What a Real Lincoln Revival Should Look Like: The Skinny with Craig Cole

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Welcome to a new editorial segment called The Skinny, hosted by your favorite Craig Cole. We hope this will be a weekly feature where Craig sounds off (gives you the skinny, if you will) on the latest news from the auto industry or whatever else he has on his mind.

Lincoln is a brand that’s been totally forgotten for more than a decade. If Ford were a parent it would be serving hard time for child abuse. But things are finally starting to improve.

A month or two ago, I tested the brand’s new MKX crossover and was pleasantly surprised. With the optional 335 horsepower EcoBoost V6 that thing hauled a Kardashian’s worth of ass. It was also quiet, comfortable and smooth.

Their smaller MKC is nice, as is the MKZ sedan, and the Navigator, well, it appeals to certain people, right?

With decent product on hand Lincoln’s sales have finally started growing again following a decade of decline, in fact, they sold more than 101,000 vehicles in the U.S. last year. The brand is also doing well in China, where they delivered nearly 12,000 units in 2015, its first full year on the books.

Clearly they’ve finally staunched the bleeding, but how can they improve their reputation and continue to grow? Well, I have a few ideas. Watch the video above for more details on my plans for Lincoln. You might be shocked at what I would do if I were in charge.

Discuss this story on our Ford Forum

  • mick

    Might want to stick with the whale bone collecting as I’m pretty sure that an F-150 BOF Lincoln sedan would be a punchline for years to come. I think the costs would be considerable to adapt that platform and rob factories of some capacity to churn out F-150 profit machines. At the end of the day, what you would have is a really expensive sales lot ornament and potentially having to perform a walk of shame while the high sparrow watched. Now pop in one of those butterscotch candies I know you have in your pocket and let’s fix Lincoln. The answer is plastics. Really nice plastics. And leather, let’s not forget about that. Wrap all of these components into delicious crossover portfolio and you have a formula for sales success. Ford has had issues with “meh” interiors. Lincoln is getting better, but to be a real winner why not pull a Volvo and steal a designer from some luxury brand and take your interiors to the next level? Cadillac has shown that no matter how great your cars are, SUVs and crossovers are what make the money right now and for the foreseeable future. Hell, Sergio is betting his whole sweater collection this trend. Small, medium, large and all the various “coupe-like” variants in between. Oh, and an Mustang-based 4 door couple halo car.

  • Also, Lincoln has tried to put its brand on Ford trucks twice before with the Blackwood and the Mark LT. Both failed miserably. As for the Mustang-based halo car, I think you’re right on the mark. While my inclination is to recommend original cars, a four-door Lincoln built on the Mustang platform would have to have an outward design very different from the Mustang itself, while still using proven internal designs, suspension, engines, and even unibody stampings from an otherwise unique S550 platform, thus saving the Lincoln division–excuse me, Lincoln Motor Company–millions.

    I think Lincoln would also do well to further differentiate its exteriors in other categories. Interiors are important, of course, since that’s where owners spend the vast majority of their time, but exteriors are status symbols. The new grille is a very good start, in my view.

  • smartacus

    no, this is NOT crazy idea at all!
    a body on frame Linc would be a fantastic idea.

    it doesn’t have to be an F150 frame either.
    Wayne Michican plant will start making the Ranger pickup in 2 years.

  • nauticalone

    Agree with Crossover focus.
    And look at new Volvo and Audi for inspiration (not BMW or Caddilac). But I also agree with others that a Mark VIII (more luxurious Mustang GT) with new 10 speed auto might work. And change push button gear selector to selector like Volvo or Audi or dial like Jaguar.

  • Chris Daigle

    I am a Ford fan, but I think Lincoln needs their own designs, not adapted Ford stuff

  • Jon C

    Since the MKC (well about 5% on the first MKZ) Lincoln has been doing it’s own designs. I guess you missed that news Chris. ;>(

  • Chris Daigle

    The MKS and MKT are based on the D chassis. The MKC is based on the C chassis. The MKX and MKZ are using the C/D chassis. The Navigator is using the Expedition chassis. What else do you want to know? Reshaped body panels does not fit with what I was saying. I am NOT putting down Lincoln. I am saying the when I was young nearly every single part of a Lincoln was an upgrade from the Mercury and Ford vehicle it was (loosely) based on. That needs to come back, except even better. Lincoln needs to lead in the design phase of (unique) cars and the fit and finish of Lincoln cars needs to be second to none. Then the sales will follow and whatever price they decide to ask for it.