Ford, the second largest US automaker, is ready to revive its iconic Lincoln Continental nameplate, with the flagship premium sedan playing the classic name card to lift sales both at home and in China.
Lincoln needs to completely rebuild its brand image in the US – the largest luxury auto market – while in China the historic name could help spearhead deliveries after Lincoln entered last year the second biggest premium market in the world. Lincoln unveiled a concept for the new Continental ahead of its official worldwide premiere during this week’s New York Auto Show and will seek recognition in a crowded market. Only during the same event the luxury market will also see the introduction of the all-new Cadillac CT6, a refreshed Jaguar XF sedan and numerous models from Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz.
A car for politicians and celebrities, the Continental was retired back in 2002 but lived on in the popular culture – with the model also recognized in China. And the Ford executives were positively impressed by the model’s support at home, where models of the 1960s opulent era had numerous movie cameos – including in popular franchises such as the “Matrix” science fiction series. The Continental will also mark in 2016 the end of a $2.5 billion restoration plan for the brand, with Ford aiming to bring global sales to around 300,000 units annually by the end of the decade – a not so grand achievement if we consider that BMW, Mercedes and Lexus each has that quota only from US sales today.