Lincoln Design Boss Calls It Quits, Resigns From Company

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
lincoln design boss calls it quits resigns from company

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]

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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!

  • Art Vandelay I always liked those last FWD 300's. Been ages since I've seen one on the road though. Lots of time in the RWD ones as rentals. No complaints whatsoever.
  • Cardave5150 I've had 2 different 300's - an '08 300SRT and an '18 300C. Loved them both a LOT, although, by the time I had the second one, I wasn't altogether thrilled with the image of 300's out on the street, as projected by the 3rd or 4th buyers of the cars.I always thought that the car looked a little stubby behind the rear wheels - something that an extra 3-4" in the trunk area would have greatly helped.When the 300 was first launched, there were invitation-only meet-and-greets at the dealerships, reminding me of the old days when new model-year launches were HUGE. At my local dealer, they were all in formalwear (tuxes and elegant dresses) with a nice spread of food. They gave out crystal medallions of the 300 in a sweet little velvet box (I've got mine around the house somewhere). I talked to a sales guy for about 5 minutes before I asked if we could take one of the cars out (a 300C with the 5.7 Hemi). He acted like he'd been waiting all evening for someone to ask that - we jumped in the car and went out - that thing, for the time, seemed to fly.Corey - when it comes time for it, don't forget to mention the slightly-stretched wheelbase 300 (I think it was the 300L??). I've never found one for sale (not that I've looked THAT hard), as they only built them for a couple of years.
  • Jkross22 "I’m doing more for the planet by continuing to drive my vehicle than buying a new one for strictly frivolous reasons."It's not possible to repeat this too much.
  • Jeff S Got to give credit to Chrysler for putting the 300 as a rear wheel drive back on the market. This will be a future classic.
  • Lou_BC How to Fix Auto Media? Stop fixating on soft touch plastics and infotainment systems. I did quite a bit of research on my ZR2. There was no mention of the complexity of putting the transfer case into neutral. (9 step process). They didn't talk about how the exhaust brake works with tow/haul mode. No mention that the exhaust brake does not work with off-road mode. Nannies only stay turned off with the lockers engaged. Only one review mentioned the tail pipe as a vulnerability.