Lincoln's Biggest Problem is Itself; Can the Continental Fix That?
2017 Lincoln Continentals arrive at dealerships this fall, and when they do, Lincoln needs them to move—quickly. With a starting price of $46,000 for a front-wheel drive model with the 3.7-liter V6 out of the current MKZ, there's a chance that Lincoln will get what it needs, but is it what it wants? It's hard to say what Lincoln actually wants, because as a brand, it's all over the place. On the one hand, execs are doing their damnedest to differentiate themselves from the competition in terms of image. While other brands are playing up the sporting qualities of its cars, even if they don't have any, Lincoln is making a play to be the final word in quiet, classy luxury. Lincoln is not attempting to outpace the Germans, and it's not going in a million different directions with styling like the Japanese, the brand simply wants to be comfortable, and that's a whole lot harder to sell than you may think. RELATED: Check Out Photos Of The 2017 Lincoln Continental
While the competition isn't making things easier, the two biggest challenges facing Lincoln actually come from within. First, the brand hasn't managed to differentiate themselves enough from Ford to be thought of as anything other than a gussied up ride from big blue. People don't think of Cadillac as a fancy Chevrolet, they think of it as a Cadillac, and that's because execs went all in on re-defining the brand.
You know what people do think of as a fancy Chevrolet? Buick, and Buick faces all the same problems that Lincoln does, which isn't good, because Lincoln is aiming to compete with Cadillac like it used to. For Lincoln to really be successful, it'll have to be different from Ford inside and out, not just in marketing materials.
Second, Lincoln has to come to terms with the fact that it's made a ton of mistakes. This is highly unlikely, because in the automotive industry mistakes are hardly ever acknowledged, they're just swept under the rug, and never mentioned again, except after the punch bowl is empty at the company Christmas party.
RELATED: The Lincoln MK Coupe Concept Previews a Sporty Future For the Brand
When everyone has tied one on, the skeletons get dragged out of the closet and things like the MKS are talked about...honestly. But that's behind closed doors, and any utterance of the inadequacy of the products can be chalked up to the strength of refreshments being served. In the light of day teeth are gritted, smiles are forced, and everyone at Lincoln stands behind their work. It's quite possible that in the Continental, they have a vehicle they're actually be proud of. However, they have the monumental task of convincing consumers that this time it's for real, not like the MKZ before it, or even the LS before that.
Given the availability of a twin-turbocharged, 400-horsepower, 3.0-liter V6 in the lineup, and 30-way(!) adjustable seats, Lincoln might still have a chance. Might...
RELATED: Lincoln Continental Allegedly Has 40,000 Interested Buyers