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Lincoln is defining the new era of premium American luxury, even if it means killing off one of its most iconic cars


Lincoln is defining the new era of premium American luxury, even if it means killing off one of its most iconic cars

Lincoln announced earlier this year that it would stop building the Continental and MKZ at the end of 2020.After that, Lincoln will be left with an all-SUV lineup.But this makes perfect sense because sedans aren’t selling and Lincoln’s SUVs are extremely capable and luxurious.Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories. Historically, Lincoln and Cadillac have…

Lincoln is defining the new era of premium American luxury, even if it means killing off one of its most iconic cars
  • Lincoln launched earlier this 365 days that it would close building the Continental and MKZ on the pause of 2020.
  • After that, Lincoln can be left with an all-SUV lineup.
  • Nevertheless this makes very finest sense attributable to sedans don’t appear to be promoting and Lincoln’s SUVs are extremely succesful and keen.
  • Discuss with Industry Insider’s homepage for extra tales.

Historically, Lincoln and Cadillac have loads typically. They’re both luxury palms of two of Detroit’s Worthy Three: Ford and General Motors, respectively. And additionally they’re both synonymous with feeble-college American luxury.

Nevertheless as we circulate additional and additional away from the 20th century, those sentiments are fading into the previous. As far as adapting to outlive in 2020’s luxury market goes, Lincoln clearly has a map and is willing to make some sacrifices to drag it off.

The firm’s most modern announcement that it would abolish off one in every of its most iconic nameplates, the Continental, is proof of that.

2020 Lincoln Aviator_12 2020 Lincoln Aviator.

Kristen Lee/Industry Insider

Both Lincoln and Cadillac enjoyed an iconic heyday of map. Lincoln Cosmopolitans and Continentals ferried presidents fancy Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy from the 1950s thru the 1970s. Cadillac Fleetwoods — President Invoice Clinton’s presidential snort vehicle — served from the 1980s to the early 2000s. 

Indeed, when something is opulent or novel, we are liable to snort it is “the Cadillac” of its kind. 

Lincoln Kennedy The new customized-built bubble high Lincoln limousine being delivered to the White Condo for President Kennedy’s utilize, Washington DC, June 1961. It used to be built to Secret Provider specs and tok five months to create.

Underwood Archives/Getty Pictures

Nevertheless whereas Cadillac looks to be going thru an identity crisis — is it a top rate luxury vehicle worth or a sporty, performance worth? Is it a Contemporary York Metropolis-essentially based fully firm or a Michigan-essentially based fully firm? Is it an electric-vehicle worth now? — Lincoln has quietly assumed its topic available in the market as a top rate luxury worth, reputedly unconcerned with competing in opposition to the Germans or Tesla.

And top rate luxury in 2020 doesn’t imply extensive sedans with fins fancy it did in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s. The postulate has been reshaped as a substitute to imply hulking SUVs that enact the approximate size and weight of a little shed. 

This wasn’t something that happened in a single day. As Industry Insider’s have Matthew DeBord wrote in 2016, Lincoln launched the Navigator in the leisurely 1990s. It used to be the logo’s first elephantine, luxury SUV and used to be supposed to make the most of the SUV frenzy taking automakers into the brand new millennium.

1998LincolnNavigator_CN327014 140 1998 Lincoln Navigator.


Lincoln used to be dealt a double blow quickly after. In 2009, when fuel costs rose to nearly $5 a gallon in California, it spelled nearly particular loss of life for cars fancy the Navigator. The cool declare Lincoln rode on attributable to the Continental had all but dried up. Moreover the Navigator, the logo struggled with well-known cars, and it didn’t aid that most of them had been named fancy they had been dredged up from alphabet soup: MKS, MKT, MKX, MKZ.

The Lincoln Metropolis Car used to be the choice vehicle of taxi drivers in Contemporary York Metropolis. Not exactly glamorous.

Nevertheless Ford made a resolution. Moderately than abolish off Lincoln fancy it did Mercury in 2011, it saved Lincoln spherical and orchestrated a comeback. Mercury competed with the likes of Buick. Lincoln used to be the top rate worth, so Ford could well price extra for the cars. Confidently, other folks would skedaddle for them.

