Lincoln Motor Company
|Founded||Dearborn, Michigan, U.S.
(August 1917 ):4
|Headquarters||Dearborn, Michigan, U.S.|
|Kumar Galhotra (President since September 1, 2014)|
|Products||Luxury vehicles, Limousines|
|Parent||Ford Motor Company
The Lincoln Motor Company (also known simply as Lincoln) is a division of the Ford Motor Company that sells luxury vehicles under the Lincoln brand. Founded in 1917 by Henry M. Leland, Lincoln has been a subsidiary of Ford since 1922. While currently sold primarily in North America, Ford introduced the Lincoln brand to China in 2014. Lincoln vehicles are also officially sold in the Middle East and South Korea.
The current Lincoln model range in North America consists of two sedans (Continental and MKZ), three crossover utility vehicles (MKC, MKT, and MKX), and a sport utility vehicle (Navigator/Navigator L). Lincoln also sells two vehicles specifically for limousine/livery use, both based on the MKT.
- 1 History
- 1.1 1917–1940: Lincoln Motor Company
- 1.2 1940–1945: Lincoln Division
- 1.3 1945–2012: Lincoln-Mercury Division
- 1.3.1 Continental Division (1956–1960)
- 1.3.2 1961–1969: 'Slab Side' Continental era
- 1.3.3 Lincoln Mark Series
- 1.3.4 1970–1979: Zenith of the full-size Lincoln
- 1.3.5 1980–1998: Lincoln downsizes
- 1.3.6 1998–2012: Premier Automotive Group, End of Lincoln-Mercury
- 1.4 2012–present: The Lincoln Motor Company
- 2 Sales
- 3 Brand image
- 4 Current models
- 5 Motorsport
- 6 Presidential cars
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
1917–1940: Lincoln Motor Company
The Lincoln Motor Company was founded in August 1917 by Henry Leland and his son Wilfred. An engineer, Henry Leland named his new automobile company after Abraham Lincoln, the first presidential candidate for whom he had cast a vote (in 1864). As the United States was still involved in World War I, the primary source of income for the company was military contracts; Lincoln co-assembled Liberty V12 aircraft engines, using cylinders supplied by Ford Motor Company, along with Buick, Cadillac, Marmon, and Packard.:4:163–164
Alongside aircraft engine production, Lincoln produced its first automobile in 1917, the Lincoln Model L. Powered by a V8 engine, the Model L was marketed as a luxury automobile, competing against other American luxury car manufacturers. Following the end of the war, the Lincoln factory was retooled entirely for automobile production.
Purchase by Ford
During the early 1920s, Lincoln suffered severe financial issues, balancing the loss of revenue of Liberty engine production with the obsolete design of the expensive Model L. After having produced only 150 cars in 1922, Lincoln Motor Company was forced into bankruptcy and sold for US$8,000,000 to the Ford Motor Company on February 4, 1922; some of the proceeds of the sale went to pay off its creditors.
For Henry Ford, the purchase of Lincoln was a personal triumph, as he had been forced out of his second company (Henry Ford Company) by a group of investors led by Leland.:52–57 The company, renamed Cadillac in 1902 was purchased by General Motors in 1909, serving as the chief competitor to Lincoln. While Henry Ford had previously introduced Ford-branded luxury vehicles (the Ford Model B in 1904, the Ford Model F in 1905, and the Ford Model K in 1906), the company found little acceptance. With the acquisition of Lincoln, the nameplate became a top-selling rival alongside Pierce-Arrow, Marmon, Peerless, Duesenberg, and Packard.
