Cars Coming Soon: Will Lincoln’s New Smile Change Everything?

2012 Lincoln MKT

I happen to think Lincoln’s current grille is, to put it mildly, quite disfiguring.

If the Honda CR-V is the vehicle with the biggest underbite, the current Lincolns sport one of the heaviest overbites ever applied to an automotive fascia. It’s awkward on all models, but none more than the Beluga whale that is the MKT.

There has been plenty of talk from parent company Ford about its desire to revamp the Lincoln line and make it a world-class luxury brand. With a billion dollars being pumped into Lincoln’s rebuild, Ford knows the vehicles have to look the part, and the current “waterfall grille” isn’t going to do it. Expect a completely different Lincoln look to debut on the MKS and MKT at the LA Auto Show this November.

In addition to new looks, Ford wants to make sure the Lincoln driving experience is differentiated from the average Fusion and Flex, so the refreshed models will ride atop revised suspensions, redone brakes and updated steering.

Will these changes be enough to vault Lincoln into the upper echelons of automobiles? Heck, I wonder if the changes will be enough to turn Lincoln into the next Buick, much less BMW. Changing the perception that Lincolns are nothing more than blinged-up Fords could take a long time… which Lincoln dealers frankly don’t have. Sales are flat, and Ford is asking for big investments to bring showrooms up to par – a big gamble considering most don’t have any other brand to sell now that Mercury is gone.

The plan, though, is to sell 160,000 vehicles a year by 2015, up from about 80,000 this year. To do that, Autoblog says,

The Navigator will reportedly be phased out by 2016, and the MKT is tipped to be dropped in favor of a luxury version of the Ford Explorer. A Focus-based C-segment sedan and crossover are also in the works, along with a new MKS sedan.

I have a feeling that once we see the new look of Lincoln, we’ll feel better about its direction.

Can Lincoln compete with other luxury car brands, or should Ford have just shut it down?

-tgriffith

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3 Comments

  1. One of the hallmarks of the auto industry seems to be an innate inability to change. Is there any real reason why a product that is starting to flatline needs to continue? GM was forced to bury its dead by bankruptcy– Ford never got boxed into that corner. Lincoln is a long way away from the days of being a true luxury brand. Can Ford be a better company without cookie cutter brand platform management? Can Ford change from the old ways of doing things? Like GM and Chrysler, they haven’t so far.

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