What's in a Name? Lincoln Could Learn from Infiniti
Dear Lincoln, You don't have to soldier on with the same collection of confusing naming nomenclature. Just look at what Infiniti did when they overhauled their naming system. It may be confusing at first, but follow us on this little journey in luxury car naming and how to fix things over at Lincoln. Well, at least fix the naming… So Lincoln's naming system (MKX, MKS, MKZ, MKT) is so convoluted that even Ford's Alan Mullaly confused them in a press conference. That's never a good thing. Luxury cars are most certainly a hard thing to name. There is a general consensus that you HAVE to go with the alpha-numeric approach. This notion was probably accepted because that was what BMW and Mercedes were doing. The problem that many of these automakers face is that BMW and Mercedes just make better cars, the naming has nothing to do with it. But here we have a whole mess of names and letters, and its totally confusing. Infiniti decided to create some brand cohesion, so it picked two letter combinations, and stuck with it. Just look at the diagram below:
Now, Infiniti really did not have a brand problem when it came to identifying names and numbers and whatnot. The problem was right around the corner though. You see, Infiniti is working on supercharged and turbocharged powertrains, which could mean that a higher trim car (with, say, a 3.0-Liter supercharged V6) might have a lower "number" in its current system than a naturally aspirated version of the engine. So to address it, as you can see in the diagram above, Q will now be a sedan, coupe or convertible, while QX will be a crossover or SUV. The numbers will represent the specific coupe, crossover, sedan or SUV.
This should come as a sign to Lincoln. Infiniti's previous system was not even that bad, but they decided to overhaul it to avoid further confusion. They were also willing to take the risk of immediate confusion in favor of longterm clarity in naming. Ford and Lincoln seem more like the risk-averse bunch, so I'm not convinced they have the collective sand to change things too much.
It would go a long way to change names back to Zephyr, Town Car and Continental. People at least recognize those names. No one knows what your MKX/MKS names mean. Refusing to change those vehicle names only suggest that Lincoln is not committed to the future of the brand and is only doing just enough to get by until it is closed down for good. Prove us wrong, Lincoln.