Although the chassis itself saw few major changes (with its L-head engine and unusual 60-degree cylinder block), the body saw significant updates. At the direction of Henry's son Edsel, in 1923 several body styles were introduced, that included two- and three-window, four-door sedans and a phaeton that accommodated four passengers. They also offered a two-passenger roadster and a seven-passenger touring sedan and limousine, which was sold for $5,200. A sedan, limo, cabriolet, and town car were also offered by coachbuilders Fleetwood, Derham and Dietrich, and a second cabriolet was offered by coachbuilder Brunn. Lincoln contracted with dozens of coachbuilders during the 1920s and early 30s to create multiple custom built vehicles, to include American, Anderson, Babcock, Holbrook, Judkins, Lang, LeBaron, Locke, Murray, Towson, and Willoughby in the 1920s. Murphy, Rollston, and Waterhouse were added in the 1930s.[better source needed]
Vehicles built by these coachbuilders went for as much as $7,200, and despite the limited market appeal, Lincoln sales rose about 45 percent to produce 7,875 cars and the company was operating at a profit by the end of 1923.
In 1924 large touring sedans began to be used by police departments around the country. They were known as Police Flyers, which were equipped with four-wheel brakes, two years before they were introduced on private sale vehicles. These specially equipped vehicles, with bulletproof windshields measuring 7/8 of an inch thick and spot lights mounted on the ends of the windshield, also came with an automatic windshield wiper for the driver and a hand-operated wiper for the front passenger. Police whistles were coupled to the exhaust system and gun racks were also fitted to these vehicles.
Optional equipment was not necessarily an issue with Lincolns sold during the 1920s, however, customers who wanted special items were accommodated. A nickel-plated radiator shell could be installed for $25, varnished natural wood wheels were $15, or Rudge-Whitworth center-lock wire wheels for another $100. Disteel steel disc wheels were also available for $60. Lincoln chose not to make yearly model changes, used as a marketing tool of the time, designed to lure new customers. Lincoln customers of the time were known to purchase more than one Lincoln with different bodywork, so changing the vehicle yearly was not done to accommodate their customer base.:52–57
In 1932, Lincoln introduced the V12-powered KB platform alongside the V8 powered KA platform with an all-new streamlined appearance. In 1933, Eugene T. "Bob" Gregorie, at the styling studio created by Edsel Ford, began designing the smaller Lincoln-Zephyr,:130 which led to the first Continental, a bespoke one-off specially created for Edsel Ford, Henry's son.
The smaller Lincoln-Zephyr was introduced for the 1936 model year as a marque of its own,:155 with a 267 cu in (4.4 L) V12. The Lincoln-Zephyr was so successful in its first year as to increase Lincoln sales nearly ninefold.:1196–1197 It remained a separate marque until the end of the 1940 model year and then became a model under Lincoln,:206 when the large Lincoln Twelve was discontinued. In the 1941 model year, all Lincolns were based on the Zephyr chassis, and when production resumed after the War the Zephyr name was not continued.
1940–1945: Lincoln Division
On April 30, 1940, the operation of Lincoln changed as the Lincoln Motor Company became the Lincoln Division of Ford Motor Company.:199 Once an autonomous entity, Lincoln was now brought closer under Ford control, in part to modernize the division to better compete with the equivalent competition from Chrysler (Imperial), Packard, and General Motors (Cadillac). In 1946, an all-new model called the Lincoln H-series was offered as a coupe, sedan, and limousine, all installed with the Lincoln V12 as standard equipment.
In 1940, the Lincoln Continental commenced production as a personal luxury car quite literally due to the popularity of the personal car of Edsel Ford. Dissatisfied with the boxy designs produced by his father, Edsel wanted a European-style car to drive around on vacations in Florida. In 1938, he commissioned Ford Chief Stylist E. T. Gregorie to design a body for a 1939 Lincoln-Zephyr V12 Convertible Coupe. Most of the bodywork involved sectioning the body 4 inches (102 mm) and the deletion of the running boards, and an external-mounted spare tire on the trunklid. The styling of the rear tire mount proved popular; it would become a styling feature of the Lincoln Mark series and those who work on custom cars call a similar mount a "Continental kit".
