By on June 10, 2019

Lincoln Motor 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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35 Comments on “Lincoln Design Boss Calls It Quits, Resigns From Company...”

  • avatar

    Kudos on changing the front grille.


  • avatar

    Maybe he got sick of the Matthew McConaughey ads.

  • avatar

    I wonder what happened he was doing a great job

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    FWIW, in this down-trending market, Lincoln sales are up this year.

    I’m sure Mr Woodhouse will resurface soon. The abruptness of his departure is a sure sign of going to a competitor.

  • avatar

    Ultimately I think this is a net loss. I like the changes in Lincoln’s design language and moving away from the quasi-badge engineering prior to his arrival. How much of that was driven by design vs. corporate leadership we’ll never know.

    • 0 avatar


      I think Lincoln is spot on with the quiet serene luxury thing. It is what people associate with Lincoln.

      And the new design direction IMHO is superb. Cars look expensive, they make you feel special inside. They are on the right track.

  • avatar

    The top photo could have been devised to illustrate the perils of defective ergonomic design.

  • avatar

    A couple years ago, I checked out a Lincoln SUV at a show at the Gilmore.

    I noticed a button on the instrument panel and pushed it. The glovebox opened. Now, why bother with this button? You still need to reach to put anything in or remove anything from the glove box. You still need to reach to close the glove box. Why bother with the expense of having a button on the instrument panel to open it?

    I noticed a small storage compartment on the console of the same SUV. I slid the lid open, and it promptly slid back closed. The lid did not latch open, so I would have to hold the lid open with one hand wile retrieving something from the compartment with my other hand.

    Those two things alone made that Lincoln interior one of the worst I have ever seen. Whoever signed off on that mess needed to be shown the door.

  • avatar

    This is a good thing. He’s a one trick pony. He only know how to “design” one look (copying Range Rover) and just scales it to match the vehicle whether it be the MKExplorer or MKEscape.

    Maybe Lincoln finally realized thats not talent. That’s being lazy.

  • avatar

    “Here.” (boss throws down picture of 1979 Continental Mk V) “Can’t you just make them look like this?”

    but wait, you said:

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

    Ummmmm….OF, or IN?

  • avatar

    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.

  • avatar

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

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