI, Caddy, Range Rover and BMW. Probably wouldn't mind going home, despite Brexit woes and all. JLR may well be his new home, specifically Jaguar as others speculate. Gerry McGovern does Range and Land Rovers and wants nobody second-guessing him, even though Woodhouse may well have worked for him in the past when he worked at Range Rover. Callum did Jags, first the way Ford wanted him to by cheapening everything and then later by having limited budget to correct Ford's rubbish, considering all the new models Jag brought out. He did manage the F-Type and did oversee the Aston Martin DB-9 that Count von Fisker claims as his own after literally doing only the taillights. Ford needn't complain at the work he did for Lincoln. Took them from baleen whale front ends of zero artistry to a line of pretty decent looking SUVs.

    • Dave M. Dave M. on Jun 10, 2019

      Not saying Ford’s stewardship of Jag was a home rum, but they certainly did lead a huge improvement in Jag reliability...

  • SuperCarEnthusiast SuperCarEnthusiast on Jun 11, 2019

    Maybe politics got in the way since he is really a car designer!

  • RobbyG $100k+...for a Jeep. Are they selling these in fantasy land?Twin turbo V-6 paired to an 8-speed transmission. Yet still only gets 14mpg.Whatever money you think you would save over a V-8 will be spent 2-3x amount fixing these things when they blow up.
  • Alan Well the manufacturers are catching up with stocks. This means shortages of parts is reducing. Stocks are building around the world even Australia and last year had the most vehicles ever sold here.
  • Larry You neglected to mention that the 2024 Atlas has a US Government 5-Star Safety Rating.
  • Alan Why is it that Toyota and Nissan beat their large SUVs (Patrol/300 Series) with an ugly stick and say they are upmarket? Whilst they are beating the vehicles with an ugly stick they reduce the off road ability rather than improve it.As I've stated in previous comments you are far better off waiting for the Patrol to arrive than buy an overpriced vehicle.
  • Alan How many people do you see with a 4x4 running mud tyres? How many people do you see with a 4x4 running massive rims and low profile tyres? How many people have oversize mirrors for towing once in a blue moon? How many 4x4s do you see lifted? How many people care what tyres they run to save fuel? The most comfortable tyres are more or less the most economical.