The car was put in production for the 1940 model year as a model under Lincoln-Zephyr.:198 In June 1940 the Club Coupe was added and from 1941 to 1948 it was a model under Lincoln marque. When production ceased in 1948 a total of 5322 had been built.
1945–2012: Lincoln-Mercury Division
In 1945, Ford Motor Company merged the Mercury and Lincoln divisions together, forming the combined Lincoln-Mercury division. For the revival of civilian production in 1946, Lincoln introduced a two-model lineup: Continental and the Zephyr-based range. Based on the former Zephyr, the standard Lincoln range only wore the Lincoln nameplate.
In 1949, both the H-Series Lincoln and the Continental were discontinued. In their place were a new generation of cars. Magnifying the relationship between Lincoln and Mercury was the new EL-Series, as its styling shared much with that of the Mercury Eight. More significantly, the 1949 Lincoln and Cosmopolitan were the first Lincolns since 1932 without a V12 engine; as Lincoln could not develop a new V12 in time, a V8 was borrowed from the Ford F-8 medium-duty truck. In 1952, Lincoln developed its own Overhead valve V8 engine, the Y-block.
Continental Division (1956–1960)
For 1956, Ford revisited the original concept of the 1940–1948 Continental. Organized under its own marque, the newly created Continental Division, the Continental Mark II was a two-door hardtop coupe. Instead of an actual spare tire mounted on the trunklid, the trunklid was styled with a tire-shaped hump. Unlike many cars of the era, the Mark II wore conservative styling; relatively little chrome trim was used on the body and tailfins were notably absent.
Positioned above the Lincoln marque, the Continental Division's Mark II was the only vehicle in the division, and was designated as the flagship of the Ford Motor Company, at a base price of $10,000 (equivalent to $88,091 in 2016), comparable to a Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud. Until the introduction of the 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham, it was the most expensive American-produced car. As a result of its largely hand-built construction, every Mark II was sold at a loss of over $1,000. Production of the Mark II ran from June 1955 to May 1957.
Unibody era (1958–1960)
In a cost-cutting move, the Continental Division was expanded as a single vehicle and shared a platform with Lincoln-branded vehicles in July 1958.:281 The hand-built Mark II was replaced by the Continental Mark III. While still badged and advertised as a Continental, the use of the standard Lincoln body allowed for a $4,000 reduction in price. The final Continental-badged car would be the 1960 Mark V.:414, 582–583
For the 1958 model year, a number of changes were made to Lincoln. Along with the integration of Edsel to form the Mercury-Edsel-Lincoln (M-E-L) division, production of all Lincoln and Continental vehicles was shifted to an all-new assembly plant in Wixom, Michigan. Showcasing the new assembly plant was a redesigned product lineup. The new V-8 430 cu. in. Ford MEL engine was used in all Lincolns.
In a radical change from 1957 Lincolns, the chassis was of unibody construction. Sharing a body with the Continental marque, the 1958–1960 Lincolns would become some of the largest production vehicles ever built; they are the longest Lincolns produced without 5-mph bumpers. They are the longest-wheelbase cars ever produced by Ford Motor Company.
In 1959, the Town Car name made its first appearance. A formal-roof sedan, it was available only in black.
1961–1969: 'Slab Side' Continental era
For the 1961 model year, Lincoln consolidated its model lineup, with a single Lincoln Continental model line taking the place of the Lincoln Capri, Lincoln Premiere, and Continental Mark V; the separate Continental nameplate was discontinued entirely.
The newly introduced 1961 Lincoln Continental was one of the first cars to undergo downsizing. Although only nominally lighter than a 1960 Lincoln, the 1961 Continental shed 15 inches in length and 8 inches in wheelbase. Distinguished by the use of rear suicide doors, Lincoln introduced what would become the final mass-produced four-door convertible sold in North America.
Designed by automobile designer Elwood Engel, the design of the Lincoln Continental began life as a variant of the 1961 Thunderbird. Distinctive for their relative lack of side chrome trim, the Continental was considered a conservative design in contrast to its competition.
