Monday, January 23, 2006

What's In A Name?

Lincoln has recently unveiled four new vehicles: the Zephyr, the Mark LT, the MKX, and the MKS. These last two in particular have given rise to some criticism of Lincoln's naming scheme. While some car companies have had great success with alphanumeric naming schemes, BMW and Lexus come to mind, Lincoln has not been one of them. Much has been made recently of the plight of U.S. automakers and their fight against their foreign rivals, and one of the few things U.S. automakers like Lincoln have over their competition is heritage. While the offerings of the 80's are what let the competition take hold in the first place, the offerings before then are legendary, and almost exclusively American.
Lincoln seems to have realized the importance of this heritage by bringing back the Zephyr name: The Zephyr was originally offered in the 1930's and was in fact the car that made Lincoln financially successful. The names Continental and Town Car are classic Lincoln. Before the mediocrity of the 80's, these names had 50 years of history and heritage behind them.
Regardless of Cadillac's apparent success in the switch from names like DeVille and Seville to DTS and STS, Lincoln appears to need all the help it can get and it would seem wise to remind people as much as possible of the days when a Continental was something you wanted to work towards. As much as someone may aspire to someday own a 760Li, S600, or LS430, I think Lincoln would do better to try to add Continental or Town Car back to the list, rather than MKS.

No comments: