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Lincoln Looks for Credibility with Debut of Continental

New sedan brings back a classic name – but will luxury buyers care?

by on Jan.12, 2016

Lincoln is hoping the new Continental will draw in a new type of buyer and rebuild the brand. Photo by Len Katz.

(This story has been updated with new photos, powertrain details and comments from Ford CEO Mark Fields.)

Once one of the market’s most successful luxury brands, Lincoln has become little more than an afterthought for most high-line buyers these days – if they think about the domestic brand at all.

But the Ford subsidiary generated a flurry of interest last April when it staged the surprise debut of the Lincoln Continental concept vehicle at the New York Auto Show. Now, barely nine months later, the big sedan is back, this time in production trim, making its debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

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“The Continental name has long been associated with the ultimate in Lincoln beauty and luxury,” said Kumar Galhotra, president of Lincoln. “With the all-new model, we are focusing on creating more human, personally tailored experiences for our clients – providing what we call quiet luxury.” (more…)

MKZ Redux for Lincoln

Detroit luxury brand refines and redefines its midsize sedan.

by on Nov.18, 2015

The updated Lincoln MKZ borrows the distinctive new grille introduced on the Continental Concept.

The launch of the MKZ sedan three years ago was a critical move for Lincoln as it set out to reestablish itself as a credible player in the luxury market. The new model was more stylish, more sophisticated, but still fell short of meeting key competitors head-on.

This time, Lincoln isn’t holding back. Taking a number of its design cues from the widely praised Lincoln Continental concept, the upcoming, mid-cycle refresh of the MKZ takes the sedan even more up-market, with an attention to detail normally reserved for import brands like Lexus, Audi or Mercedes-Benz.

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“We’re closing the gap very, very rapidly,” said Kumar Galhotra, the president of Lincoln Motors, during a sneak preview of the 2017 Lincoln MKZ ahead of its official unveiling at the L.A. Auto Show.


Spy Shots: 2017 Lincoln MKZ

Modest update to midsize sedan.

by on Oct.19, 2015

The midcycle update will give MKZ the basic new grille seen on the Lincoln Continental concept. Photos: Jim Dunne, CarSpy, unless otherwise noted.

With the unexpected debut of the Lincoln Continental concept at the New York Auto Show last April, Ford’s long-struggling luxury brand appeared to be setting out on a new course intended to make the brand a more serious player in the upscale market.

Even as engineers push the Lincoln Continental towards production, they’re also working up a mid-cycle update of the mid-range Lincoln MKZ– along with its sibling sedan, the Ford MKZ. These spy shots suggest that the bulk of the exterior changes will be seen front and back.

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The Lincoln Continental concept introduced an all-new face for the brand, abandoning the split-wing grille first introduced on the current MKZ. And we can expect that under the camouflage, we’ll be seeing the midsize model sharing that new look.


Lincoln Jazzes Up New McConaughey Commercials

Actor teams with Gus Van Sant to hype new MKX luxury crossover.

by on Sep.11, 2015

Actor Matthew McConaughey and director Gus Van Sant talk during the shooting of Lincoln's new ads for the MKX.

A few year’s back Lincoln spokesman Matthew McConaughey once suggested people needed to “find your frequency.” Well, actor and luxury brand are back with a new round of television ads for the MKX hoping to accomplish just that.

The first set of ads focused on McConaughey musing on a variety of topics while behind the wheel of the MKZ and MKC. The commercials attracted plenty of attention, much of it negative. The spots were parodied and the participants pilloried.

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Now with a new luxury CUV, McConaughey is back with a new premise for the three new ads as well as a new director: Gus Van Sant, who is known for top films like Good Will Hunting and Milk. (more…)

He’s Baaaaccckkk!!

Actor McConaughey stars in new set of Lincoln ads.

by on Aug.20, 2015

Lincoln is hoping a second round of ads featuring actor Matthew McConaughey will boost sales for the new MKX crossover.

Lincoln is rolling out its newly redesigned 2016 MKX midsize crossover with a new series of ads featuring Matthew McConaughey once again.