2017 Lincoln Continental 2017 Lincoln Continental.


After a 14-365 days absence, Lincoln introduced the Continental sedan aid in 2016. It used to be welcomed with fanfare by journalists. It wore what would change into Lincoln’s new company face: a recessed, unfussy rectangular grille that used to be a welcomed aid from the terrible waterfall grille that dominated the 2000s. Nevertheless by that point, SUVs had been leading vehicle sales in the US, now not sedans. 

Quickly after, the fourth-generation Lincoln Navigator debuted in 2017. I reviewed it after I was restful working at Jalopnik and loved it.

Possible the Continental used to be Lincoln’s flagship once upon a time, but it used to be hideous as day that the Navigator had moved into the tip situation. Its energy, quality, interior, and worth all spoke to a top rate luxury product — and one which knew it, too. Lincoln used to be now now not duking it out in lunchroom squabbles in Detroit with GM or Chrysler; this used to be world-class luxury now. 

2020 Lincoln Navigator Reserve with Monochromatic Package 2020 Lincoln Navigator Reserve with Monochromatic Equipment.


So when Lincoln made up our minds that this can also close manufacturing of the MKZ and the Continental sedan — arguably its most renowned nameplate — by the pause of 2020, it used to be disappointing but unsurprising. 

Lincoln has spent most modern years ridding itself of confusing alphanumeric names and building out its SUV portfolio. Becoming a member of the Navigator used to be the three-row Aviator SUV (moreover comely; evaluation here), the Nautilus midsize crossover (beforehand MKX), and the Corsair compact crossover (beforehand MKC).

Pushed to the pause of its lineup had been the Continental and MKZ, the latter of which I the truth is have considered zero right other folks have excluding for limousine companies. 

LincolnContinental CoachDoors_HR_10 Lincoln Continental with coach doorways.


The MKZ harkens aid to a miserable point in Lincoln’s history, but I’m able to now not aid but feel moderately nostalgic for the Continental. It is the executive, stately sedan that sported superior suicide doorways, used to be once the President’s stir, and even equipped V12s in the 1940s. 

Nevertheless in place of mire itself in nostalgia, which makes sentimental nerds fancy me feel appropriate but would now not the truth is promote any cars, Lincoln made the trade resolution to appropriate axe the Continental altogether.

1964 Lincoln Continental convertible neg C1111 139 1964 Lincoln Continental.


The numbers abet the circulate: In 2019, Lincoln sold 87,893 SUVs and appropriate 24,311 sedans. Those SUV numbers are liable to appropriate fetch greater, since the Aviator wasn’t even available till midway thru 2019. 

Thus, canceling its remaining sedans fully falls in accordance with Lincoln’s dreary push to give an explanation for the place it occupies. It makes sense. Once the MKZ and Continental recede, Lincoln will have an all-SUV lineup with new names and modern looks to be like. It’d be nearly unrecognizable from the stodgy worth of the early 2000s. Customers can be greeted by a single, unified message of what Lincoln’s notion of top rate American luxury is alleged to evaluation and feel fancy. 

2020 Lincoln Aviator_25 2020 Lincoln Aviator.

Kristen Lee/Industry Insider

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So pour one out for the Continental. Will any individual the truth is recede out it? Arduous to snort, but maybe now not. Investors absolutely is now not going to. With the Navigator and Aviator as quality and ambitious as they’re, I’m able to now not the truth is gape a customer feeling torn by a sedan when such succesful SUVs exist moral next to it. That’s now not how other folks shop this day. 

The firm is totally hanging all of its eggs in the SUV basket as if fuel being $5 per gallon is a far away memory — and as if it could maybe perhaps well now not with out declare happen again. It’s a wide wager that the bottom is now not going to be torn out from below SUVs again fancy it used to be a mere 10 years previously.

Nevertheless for now, it is what other folks are shopping for. So give them what they need. 

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