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First Drive: 2015 Lincoln Navigator

Legacy SUV needs a technology upgrade.

by on Jun.16, 2015

The 2015 Lincoln Navigator is fighting for attention in an increasingly crowded luxury SUV market segment.

The Lincoln Navigator has been around so long that one might think it was named by Abe Lincoln. However, the nearly abolished full-size luxury SUV soldiers on until its replacement arrives some time next year.

Navigator was slated to get the ax during former Ford CEO Alan Mulally’s push to get streamline Ford Motor’s product line-up. It was the effort that dismantled Mercury entirely and the Navigator was on the chopping block until Ford officials realized that Cadillac and other luxury marques were going to have a full-size luxury SUV available.

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However, as much as Navigator is showing its age, it’s still remarkably appealing. The current version got an exterior makeover for 2015 that is clearly an evolution, among other things adopting the split-wing grille that debuted on the latest version of the Lincoln MKZ. (more…)

Lincoln Sticks with Old Name for (Almost) New Truck

Major update in the works – but not for now.

by on Sep.22, 2014

The most visually obvious change to the 2015 Navigator is the use of the new Lincoln grille.

Already confirming plans for four new vehicles by 2016, Ford Motor Co. has a number of additional new products in the pipeline for the years that follow, including a sporty coupe that will share the same platform as its new-for-2015 Ford Mustang.

There’s also a new version of its long-in-the-tooth Lincoln Navigator in the works – though, for now, buyers who want the full-size luxury SUV will have to settle for a largely warmed-over version of the big truck.

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At least they won’t have to try to figure out a new nomenclature. While everything else in the Lincoln line-up has adopted a name starting with MK, the Navigator will remain the Navigator going forward.


High Hopes and Global Ambitions for New Lincoln MKC

New crossover could soon become brand's best-seller.

by on Jun.06, 2014

The 2015 Lincoln MKC is one of the lowest-priced models in its rapidly expanding segment.

No, the “C” doesn’t stand for “China,” but it might as well.

Lincoln has a lot riding on the upcoming launch of its new MKC crossover, the latest in a series of all-new models intended to help revive the long-struggling luxury brand. With sales of compact CUVs booming, in fact, the new MKC could soon become Lincoln’s top seller, company officials noted during a media drive in Santa Barbara, California.

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But preliminary orders for the compact crossover are already exceeding initial expectations in China, a market that could be the make-it-or-break-it for Lincoln’s long-term turnaround.

“The (compact CUV) segment remains on fire here, as well as globally,” said Matt Vandyke, the director of Lincoln’s worldwide expansion plans.


First Look: 2015 Cadillac Escalade

Bling, bling…bling, bling.

by on Oct.08, 2013

Cadillac's global chief Bob Ferguson with the 2015 Escalade during its NYC debut.

The bling is back – or so Cadillac is hoping as it gets ready to launch the long-delayed fourth-generation Escalade, a massive SUV that, to fans, once defined the pinnacle of luxury while, to critics, was a symbol of wretched excess.

Whichever side you’re on, an all-new version of the ‘Slade — as it was known among the hip-hoppers who became a major market — will reach showrooms early next year and, Cadillac promises, will deliver the latest in performance, technology and, hard as it might be for some to believe, the newest in fuel economy-enhancing powertrain systems.

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“The 2015 Escalade is completely new and elevated in design and technology, inside and out. The clear objective is to once again assume the leadership position among luxury SUVs,” said Bob Ferguson, the head of Cadillac’s global operations, during a preview of the 2015 Cadillac in Manhattan, traditionally one of the big ute’s largest markets.


GM Offers Sneak Peek at 2015 Cadillac Escalade

Full unveiling to follow next week.

by on Oct.01, 2013

Cadillac offers a sneak peek at the interior of the 2015 Escalade full-size luxury SUV.

The world won’t get its first full look at the long-awaited replacement for the Cadillac Escalade until next week, but General Motors is offering up a sneak peek at the full-size luxury SUV’s interior in an effort to build interest in the upcoming announcement.

The big Caddy ute became a symbol of roadway “bling” when it made its original debut back in 1998, an even more stylish version generating strong demand among the hip-hop community two years later.

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But in an industry where change occurs at an increasingly rapid pace, GM had let the so-called ‘Slade linger without much change for the better part of a decade – in part due to delays caused by its 2009 bankruptcy.

The new model is expected to share the same underlying platform as GM’s other restyled full-size SUVs, such as the GMC Yukon Denali. But it also promises the 2015 Cadillac Escalade will get a unique look and an extensive range of upscale features, both inside and out, in line with the overall remake of the Caddy brand.


