Among all the initiatives Ford has been trotting out, none is more interesting than their leap into the lap of luxury. Or at least resurrecting American Grandeur.
This week at the New York Car Show, Ford is introducing a Lincoln Continental Concept. This is one concept that appears to already have been given the green flag for 2017 model year.
The Continental starts a new platform to get beyond the anonymous looking and sounding MKZ, MKC or MKx.
The new flagship will compete against the Audi 8, Mercedes-Benz S-class or long-wheelbase BMW 7-series, PLUS the new Cadillac flagship sedan. The Caddy will also make its debut this week.
Everything is theatrical inside and out. Check out the front lights, starting with lighted Lincoln four-pointed star, that come on in animated sequence. Door handles are hidden. Tail lights look like chrome except when illuminated. An ambient glow bathes the cabin. Seats are 30-way, the kama sutra of driving comfort. You won’t believe what is going on in the Ponderosa-sized backseat area!
A history of the Continental tells me the Continental mark made it to the 7th generation, which ended in 2002. It ended in something ignominiously named “executive car” class.
Here is what at stakes for Ford: triple the brand’s global sales by 2020. Last year, 82,000 Lincolns sold – a far cry from 1998 when Lincoln was lord of the largest luxury brand with 187,000 sold in the US.
UPDATE 4.01.2015 (not an April Fool’s Joke)
Car Design News reports that Bentley’s design chief Luc Donckerwolke has called the new Lincoln Continental concept a flagrant copycat of their Flying Spur.
“I would have called it Flying Spur concept and kept the four round lights,” he sarcastically noted on his Facebook page.
Donckerwolke was so ticked off that he sarcastically offered to send the Flying Spur’s tooling to Ford on the Lincoln’s design director’s Facebook page.
He fumed: “This behavior is not respectable. Building a copy like this is giving a bad name to the car design world.” So much for imitation being the sincerest form of flattery!