Lincoln rechristened Lincoln Motor Company: Will anyone care?

2013 Lincoln MKZ profile viewAs part of a new advertising campaign, Ford’s Lincoln luxury division will henceforth be known as the Lincoln Motor Company. The new campaign seeks to differentiate Lincoln from its parent company’s mainstream models, and to remind potential buyers of the brand’s provenance. Still, with a lineup that is entirely Ford-based, how much can this rebranding accomplish?

The name change is a more significant nod toward independence than one might think. Lincoln was created by Henry M. Leland (founder of Cadillac) in 1920, and survived on its own for two years before it was bought by Ford in 1922. The company’s original name? You guessed it: Lincoln Motor Company.

“This is about moving forward by looking back,” the narrator of Lincoln’s new commercial says, and the brand has plenty to look back on. One spot juxtaposes the 2013 MKZ with classic Lincolns, including 1940, 1956, and 1961 Continentals. There’s also a cameo by President Abraham Lincoln (talk about impressive history).

“The campaign captures the founding principles of the company and brings them forward to a new generation of progressive luxury buyers,” Lincoln’s press release said. Indeed, another ad shows classic Lincolns interspersed with shots of designers working on a clay model MKZ, and some skydiving, something Honest Abe probably wouldn’t have partaken in.

Lincoln definitely needs to prove that it is a legitimate luxury brand, and not a Ford trim level, but its ad department might writing checks its engineers can’t cash. The new MKZ is a good car but, like every other current Lincoln, it’s a restyled Ford model (in this case, the Fusion) with some posh options.

Lincolns also use the same engines and transmissions as the Ford models they’re based on, and come with the same infotainment system (rebranded MyLincoln Touch).

This might take some of the brand’s luster away, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be a problem for sales. Lexus’ two bestsellers are the ES sedan and RX crossover, which are based on the Toyota Camry and Highlander, respectively.

However, Lincoln is being squeezed from both directions. Its cars cost nearly as much as the competition from BMW and Mercedes-Benz, which offer a more premium experience. At the same time, certain Ford models offer similar levels of equipment to their Lincoln counterparts.

Lincoln also lacks a brand-specific model, like the Lexus IS, GS, or LS, to lure buyers away from its parent’s showrooms. Rumors are going around about a rear-wheel drive Lincoln based on the 2015 Mustang, but so far they are just rumors.

Through November 2012, Lincoln sold a total of 74,766 cars. Lexus sold 213,559 cars, and BMW sold 303,728. Maybe Abe Lincoln should get a speaking part in Lincoln Motor Company’s next ad.

Product Review

The all-new 3 Series proves BMW can still build a compelling sport sedan

Seat time in the entry-level BMW 330i ($41,425) and M340i xDrive ($54,995) will test the German automaker’s commitment to driving dynamics, powertrain refinement, and cutting edge technology.

2020 Toyota Supra caught hiding in a trailer without a shred of camouflage

Toyota's plan to once again lure enthusiasts into showrooms involves bringing back the Supra, one of its most emblematic nameplates. Here's what we know so far about the upcoming coupe, which Toyota is developing jointly with BMW.
Product Review

The 2019 Porsche Macan S is a luxurious and quick SUV, but it's no road tripper

The roster of models challenging the Porsche Macan grows annually. The German firm updated its smallest, most affordable SUV with a new engine, more tech features, and subtle design tweaks to keep it looking fresh.

Gateway’s born-again Ford Bronco boasts classic style, 2018 muscle car power

Illinois-based Gateway Bronco has received a license from Ford to make brand-new examples of the first-generation Bronco. Every build starts with a Ford VIN and a donor vehicle, but Gateway upgrades every part of the car.

NYC mandates minimum wage for Uber, Lyft, other app-based rideshare drivers

New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission approved a rule that drivers for companies such as Uber and Lyft must be paid at least minimum wage, even though they are independent contractors. The new pay rate includes operating costs.

LM Industries’ autonomous shuttles head to Phoenix, Sacramento campuses

LM Industries will deploy Olli low-speed autonomous shuttles at school campuses in Arizona and California as part of its ongoing "fleet challenge," which asks local groups to propose uses for autonomous vehicles.

Driving a prototype 2020 Passat at Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground

Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground is where new cars are tested to the breaking point, including the 2020 Passat midsize sedan. Ride along as the new Passat completes testing ahead of its 2019 launch.

Bosch’s CES-bound shuttle concept takes us on a trip to a not-too-distant future

Bosch envisions a future in which driverless shuttles occupy their own market segment. The German firm won't build the shuttles, but it wants to provide everything else, ranging from the drive system to the apps used to hail them.
Emerging Tech

A lidar-equipped truck knows exactly how much de-icer to apply on roads

Lidar is best known as the laser-based technology that helps self-driving cars sense their surroundings. But the city of Knoxville has another, more seasonal use for it: De-icing roads.
Product Review

Boring takes a back seat as 2019 Corolla Hatchback mixes fun with practicality

We drive the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, the latest hatchback to bear the Corolla name. As the best-selling nameplate in automotive history, Toyota has high expectations to meet. This model mostly lives up to the legacy.

Hertz speeds up car rentals with biometric scan technology

Biometric security technology that uses face, fingerprint, and voice recognition is gaining traction, with Hertz emerging as the latest company to incorporate it into its daily operations.
Product Review

Inside Maserati's Levante SUV beats the heart of a Ferrari

Maserati’s luxury SUV gets a shot in the arm by way of Ferrari-derived V8 power, but is it enough to go toe-to-toe with the established players in the high performance sport-utility segment? Let’s find out.

McLaren puts the pedal to the metal in special-edition OnePlus 6T

The OnePlus 6T is yet another flagship killer smartphone, bringing powerful specifications to a much lower price than the competition. Now, OnePlus has teamed up with McLaren for the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition.

Aston Martin’s 1,000-hp Valkyrie will boast the Mona Lisa of the engine world

Aston Martin has released new details about its F1-inspired Valkyrie hypercar. Co-developed with Red Bull Racing, the Valkyrie will be one of the most aerodynamic production cars ever made.