Lincoln would sell the Continental from 1961 to 1969 with minor yearly changes. In 1966, a two-door hardtop model joined the lineup, with the convertible ending production in 1967. In 1968, the Continental sedan was joined by the Mark Series.
Lincoln Mark Series
For 1968, as a competitor for the successful Cadillac Eldorado introduced in 1967, Ford Motor Company developed a revival of the Continental Mark II personal luxury coupe. Named the Continental Mark III, the vehicle served as the flagship of all of Ford Motor Company. Although technically not a Lincoln division vehicle itself, the Continental Mark III was sold and serviced by Lincoln-Mercury dealerships.
To control production costs, the Continental Mark III utilized the chassis and underpinnings of the four-door Ford Thunderbird. Alongside the spare tire-style trunklid and hidden headlamps, a styling feature that distinguished the Mark III from the Lincoln Continental was its radiator-style grille (adopted by the Continental in 1977 and used in various forms into the late 1990s).
Far more successful than the Mark II or the 1958-1960 Continental Marks, the Mark Series would be sold through the 1993-1998 Mark VIII.
1970–1979: Zenith of the full-size Lincoln
During the 1970s, the Lincoln division underwent a number of product changes to ensure its future in the luxury-car segment. In response to the introduction of federal safety regulations for all American-market automobiles, Lincolns were required to adopt features such as 5mph bumpers; hardtop body stypes were discontinued. By the end of the decade, the fuel crisis of 1973 had played its own role in the engineering of all Lincoln vehicles. In response, Lincoln would enter the compact segment for the first time and begin development of smaller full-size sedans for the 1980s.
After the 1975 model year, the Imperial brand was discontinued by Chrysler, leaving Cadillac as the sole domestic competitor of Lincoln. During much of the 1970s, the Lincoln division would see sales climb to record highs. Following the 1979 downsizing of the Ford and Mercury product lines, the 1979 Lincoln Continental was the largest mass-production car sold worldwide (excluding limousines and limited-production sedans); the Continental Mark V was the longest coupe sold.
The Continental Mark IV debuted a new tradition for the Mark series, called the Designer Editions, which later spread to other models in the Lincoln model range. Earlier, the Continental Mark III had an Cartier-branded clock installed optionally. In 1976, the Designer Series was introduced as four special-edition models. Each edition was an option package with color, trim, and interior choices specified by notable fashion designers (Bill Blass, Cartier, Givenchy, and Pucci). Each edition carried the designer's signature on the opera windows and were fitted with a 22 karat (92%) gold-plated plaque on the instrument panel which could be engraved with the original owner's name. The concept was successful and would continue on other Lincolns until the end of the 2003 model year.
The 1970s saw the introduction of the Town Car nameplate (as a submodel of the Continental line). To better control its development and production costs, the Lincoln Continental became a counterpart of the Ford LTD and Mercury Marquis in 1970. The compact Lincoln Versailles was introduced to compete against the Cadillac Seville; to a lesser extent, the Versailles also was marketed against European luxury sedans far smaller than the Continental. While technically a separate brand marketed by Lincoln, the Continental Mark series would prove successful, with Ford developing the Continental Mark IV (1972) and Continental Mark V (1977).
For the 1970 model year, the Continental range was given its first complete redesign since 1961. While styling was influenced by both the Continental Mark III and its 1969 predecessor, the new generation marked a departure from its predecessor in terms of layout. In a return to body-on-frame construction, the 1970 Continental marked the return of front-hinged rear doors. To lower its development costs, while Lincoln would retain its own body and wheelbase, the chassis and basic underpinnings were shared with the Ford LTD/Mercury Marquis. The 460 cubic-inch V8 introduced by Lincoln in 1968 became an option in Mercury models in 1972. To distance itself from the Marquis hardtop, the Continental was given a new roofline for 1975. In 1977, a Mark-style radiator grille was added to the Continental and Versailles.
