Reports indicate that Ford has been meeting with dealer representatives to discuss the brand's options, including batting the Continental name around. Sadly, that's not likely because of the silly alphabetical naming system Ford's luxury brand has been using (I liked Zephyr to begin with) and the fact that Lincoln needs to be made young, not even more inaccessible.
As part of the renovation, Lincoln hopes to reveal up to seven new models in the next couple years. After the 2011 MKX, expect the rest of the lineup to get significant refreshes; that means new marketing and styling for the MKZ, MKS, Navigator, and MKT (with new limousine and extended-legroom models once the Town Car has moved on).
That leaves room for one new model, which could either be the aforementioned flagship or possibly even a compact entry-level model to make up for the loss of Mercury.
The compact seems more likely in the short term, as Ford is trying to convince Lincoln dealers it can make the brand youthful and yuppie to drive sales (versus its current aged, stagnant, and scattered state).
If that's the case, there's no need to rule out the flagship down the line. Once Lincoln can pull in some sales, money could then be aimed at the top-tier S-Class and LS segment. If Lincoln can get that far, it may very well be considered "ok". However, as it stands, Ford is looking shut down more than 200 dealers due to slumping sales.
Jesse Toprak, an analyst at TrueCar, says, "The biggest problem is [Lincoln's] brand identity itself. A lot of people have the image of the car that your grandpa owned." If you'll recall, that was Cadillac's major problem about ten years ago and now they're putting out M5-hunters, power-wagons, and good-looking crossovers. Should Lincoln be able to pull off the type of renaissance that Cadillac did, CEO Alan Mulally is even willing to get Lincoln its passport and go international with the brand.
By Phil Alex
Source: Autonews (Sub. Req.)
*Opening Photo: 2002 Lincoln Continental Concept Study
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