The Lincoln MKZ concept will invigorate the struggling luxury car brand.
10 January 2012

The Lincoln MKZ concept has been unveiled at the Detroit motor show – and its significance goes well beyond the launch of a new product, as it also marks the first step in Ford’s quest to reinvigorate its struggling luxury brand.

"We are not introducing a new car, we are essentially introducing a new brand," said Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president for Global Product Development. "The MKZ concept is the next step in the reinvention of Lincoln, something we have been quietly but aggressively pursuing."

Ford has long pondered what to do with Lincoln, but is now committed to growing it; company bosses have set up a dedicated team of engineers and designers to work on Lincoln products only, and have also pledged to launch seven new or significantly revised Lincolns by 2014, two others of which are the flagship and MKT crossover, which are both also at the show.

Mark Fields, president of Ford America, said: “Lincoln is an important part of our business. The luxury industry is significant. In any given year in the US, the luxury segment is 11-13 per cent of overall sales, and it’s important for us to win customers with strong new vehicles.”

However, Lincoln won’t be expanding its attentions outside of North America yet. Jim Farley, Ford’s vice president of marketing, told Autocar: “It will take every ounce of energy and every cent of investment to make Lincoln work right in North America. Once we have got that right we may look elsewhere, but that’s a long way off.”

The MKZ, which sits on Ford’s mid-size platform and can be configured to run as a front or all-wheel-drive car, will make production in the US later this year, bearing a strong resemblance to the concept on show in Detroit. Design director Max Wolff also wants to apply the design theme, which he characterises as "elegant simplicity" to all Lincoln cars.

Wolff, who is in the process of setting up the dedicated Lincoln design studio, the brand’s first dedicated premises since 1970, says he has tried not to shy away from keeping classic Lincoln styling cues - the split-wing grille, for instance, was first introduced on the 1938 Lincoln Zephyr – while also blending in modern design, such as the panoramic glass roof and LED technology.

Inside, the emphasis is on comfort and luxury; it’s a strict four-seater, its cabin is swathed in leather and wood fittings and there a 10.1 inch TFT screen ahead if the driver, plus an eight-inch LCD touchscreen on the centre console.

Join the debate


10 January 2012

Personally, I think this misses the mark and looks a little too Korean in execution. The chassis and interior quality are going to have to be quite special if they are going to get anywhere with this car.



It's all about the twisties........

10 January 2012

It's better than the old one, but that's not saying much. The side profile looks weird, too - like it's leaning too far forwards.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Car review
    23 September 2016
    Aston kicks off its ‘second century plan’ with an all-new turbo V12 grand tourer
  • Ford Ka+ 1.2 Ti-VCT 85
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    A rounded, refined and well-sorted bargain supermini – once you’re used to the confusing role redefinition imposed on the once-cheeky Ka
  •  Maserati Ghibli Diesel
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    Maserati releases another range of updates for its range best seller, the Ghibli. We've driven the diesel version, but there's little improvement on before
  • Tipo Front
    First Drive
    21 September 2016
    New Fiat Tipo offers impressive space and practicality for a reasonable price. We try the 1.6 diesel on the demanding roads of North Wales
  • Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI 150
    First Drive
    20 September 2016
    The Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI 150 makes perfect sense: it's spacious, tidy to drive for an SUV and cheap to run