The success of the Continental Mark III influenced Ford to develop a successor. For 1972, the Continental Mark IV was introduced. While the Continental Mark IV would have increased commonality with the Ford Thunderbird (including its entire roofline), it distinguished itself by starting a new tradition for the division. In tandem with several fashion designers, Lincoln developed several special-edition packages; these featured unique color combinations and interior trim.
For 1977, the Continental Mark IV was given an extensive redesign (using the same chassis), becoming the Continental Mark V. In contrast to nameplates that were beginning to undergo downsizing, the Continental Mark V was 3 inches shorter than a Lincoln Continental Town Car, making it one of the largest coupes ever sold. In line with the Continental Mark IV, various designer editions were sold, alongside commemorative editions. Although sold for only three years, the Continental Mark V is the highest-selling version of the Mark series.
Developed as a response to the popularity of the 1975 Cadillac Seville, Lincoln introduced the Lincoln Versailles for the 1977 model year. Thirty inches shorter and 1500 pounds lighter than a Lincoln Continental, the Versailles was based on upon the Ford Granada/Mercury Monarch (as the Seville was based on the Chevrolet Nova). Outsold by the Seville by a significant margin, the Versailles was discontinued in early 1980.
With a smaller design and engineering budget than General Motors, Lincoln stylists were unable to give the Versailles the distinct body that was given to the Cadillac Seville. Adopting many features from the 1975-1976 Mercury Grand Monarch Ghia, the Lincoln Versailles was given a Continental-style "radiator" grille, quad rectangular headlights (the first Lincoln since 1969 with exposed headlights), and a Mark-style trunklid with simulated spare tire bulge. The Versailles introduced two notable features to American-market cars: halogen headlights and clearcoat paint.
1980–1998: Lincoln downsizes
After the fuel crisis of the mid-1970s, and the adoption of CAFE by the U.S. federal government, Lincoln was relatively ill-prepared for the 1980s. After the 1979 model year, Lincoln remained the sole American brand not to downsize its full-size sedans; the Lincoln Continental and Continental Mark V were the two longest mass-production vehicles sold in North America. In addition, the Lincoln product line was fast-aging in comparison to other luxury brands, with the Continental last redesigned in 1970, the Continental Mark V (based on the 1972 Continental Mark IV), and the Versailles (based on the 1975 Mercury Monarch).
In response, the Lincoln division made extensive updates to its model line to enter the 1980s. To match its competitors, the Lincoln Continental was downsized, joined by the Continental Mark VI, which shared much of its body. Shedding nearly 14 inches in length and nearly 1000 pounds of curb weight, the 1980 Continental marked the debut of the first fuel-injected V8 engine and overdrive automatic transmission used by Ford Motor Company.
Early in the 1980 model year, the slow-selling Versailles was discontinued; it was not redesigned alongside its Ford Granada counterpart.
For the 1981 model year, the Lincoln model line saw additional revisions. To minimize model confusion and allow for expansion, the Lincoln Continental nameplate was put on temporary hiatus, with the Lincoln Continental Town Car becoming the Lincoln Town Car. While the Continental Mark VI was allowed to live out its model cycle, the Continental was replaced by an all-new mid-size sedan for 1982. While not developed as a replacement for the Versailles, the 1982 Lincoln Continental became the second-generation Lincoln marketed as a competitor for the Cadillac Seville.
For 1984, the Continental Mark VI was replaced by the Continental Mark VII. Nearly a full yard shorter than the Continental Mark V of 1979, the Continental Mark VII took on a far different role from previous Marks; to include a greater degree of performance, the Continental Mark VII was benchmarked against large European coupes, sharing its powertrain with the Ford Mustang. In 1986, to eliminate confusion, "Continental" was dropped from the model name and it became simply the Lincoln Mark VII.