Lincoln Working Up Rear-Drive Options

Wave of additional models could follow if MKZ clicks.

by on Dec.03, 2012

A Lincoln video on Youtube hints at the future with a quick snippet of a Mustang hinting at a RWD offering to come.

While Ford Motor Co. officials want to shine the spotlight on their near-term plans for a Lincoln renaissance, they are already working up some aggressive product programs that would include the addition of one or more rear-wheel-drive models to the luxury brand’s line-up.

The strategy would continue to see Lincoln share most of its underlying platforms with the mainstream Ford brand, however, including the next-generation Mustang.

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“Rear-wheel-drive is definitely in the works,” one of Ford’s top executives confirmed in a background conversation with

That executive downplayed rumors that Ford might look to partner with another luxury brand on one or more future products, however.


Forward Into the Past for Newly Renamed Lincoln Motor Co.

Old name for a newly updated brand.

by on Dec.03, 2012

Lincoln launches its name change -- and the new MKZ -- with a new multimedia campaign.

What difference does a name make? No, that’s not the beginning of an essay on Shakespeare, though Ford is hoping a new name for its long-struggling Lincoln brand will make it smell as sweet as a rose.

The Detroit luxury marque is taking a step forward into the past by reviving the name it first had back in 1922, the Lincoln Motor Co.  Ford officials are hoping that the subtle change – which it plans to heavily promote as part of a new multimedia ad campaign – will help signal the broader changes coming at Lincoln, starting with the launch of the new MKZ sedan.

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“Befitting this new chapter in the life of Lincoln we are making a complete new start in every aspect of consumer communication to emotionally welcome our new target customer into our brand,” said Matt VanDyke, Director of Global Lincoln Brand.


Lincoln Looking at Compact Sedan as Well as Small Crossover

Strategy is to hit volume segments “quickly.”

by on Aug.15, 2012

Could Lincoln find a way to turn the mainstream Focus into a new compact luxury sedan?

Expect to see Lincoln continue to downsize even as it expands, several company sources suggest.  That’s not some Zen mantra but an increasing interest in smaller models that can flesh out the brand’s currently modest line-up.

Among the offerings likely to reach market over the next few years, the most certain is a compact crossover that will be based on the all-new Ford Escape platform and which may be sold as the MKC.

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“That’s where the real growth in the luxury market is coming from,” said a senior source with Ford Motor Co.’s luxury brand.

But, he quickly added, “We’re looking at our options in the compact sedan segment, as well,” which the source stressed is likely to be another high-growth segment in the coming years.


GM Gives Cadillac Escalade a Reprieve

Reversing course, maker plans to intro new 'Slade in 2014.

by on May.22, 2012

GM has decided it needs to keep the big Escalade -- the 2010 hybrid shown here -- in its line-up.

General Motors has reversed course and will bring an all-new version of that hip-hop segment favorite, the Cadillac Escalade, to market in early 2014.

Worried that the big luxury SUV might hurt the updated image Caddy is trying to craft for itself – and questioning demand for full-sized SUVs as fuel prices skyrocketed — the maker had been ready to pull the plug on the ‘Slade.

However, GM decided the Escalade was simply too profitable to let die, and will now turn out a new model sharing platforms with its next-generation Chevrolet and GMC full-size trucks.

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The Escalade built a significant market among hip-hoppers and sports stars, something Cadillac initially embraced, but “We were finding that for everyone turned on by that image there were four (potential luxury buyers) who were turned,” a senior Caddy official told


Report: Lincoln Gets Its Own Design Studio

Luxury brand to also get unique interiors and powertrains.

by on Aug.10, 2011

Lincoln has recently shown the Lincoln Navicross concept, but future Lincolns will be designed in a new dedicated studio.

It would appear Ford is getting serious about plans to revive its flagging Lincoln brand. The automaker will give Lincoln its own design studio within the Product Development Center in Dearborn.

While Lincolns will continue to be based on Fords – something most automakers do successfully between their mainstream and luxury brands – new Lincoln Design Director Max Wolff will be charged with giving the luxury versions a unique look.

According to Autoline Daily, Ford will also invest in unique interiors and powertrains, adding that those powertrains will offer big improvements in fuel economy.

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The news comes on the heels of Ford’s recent announcement that it will invest $1.2 billion in new Lincoln models, with seven new vehicles planned for the next four years.

What remains to be seen is how much of an impact the new design studio can have on those new vehicles since the designs for at least some of them must already be set because of the auto industry’s long lead times.

But a unique design studio could be the key to resurrecting the luxury brand.