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Bloggin 04-21-2015 06:48 PM

Is Lincoln is Ready to Toss the Alphabet Soup? UPDATE post#136
Is Lincoln is Ready to Toss the Alphabet Soup?

DETROIT -- Does the Lincoln Continental mark the beginning of the end of the brand’s confusing “MK” naming scheme?

Joe Hinrichs, Ford Motor Co.’s president of the Americas, today gave the strongest hint yet that the company is ready to bring back real words, possibly by reviving iconic names such as the Town Car.

“Without divulging the future,” Hinrichs said, “we’re very excited about the Continental name and the attention it’s gotten.”

Lincoln’s announcement last month that the Continental will replace the MKS next year signaled that the automaker might be rethinking its decision to drop actual names nearly a decade ago. Asked about that at an auto industry breakfast hosted by the Dawda Mann law firm, Hinrichs acknowledged that the MK monikers can be hard for anyone who’s not a Ford executive to keep straight.

“I get it,” Hinrichs said. “I know MKX and C and Z and T. I’ve studied them very well. I know them well, but we also understand the issue. It’s, frankly, where the auto industry -- the premium industry -- has gone, if you look at all the nameplates. But another way Lincoln could distinguish itself is to leverage its heritage. So I’ll leave it at that.”

The alphabetic approach was originally conceived as a nod to Lincoln’s past, with the MK pronounced “Mark,” a reference to the Continental Mark series. (For example, the Lincoln Zephyr, on the market for only one model year, would henceforth be the “Mark Z,” executives proclaimed in 2006, earning a spot on Automotive News’ list of the year’s 10 biggest blunders.)

Alan Mulally, who became CEO shortly after that happened, candidly told reporters he didn’t like the change, but eventually said he came to terms with the new scheme.

Now his successor, MK Fields, is pouring money into Lincoln’s revitalization effort and trying to zig while other luxury brands zag. Fields and then-marketing chief Jim Farley announced internally about 18 months ago that Lincoln’s next full-size sedan would be called the Continental.

That name is a big reason for the buzz surrounding the Continental Concept since its unveiling at the New York auto show. Motor Trend put it on the front of its June issue, with the headline “Continental is back.” Hinrichs proudly said that’s the first time in 15 years that a Lincoln made the magazine’s cover.

Ford also has been thrilled with the recent performance of the one Lincoln that still has a pronounceable name: the Navigator, whose sales are up 84 percent this year. Meanwhile, all of Lincoln’s MK-named vehicles are down 7.2 percent.

In 2006, Lincoln justified the name changes as a way to get people to focus on the brand as a whole rather than individual models. Instead, most people just ignored the brand entirely.

Now that Lincoln might finally be on the comeback trail, executives sound like they’ve realized there’s one thing still missing: vowels.

FordSUVfan 04-21-2015 06:55 PM

Re: Is Lincoln is Ready to Toss the Alphabet Soup?
Please make this happen, Lincoln.

falcon lover 04-21-2015 07:09 PM

Re: Is Lincoln is Ready to Toss the Alphabet Soup?
Yes! I want the names back. If you need some help, Lincoln, i can do it:

Mark (of course for a coupe!)
Town Car
Futura (remember the concept car from Lincoln that became in the Batman car?)

Come On Lincoln, make us happy....

DetroitBORG 04-21-2015 07:09 PM

Re: Is Lincoln is Ready to Toss the Alphabet Soup?
It's a tricky proposition because they've already established MKZ, MKX, and MKC which are well known. They'll have to invent new names to replace those and the transition wouldn't be logical or cheap to advertise, and Lincoln really only has a couple of iconic/appealing names to pick from, many of which have little relation to Lincoln's modern vehicles. Lincoln's heritage is also very old and largely forgotten, resurrecting many of those forgotten names now becomes a history lesson which I don't think younger shoppers can relate to. Continental, Navigator, and Town Car are iconic; Versailles, Zephyr, and Cosmopolitan are not. Lincoln, like Buick, will end up finding nonsense names that mean very little anyway. It's okay to resurrect Continental and keep Navigator, the rest is a wash. Lincoln has to be careful about it's retro tendencies which have not worked for them in recent history. They might be more motivated to do this because of China, but it'll be interesting to see if American consumers respond in the same way.

2b2 04-21-2015 07:11 PM

Re: Is Lincoln is Ready to Toss the Alphabet Soup?
^ :thumb:-except
imho "TownCar" is NOT a name.............

I really REALLY hope FLincMoCo milks the
-- Continental NAME
-- the idea of a Continental Flagship
-- the IDEA of a NAME
for ALL they're worth...

...don't give a NAME to anything whose base price is under $50k!!
at LEAST!!

graysoncd 04-21-2015 07:12 PM

Re: Is Lincoln is Ready to Toss the Alphabet Soup?
Does anyone know if Lincoln drive control (CCD) come standard on the 2016 MKX r is it a option?

nruggiero 04-21-2015 07:19 PM

Re: Is Lincoln is Ready to Toss the Alphabet Soup?
Aviator is the only name worth bringing back that's somewhat relevant. Lincoln kind of has a travel-themed nomenclature: Continental, Navigator, and Aviator. They're going to have to hire a focus group to come up with new names for the rest of the line-up.

Bad or irrelevant names like Town Car, Blackwood, Versailles, Premiere, Capri, and Cosmopolitan should be kept in the coffin.

2b2 04-21-2015 07:25 PM

Re: Is Lincoln is Ready to Toss the Alphabet Soup?
:thumb:^ with the proviso that "CAPRI" is just fine (more than FINE) for a MERCURY :nevreness:

a shameless-plug for "CONSTELLATION" for some future Lincoln model

gjrip 04-21-2015 07:43 PM

Re: Is Lincoln is Ready to Toss the Alphabet Soup?
I've got it! The new LINCOLN GPS. Lol.

DetroitBORG 04-21-2015 07:48 PM

Re: Is Lincoln is Ready to Toss the Alphabet Soup?
I think Lincoln is just stuck, they are desperate to do whatever works even if it seems like a hodgepodge of ideas right now with no clear overall vision. The Continental name has essentially been brought back for marketing purposes on a car that was originally called MKS in development, visually it has very little relation to any Continental in the past and is really a totally original look for Lincoln that is launching a complete identity change for the brand. Which is ironic since the Continental name brings it back to the future and turns it into something more authentic/retro even if the original purpose was to start a new future. It's a brilliant marketing move and hard to pass up, but it only works if the name is "Continental". This is a good way to launch a major new visual identity since everybody is now paying attention. It's one of those moments in history where everything falls into place through smart decision making, which gives me some hope that these people know what they are doing.

Lincoln is still very much figuring this out and experimenting which will take a long time and I'm sure we'll see allot more of that to come, lets just hope for some progress. In the meantime it's going to look a little messy, but that chaos is a good thing since something will come out of it.

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