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Lincoln Ponders Dropping MK-Based Names; Possible Return To Using Full Words For Upcoming Models

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On: Sat, Apr 25, 2015 at 9:47AM | By: Carl Malek


Lincoln Ponders Dropping MK-Based Names; Possible Return To Using Full Words For Upcoming Models

With the Continental concept currently making its rounds on the auto show circuit, a new report appears to suggest the the company is considering dropping its MK (Mark)-based naming scheme for a return to fully worded names with the Continental perhaps serving as a spearhead in this new initiative.

The company appeared to hint that such a future could indeed be possible when it formally introduced the Continental concept at the 2015 New York Auto Show; the concept revived the long dormant nameplate, and also served as the first Lincoln Concept in recent years to not be debuted as a MK-based model. If this is indeed confirmed, it would end the Lincoln Navigator’s lonely existence on Lincoln’s lineup as the only model in production that does not have a MK-based badge. The current naming scheme is based on the company's "Mark Series" and has occasionally used a third letter to denote a particular body style—MKS sedan, MKC crossover, and the bigger MKX crossover. However, other models such as the MKT and MKZ do not formally follow this unwritten rule, which can lead to alphabetical confusion when they are lined up side-by-side with their corporate siblings on dealer lots.

Ford's president of the Americas, Joe Hinrichs, did not reveal whether the revised naming scheme has been officially greenlighted but did share his thoughts on the Continental's success with Automotive News, “Without divulging the future, we're very excited about the Continental name and the attention it has gotten.” Hinrichs also indirectly addressed the proverbial elephant in the room, and acknowledged the confusing mishmash of model names in the brand’s current model lineup, suggesting that the brand could turn to its heritage and possibly revive other dormant marques in the near future.

“It's frankly where the auto industry—the premium industry—has gone, if you look at all the nameplates. But another way Lincoln could distinguish itself is to leverage its heritage. So I'll leave it at that.”

The production Continental will be the first model to return to a classic nameplate when it replaces the elegant but slow-selling MKS sedan on dealer lots. While this proposed naming swap does not necessarily guarantee that other retired marques, such as the Town Car and the ill-fated Blackwood, will be revived, look for other models, including the Capri nameplate, to possibly benefit from a 21st century reboot. While the Capri last saw duty on a duo of Mercury vehicles, it was used by Lincoln in the 1950s, and could perhaps be resurrected for a luxury performance vehicle that would certainly improve Lincoln's relevance with young enthusiasts, a slice of the market that has currently been left unaddressed by the company.

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