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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 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…)

Cadillac and Lincoln Set to Go Head-to-Head in NY with New Flagships

But the real challenge comes from European, Japanese luxury brands.

by on Mar.30, 2015

Lincoln digs into its history to come up with an all-new Continental flagship concept sedan.

It’s been a busy year for luxury automakers who have unleashed a flood of new products at shows around the world in recent months. And the season will wrap up with the unveiling of such new models as the popular Lexus RX crossover, as well as the $205,000 Range Rover SVAutobiography at the New York Auto Show this week.

But two of Detroit’s two luxury brands are likely to capture much of the spotlight in the Big Apple as they roll out new flagship sedans that Cadillac and Lincoln hope will begin the process of rebuilding their once-lofty rolls in the high-line automotive market.

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Ford Motor Co.’s Lincoln brand has been giving a select group of journalists a sneak peek at the new Continental sedan ahead of the NY Auto Show’s two-day media event. Cadillac has been only a wee bit more secretive about its own new flagship, dubbed the CT6.

(more…)

Born Again: Lincoln Continental to Make NY Auto Show Return

Concept model to return in production form “sometime in the 2016 calendar-year.”

by on Mar.30, 2015

What you see with the Lincoln Continental Concept is largely what you'll get with the production model.

The Lincoln Continental, once one of the most elegant and widely respected vehicles in the U.S. luxury market, is making its return. And the concept version set to make its first public appearance at the New York International Auto Show will return in production form next year, a senior Lincoln executive has advised TheDetroitBureau.com.

The show car version not only will introduce such luxury features as “laser-assist” high beams, but also will reveal what company officials are calling “the new face of Lincoln.”

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“The concept is a pretty strong hint of what the production vehicle will look like,” Lincoln President Kumar Galhotra said during a Sunday night interview. The road-ready version, he added, will reach U.S. showrooms “sometime in the 2016 calendar-year.”

(more…)

Lincoln Changes MKX New Car Smell for China

Brand caters to cultural preferences with new entry.

by on Jan.13, 2015

The new car smell that Americans love so much, isn't well liked by the Chinese, which caused Lincoln some problems with the new MKX.

While the development of a new vehicle is a team effort, but at some point every bit of a car eventually falls into the hands of engineers.

“We are focused on delivering engaging and refined luxury vehicles with innovative and thoughtful technologies,” said Kumar Galhotra, president of Lincoln, during the unveiling of the MKX at the North American International Auto Show. “The all-new Lincoln MKX reflects that focus.”

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In the case of the new MKX, engineers were faced with an unusual problem: interior odors. (more…)

Lincoln Looks to Build Momentum with Redesigned MKX

Maker moves redesigned crossover up-market.

by on Jan.13, 2015

The new Lincoln MKX will be offered in standard trim or with the choice of two optional Black Label "themes" this year.

Looking to carve out a niche in the crowded crossover market, Lincoln has unveiled an all-new version of its midsize MKX at the North American International Auto Show, adding new engine choices, improved technologies and its new Black Label personalization program.

The debut of the 2016 MKX comes at a critical time for Lincoln which has just begun to see some daylight after years of declining sales and market share in its home market. And with its recent launch in China, the maker is now ramping up plans to expand its narrow product line-up.

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“We are focused on delivering engaging and refined luxury vehicles with innovative and thoughtful technologies,” said Kumar Galhotra, the new president of Lincoln. “The all-new Lincoln MKX reflects that focus.”

(more…)

McConaughey Makes Return for Lincoln

Ad campaign generated parodies – and strong sales.

by on Dec.29, 2014

Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey will have a big presence for Lincoln – again.

He’s been the target of parodies from the likes of Jim Carrey and Ellen DeGeneres, but the folks at Lincoln apparently like what they’ve seen from actor Matthew McConaughey because they’re bringing him back for a sequel.

The Academy Award-winning actor will start pitching the upscale maker’s MKZ model later this week, part of Lincoln’s  effort to regain some momentum after years as a second-tier player in the otherwise booming U.S. luxury market.

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The first round of ads, which focused on the new Lincoln MKC, might have generated a fair share of parody, but they also drew people into the maker’s showrooms, said the maker’s marketing manager Andrew Frick. (more…)

Lincoln Sounding Off with New Revel Audio System

Top-line system will make its debut on next-generation MKX sport-ute.

by on Dec.04, 2014

Lincoln made another move to continue attracting luxury buyers by signing a 10-year deal with Revel to supply the brand's sound systems.

Audiophiles may want to trade in their living room couch for a seat in one of Lincoln’s new MKX sport-utility vehicles. Or so the Detroit luxury maker is hoping as it signs an exclusive, 10-year deal with audio system manufacturer Revel.

The top-line brand within the Harman International family is developing a series of customized sound systems for Lincoln, starting with the debut of the next-gen MKX next year. The partnership is part of an evolving effort by Ford Motor Co.’s luxury brand to upgrade its products – and its image – among high-line consumers.

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“We waited 20 years to find the right automaker” to partner with, said Phil Eyler, senior vice president and general manager of Harman’s car audio operations, during a background session at Detroit’s Orchestra Hall, a facility considered to have some of the best acoustics in the U.S. (more…)

Lincoln Counting on New Black Label to Draw New Buyers

Exclusive interiors, upscale “experience” targeting elite motorists.

by on Nov.17, 2014

Lincoln's new Black Label Series kicks off with the MKC as well as the MKZ for 2015.

Ford Motor Co.’s Lincoln brand is trying a new approach to attract the sort of upscale opinion leaders that can help put the struggling luxury marque back on track.

The new Lincoln Black Label “experience” is designed to offer potential buyers a blend of exclusive vehicle interiors and a more personalized ownership experience that will include access to exclusive restaurants, unlimited car washes and an annual vehicle detailing.

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The launch of the brand-within-a-brand comes as Lincoln makes its first serious push to go global, with the first of its new dealerships opening in China this month. Black Label will debut in the U.S. on two of Lincoln’s newest models, the MKC compact crossover and the MKZ sedan, noted Group Marketing Manager Andrew Frick, adding that “Black Label will be (added) on every new Lincoln that comes out over the next few years.” (more…)