Friday, June 15, 2012

What's with Lincoln's new front end?

Lincoln MKT
Lincoln has started rolling out its new front end to take the brand's design "to the next level". I don't get it, sorry. It seems like a hastily decided quick-fix that does not get to the root of the problem. Click through for more thoughts...

Lincoln MKS
Over the past decade, Lincoln has hit an extraordinarily rough patch. Aging cars like the Continental and Town Car, and overdesigned derivative cars like the Navigator, Aviator, MKT, MKX, MKS, and MKZ. Time and time again, we hear of Lincoln turning over a new leaf, and going after the young professional customer segment, but they have never been able to execute well. Even though today's Lincoln's have well-appointed interiors with Ford Sync and some nice technology, the exteriors are a bit odd.

The new MKS shown above is a thinly-veiled Taurus. With the new front-end, Lincoln tried to rescue-differentiate the 2 cars, but the result is still an awkward, overpriced, uncompetitive sedan. At $45-50k, there are a host of more attractive cars that are more fun to drive. The new front end of the MKS is a grave mistake; the old front-end was bland, but this new front end sets the car back 5 years. Put it up next to the Mercedes E-Class, BMW 5-Series, Audi A6, or even Cadillac CTS, and there is no competition.

Lincoln MKZ
The new MKZ was released earlier this year to huge fanfare. This was supposed to Lincoln's "fresh-start" car, but it is clearly derivative of the new Fusion. The new Fusion is arguably one of the best looking cars coming out this year, so it is curious that the upmarket MKZ looks worse than the Fusion?! At certain angles (mainly the side), the MKZ is attractive, but the front-end is odd and the rear-end (below) is WAY too avantgarde to be popular on a mainstream level.

Lincoln MKZ
N.B. to Lincoln: you are still not in the ballpark. You need to design cars that the next generation will want to buy, not last generation. The new MKZ is nice, but doesn't excite me, and it is people like me that you will need to be a viable brand in 10-20 years...

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