Ford Motor had been expecting all the spotlights to be on the new Lincoln Continental concept, but the second-largest automaker might have gained some unwanted attention as well.
After the US company presented its luxury brand’s latest design for a flagship sedan to once more bear the iconic Continental name, an escalating war of words over the prototype’s design cues has started. The British ultra-luxury brand Bentley, through its design boss Luc Donckerwolke, has claimed his Lincoln counterpart had stolen the style of one of its models. “Do you want us to send the product tooling,” commented Donckerwolke on the Facebook page of Lincoln styling chief David Woodhouse, in a not so covert hint the automaker could save costs by simply using its factory tools and stamp out a replica of the Bentley car. The bold stance of the Continental revival, set to debut officially this week during the 2015 New York Auto Show, is to Donckerwolke’s eye just a knockoff of a Bentley Flying Spur. “I would have called it Flying Spur concept and kept the four round lights,” the designer added on Facebook.
Naturally, Ford’s global marketing chief, Stephen Odell took a defensive stance on behalf of Woodhouse. “There’s no way that we’ve copied anybody’s design,” claims. “Our Continental has its own character, its own architecture and its own aspects as a car.” The automaker is tasking the upcoming Continental model to help Lincoln come out of a 59 percent drop in sales since its 1990s heyday. Interestingly enough, the VW AG luxury unit also has a model named Continental and the two companies displayed a rare feat of automotive cohabitation, sharing the nameplate for decades.