In the later 1980s, the aerodynamic design influence of the Mark VII would move across the Lincoln model line. For 1988, the Lincoln Continental saw an extensive redesign, becoming the first front-wheel drive Lincoln. Sharing its underpinnings with the Ford Taurus/Mercury Sable, the 1988 Continental was the first Lincoln since 1948 without an available V8 engine. After being produced since 1980 with only minor updates, the Lincoln Town Car saw its own major redesign for the 1990 model year. Alongside a far more aerodynamic exterior, the 1990 Town Car saw a redesigned interior; for 1991, the Lincoln Town Car marked the debut of the Ford Modular V8 engine, the first overhead-cam eight-cylinder used in an American car since the Duesenberg Model J.
As a division, Lincoln marked the debut of several safety features within Ford Motor Company (and also within the American luxury segment). Dual airbags became standard in the Continental in 1989 and the Town Car for 1990; ABS was standard on the Continental in 1988 and Town Car in 1992.
In 1993, the nine-year-old Mark VII was replaced by the Mark VIII. The Mark VIII again shared an all-new chassis with the Ford Thunderbird and Mercury Cougar; they were the only American-produced rear-wheel drive four-seat cars with independent rear suspension at the time. While carrying over the basic body profile from the Mark VII, the Mark VIII was radically streamlined, relegating the spare tire hump to vestigial status.
The styling of Mark VIII would carry on into the rest of the Lincoln lineup; it would inspire much of the design of the 1995 Continental. While the exterior remained nearly unchanged, the radical interior of the Mark VIII would have some influence on the 1995 redesign of the Town Car, as well as other Ford products.
While positively received, the personal-luxury coupe segment that the Mark VIII competed in was in decline, leading to its discontinuation after the 1998 model year. It is currently[when?] the last of the Mark series.
1998–2012: Premier Automotive Group, End of Lincoln-Mercury
During the 1990s, Lincoln had lost sales to Japanese and European competitors. In 1998, the Lincoln-Mercury division underwent a major change as it became part of Ford Motor Company's Premier Automotive Group; PAG was a division meant to oversee the collective operation of the global Ford luxury-vehicle brands. This allowed Lincoln to develop models alongside import car companies owned by Ford (Jaguar, Volvo, Aston Martin, Land Rover).
For 1998, the Town Car and Continental underwent major styling updates. Coinciding with the integration into PAG, the styling of the Town Car would bear a slight European influence in its design. For 2000, the products of the PAG alliance came to market as Lincoln introduced the LS. A mid-size sports sedan sharing a common chassis developed with Jaguar, the LS was unofficially the replacement for the Mark VIII.
In 2002, after 52 years of production, the Continental nameplate was retired. That same year, as Ford re-strategized the role of Premier Automotive Group, the Lincoln-Mercury Division was removed from PAG.
The Way Forward
In 2005, Ford developed The Way Forward restructuring plan. As part of the plan, the Wixom Assembly Plant, the assembly point of all Lincoln cars since 1957 (aside from the Versailles) was slated for closure. Consequently, the LS was discontinued after 2006. Town Car production joined that of the Ford Crown Victoria and Mercury Grand Marquis in St. Thomas, Ontario. In 2011, as part of the closure of that facility, the Town Car was discontinued.
Trucks and SUVs
For 1998, Lincoln introduced its first sport-utility vehicle, the Navigator. A restyled Ford Expedition, the Navigator was the first all-new Lincoln product line since the Versailles. The Navigator met with a positive reception in the market, leading to the introduction of the Cadillac Escalade. In 2003, the Aviator was introduced; based on the Ford Explorer, the Aviator was styled like a scaled-down version of the Navigator, and competed with the Mercury Mountaineer. However, its high price, and similar luxury content found in the Mountaineer, would lead to low sales.