The luxury automaker partnered with the Oscar-winning actor for a series of ads that began last fall and generated a lot of buzz. That attention included a variety of mocking parodies, including one by Jim Carrey, that weren’t flattering.

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However, if the axiom all news is good news ever applied, it was in this case as Lincoln sales jumped 25% in the month after the much-maligned campaign. (more…)

Spy Shots: 2017 Lincoln Continental

A little less the Bentley clone?

by on Jul.21, 2015

Not quite the Bentley we saw when the Lincoln Continental Concept debuted in NY.

Lincoln’s reentry into the premium luxury sedan market begins early next year when Ford Motor Co. takes the wraps – make that the jigsaw camouflage - off of the production version of the 2017 Continental.

While we’ll have to wait to see the final sheet metal, our spies captured some first images of this road-going prototype undergoing testing. One of the biggest questions has been whether the final version will be so nearly as much Bentley-esque as the concept version that made its surprise debut at the New York Auto Show in April.

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But from what we can see through the camo, you can spot some major differences between the 2017 Lincoln Continental and the Bentley Flying Spur. So, maybe the U.S. maker will have cut some of its stamping dies, after all.

Compared to the Concept Continental, we see rear fenders that are higher, rear quarter windows that have sharper angles, a front end that is more blunt, headlights that are horizontal and rectangular, and a belt line offering less slope at the rear.


Ford Will Build New Lincoln Continental Alongside Mustang, Fusion

Flagship sedan set to debut in 2016.

by on Jul.16, 2015

Ford CEO Mark Fields with the Lincoln Continental Concept during its NY Auto Show debut.

Ford Motor Co. has revealed plans to produce its new luxury flagship, the Lincoln Continental, at the Flat Rock Assembly Plant where it will roll down the line alongside the Ford Mustang and Fusion models.

The Continental will be the most significant effort in years by Ford to revive the fortunes of its long-struggling Lincoln brand. Ostensibly a replacement for the outgoing MKS sedan, it will move Lincoln up-market, in line with rival Cadillac’s new CT6 flagship sedan.

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The Flat Rock plant is one of the maker’s most important U.S. assembly plants, and also one of its most flexible, capable of producing both front-wheel-drive models like the Fusion, as well as the rear-drive Mustang. Lincoln has not yet disclosed specific details about the Continental drivetrain but it is expected to offer an all-wheel-drive version, in keeping with trends in the premium luxury market.


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 MKS Getting Axed in 2016

Continental expected to replace slow-selling model.

by on Jun.12, 2015

The Lincoln Continental is expected to be the replacement for MKS, which will cease production as a 2016 model.

The announcement that the 2016 model will be the last for the MKS is fueling the fire that the brand is getting a new flagship model: the Continental, which made its debut at the New York International Auto Show this spring.

While chronicled by TheDetroitBureau a few months ago, Ford executives made the demise of the MKS official yesterday during an event promoting the addition of Ford Explorer production to the automaker’s plant in Chicago.

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“Chicago Assembly Plant is vital to our global manufacturing footprint and will continue to manufacture the Ford Taurus, Ford Explorer and Police Interceptor vehicles even after we phase out production of the MKS in 2016,” Ford said in a statement. “We will continue to match production to demand.” (more…)

Lincoln Continental May Push Brand to Give up MK Names

Response to MKS replacement has officials reconsidering monikers.

by on Apr.22, 2015

The Lincoln Continental will return in production form and may be ushering in a return to conventional names for the brand's other vehicles.

When Lincoln rolled out the new Continental recently it not only suggested that Ford was serious about investing in the brand, but also the fact that they called it “Continental” suggested that the luxury brand may be reconsidering its MK nomenclature.

Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of The Americas, threw gasoline on the fire of speculation when he told a crowd that the company was happy with the response it got to the name.

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“Without divulging the future,” Hinrichs said, according to Automotive News, “we’re very excited about the Continental name and the attention it’s gotten.” (more…)