Alphanumeric naming strategies don’t seem to work particularly well on American cars. There are exceptions, Chrysler’s 300 and the Ford F-Series come to mind, but usually you get a name and then a string of numbers and letters tacked on to denote badassery or size when applicable. While this is just a personal theory, it really seemed like America’s luxury brands were just trying to copy the Germans when they collectively made the swap and everyone noticed.
While alphanumeric monikers help automakers avoid certain issues in countries where a word may hold a different meaning, they aren’t particularly imaginative. It also distances new models from established names that help to move units on brand recognition alone. That isn’t to suggest those names are inherently better, but going against tradition can definitely work against you.
Lincoln knows that better than most, and has decided to give the MKC a real name for its 2020 redesign.
As part of its effort to align all of its products under the same general styling umbrella, Lincoln’s smallest crossover, the MKC, undergoes a significant facelift for 2019. Well, significant when viewed from a head-on angle.
The mid-cycle refresh, available to customers next summer, sees the baby Lincoln’s split waterfall grille jettisoned in favor of a corporate, Continental-esque opening (though the smaller MKZ sedan’s nose seems a direct match). Improvements in safety equipment round out the updated package.
Despite festooning its large utility vehicles with the latest and greatest fuel-saving technologies — turbocharging, dual injection, 10-speed automatics — Ford isn’t finished reducing the thirst of its big SUVs.
According to sources with knowledge of the automaker’s product plans, the push for better MPGs includes giving those gas-fueled engines a break once in awhile. Care for an extra motor in your Expedition or Navigator?
Lincoln’s littlest utility vehicle, the MKC, always risked being overshadowed by the larger offerings emanating from the resurgent luxury brand. That doesn’t mean it’s forgotten — either by the buying public or its builder.
The four-cylinder-only MKC went on sale in May 2014 as a 2015 model, heralding a new, decidedly non-Ford-like design direction for the brand’s utility vehicles. Sporting a toned-down version of the whale-like corporate split grille, the little utility was Lincoln’s first attempt to tap into the growing compact luxury CUV market. No longer was a Lincoln utility just a warmed-over Ford with a revised face and taillights.
Now that Lincoln’s moving away from the whale look, the 2018 MKC, judging by these spy photos, will follow the brand’s recent “Make like Continental!” design philosophy.
Ford’s Louisville, Kentucky assembly plant will continue to crank out Lincoln MKC crossovers, rather than head down south for a Mexican vacation.
The news, which Ford confirmed after an enthusiastic President-elect Donald Trump tweeted it, means the automaker will need to look elsewhere for more Escapes. It doesn’t, however, mean a factory closing was averted.
Ford Motor Company just recalled 828,053 late-model Ford and Lincoln models due to faulty side door latches, but the risk depends on where a vehicle was sold and registered.
The automaker claims the pawl spring tab in the side door latch could break, preventing the door from latching — or worse. If the doors are still able to latch, they could fly open while the vehicle is moving.
This whole Lincoln revival thing is going to be a long process of thorough product replacement if recent U.S. sales figures are anything to go by. And they are.
While brand-wide Lincoln sales jumped 20% in April 2015, those gains were created almost entirely by the MKC, a vehicle which wasn’t on sale at this time a year ago. The Navigator, recently refreshed, helped out with an additional 245 sales compared with April 2014.
But the Lincoln brand, as it existed at this time a year ago with five models, was down 8% in April.
With November’s sales results in hand, we asked four months ago whether Ford Motor Company’s Lincoln division had reached “Peak MKC.” Initial evidence suggested the Escape-related small crossover wasn’t able to cross the threshold from middling success in the Acura RDX and Audi Q5-dominated small luxury CUV arena into the upper tier.
With the MKC’s U.S. sales results from the first-quarter of 2015 now in, there’s yet more evidence leading us to believe that demand for the MKC – at its current price point, with its current level of incentives, without a new MKX stealing limelight – won’t climb noticeably higher.
After increasing sales of the brand’s new Escape-related small crossover in five consecutive months, Lincoln MKC volume levelled off in November 2014 at 2152 units. This represents a 2% drop from the total achieved by the MKC in its best month, October, when 2197 were sold. America’s new vehicle market was 2% larger in November than it was during the prior month.
Have we therefore reached the MKC’s maximum monthly volume? Dealers have plenty of copies to sell: there was a 116-day supply at the beginning of November. 2150 sales per month would put the MKC in the same territory as the much larger and more costly Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, ahead of the smaller BMW X1 and also-ex-PAG Volvo XC60, but well back of class leaders like the Acura RDX, Audi Q5, Mercedes-Benz GLK, and BMW X3. This year, the latter four are generating 3610, 3443, 3013, and 2820 average monthly sales, respectively.
You all know the story by now. Journalist gets Lincoln. Lincoln has some obvious flaws. Journalist says some over the top (but accurate) things about Lincoln. Lincoln gets mad, pulls access. TTAC’s commenters step in to save the day. But the story isn’t over.
Last year, TTAC reviewed the Lincoln MKZ, and found it wanting. Poor build quality, sub-par fuel economy and questionable value for money led me to write a review that, while accurate in its portrayal of the cars faults, went above and beyond the call of duty as far as verbal vitriol was concerned. We all know what happened next, and in the end, it was only due to an outpouring of support from the B&B that TTAC was given access to Ford’s press fleet again. Note that in that time, we didn’t once drive a Lincoln.
Much like Jeremy Clarkson and the Vauxhall Vectra, the Lincoln MKZ will forever live in infamy in TTAC lore, but I’m a little more optimistic for the MKC, whch is set to bow at next week’s Los Angeles Auto Show.
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