In 2002, the Blackwood was introduced; based on the Ford F-150 SuperCrew with Lincoln Navigator front sheetmetal, the Blackwood wore a customized cargo box redesigned as a trunk. As the name suggested, Blackwoods were only painted black from the factory. Slow sales led to its cancellation after only one year in the US market. In 2005, the Mark LT replaced the Blackwood. While still fitted with luxury trim, the Mark LT had two things unavailable on the Blackwood: 4-wheel drive and a proper pickup bed. While more successful than its predecessor, the Mark LT was not included as part of the F-Series redesign for 2009 (in the United States); it continued to be sold in Mexico until 2014. There was no new model introduced for the 2015 F-150 redesign.
In 2006, Lincoln introduced an all-new mid-size sport-sedan, reviving the Zephyr nameplate. For 2007, as part of a minor revision, Lincoln changed the name to MKZ. Sharing the nomenclature with a 2004 concept car, MKZ ("emm-kay-zee") would begin a transition of the Lincoln model lineup. For example, the 2007 MKX crossover SUV had been shown in concept form as a future Lincoln Aviator; however, in production form, it was renamed and based upon the Ford Edge. The 2007 Lincoln MKR concept car debuted what would become a major styling feature of contemporary Lincolns: a split "bow-wave" grille, influenced in part by the original Lincoln-Zephyr; it marked the debut of the Ford EcoBoost V6.
In 2006, Lincoln introduced the MKS concept. Eventually going into production in 2008 for the 2009 model year, the MKS used the Ford D3 platform derived from Volvo P2 shared with the Ford Taurus. For 2010, the MKT was introduced; it is a full-size crossover SUV sharing a chassis with the Ford Flex. Although the MKT has no direct predecessor, Lincoln developed variants of it specialized for livery and limousine use; these have been badged as Lincoln MKT Town Cars.
2012–present: The Lincoln Motor Company
On December 3, 2012, Ford changed the name of the Lincoln division to The Lincoln Motor Company, after the cancellation of the Mercury Division. To help differentiate Lincoln-branded products from Ford-branded products, Ford established unique design, product development and sales teams for Lincoln. In addition to the name change, the Lincoln Motor Company was to introduce several all-new vehicles in the years to come. The first of these new vehicles was the second-generation MKZ, which went on sale in early 2013. Ford appointed Jim Farley to lead the Lincoln Motor Co.
In 2014, Lincoln staged a brand launch in China and brought medium-sized luxury sedan MKZ and small premium SUV MKC into China. The brand aimed to have a dealership network of 60 Lincoln Stores in 50 cities and introduce five models (MKZ, MKC, medium-large sized SUV MKX, full-size SUV Navigator and full-size sedan Continental) to China by the end of 2016. Lincoln plans to produce luxury SUVs in China by the end of 2019, and sales on imported vehicles jumped nearly 180% in 2016. To cater Chinese consumers, Lincoln also introduced "The Lincoln Way," a car purchase and ownership model which provides highly personalized services to customers. In North America, Lincoln is offering special versions of its products, under the "Black Label" program, with features and specially selected materials designed for each vehicle. Effective September, 1, 2014, Kumar Galhotra, Ford's former vice president of engineering was appointed as the president of Lincoln.
In the United States, Lincoln's sales have continued to rise. In 2014, Lincoln's US sales increased 16%, about twice that of the premium market average. This was followed by a 7% increase in 2015 and another 10% increase in 2016. The increases were partly because of the popularity of the all-new MKC crossover.
Lincoln achieved its two best U.S. sales years to date in 1989 (200,315) and 1990 (231,660), thanks largely to the popularity of the redesigned Continental, introduced in December 1987, and of the redesigned Town Car introduced in October 1989.
In 1927, Lincoln attached a greyhound as the hood ornament, then in the 1930s used a coat of arms with a red cross in the center and a knight's helmet at the top as the official emblem. The introduction of a coat of arms for Lincoln coincided with the introduction of a Ford coat of arms starting in the mid-1950s. The coat of arms appeared on various Lincoln models until the mid-1950s when the coat of arms evolved into the framed, four-pointed star that is currently in use.
