Ford, just like its cross-town rival General Motors, has a serious problem with its premium brand – Lincoln – which has tallied decades of declining sales.
The brand is being pushed forward today by massive investment in a drive to become relevant once more – especially at home in the US, where the premium market has been dominated for years by Japanese and German luxury brands. In a move that seeks to restore some panache to the dusty premium brand, Lincoln has now decided to resurrect the Continental model name – though the cars bearing that moniker last had their heyday in the President John F. Kennedy era. The company will introduce a new Continental sedan concept in time for the New York International Auto Show this week. The brand, seeking redemption for years, makes another daring direction switch with the flagship model, which features new design cues, including a completely new “face”. The current one, which, according to Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of the Americas was designed to evoke the eagle’s wings, was too much for some clients.
Lincoln has seen some success of late after introducing new or revamped versions of its crossovers and SUVs, such as the large navigator or completely new compact MKC. But selling sedans remains a challenge for the maker known for its Town Car models, widely employed as an airport shuttle for business travelers, with Lincoln currently being the eighth largest premium brand on the US market. The automaker last used the Continental moniker back in 2002, when it was all but devoid of elegance and appeal – but the new model is expected to rekindle historic links. And also lift the brand in China, where it’s been a latecomer to the world’s second largest premium auto market.