In the 2007 model year, Lincoln introduced new alphanumeric nomenclature which lead to most models bearing a three-letter designation starting with "MK". Today, only the Navigator and recently re-introduced Continental have model names that don't use the "MK" nomenclature. Livery and limousine versions of the MKT use the Town Car name.
|Lincoln Navigator||Full-size SUV||(1998–present)|||
|Lincoln MKX||Mid-size crossover||(2007–present)|||
|Lincoln MKZ||Mid-size sedan||(2007–present)|||
|Lincoln MKT/MKT Town Car||Full-size crossover||(2010–present)|||
|Lincoln MKC||Compact crossover||(2015–present)|
|Lincoln Continental||Full-size sedan||(2017–present)|
Although a luxury division, Lincoln has not been absent from motorsports. Like all American brands of the fifties, Lincoln participated in the Grand National Stock Car series. They would continue into the eighties until the Winston Cup Series dwindled down into a Chevrolet-Pontiac-Ford affair in the nineties.
1939 "Sunshine Special"
1950 "Bubble Top" Cosmopolitan
1961 "SS-100-X" Continental
Perhaps the most famous Lincoln Presidential state car was a 1961 Lincoln Continental convertible, custom built by Hess & Eisenhardt of Cincinnati, and known as the SS-100-X, designed for use by John F. Kennedy. Designed to be an open-top car to give the President better visibility and a better ability to interact with citizens, it also included a "plexiglas" bubble top to be used in the event of inclement weather. The 1961 vehicle was notorious for its inadequate cooling of the rear of the passenger cabin while the bubble top was in place, particularly in sunshine. In order to prevent excessive heat and discomfort to the passengers, the top was often removed prior to parades. Kennedy notably used it when welcoming Ethiopian King Haile Selassie in several parades in DC and New York. (see image above) It was in the back of this car that Kennedy was assassinated.
Due to security concerns following Kennedy's assassination, it was temporarily removed from service. While it was once rumored[by whom?] that Kennedy's successor, Lyndon Johnson, had ordered it destroyed, it instead was retrofitted with armor plating and a fixed, permanent sedan roof. It reentered service and was used by Johnson and his successor, Richard Nixon. It was eventually retired in 1977 and is now on display at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. The Johnson Administration also used three 1965 Lincoln Continental Executive limousines: Two limousines for the President and one for Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, as well as a 1968 "stretch" Lincoln to be used in Washington, D.C., and Austin, Texas. This vehicle is on display at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum.
A state car based on a 1969 Lincoln was commissioned for Richard Nixon. Constructed by Lehman-Peterson of Chicago, this vehicle also had an added sunroof so that Nixon could stand upright when appearing before parade-goers if desired. This vehicle was equipped with several features, such as retractable hand grips and running boards, options later copied by Hess & Eisenhardt. This car is now located at the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, California.
The 1969 Continental would be replaced as the front-line state car in 1974 when Ford supplied a 1972 Continental model which was stretched to 22 feet (7 m), outfitted with armor plating and bullet-resistant glass and powered by a 460 cu in (7.5 L) V8 engine. While intended for Nixon, it was instead used by his successor, Gerald Ford, following Nixon's resignation. It was later used by Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, until it was replaced by a Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham in 1983.
Like the SS-100-X, this state vehicle has lasting notoriety due to its presence at two assassination attempts against Presidents; it was used for a quick getaway by Gerald Ford following Sara Jane Moore's assassination attempt against him in 1975, and most notably, at John Hinckley, Jr.'s assassination attempt against Ronald Reagan in 1981. It was the armor plating on the car that wounded Reagan, as no shot directly hit him; the near-fatal shot that struck him had originally hit the side of the car and ricocheted off the bulletproof armor. Reagan was quickly plunged into the car, which transported him to George Washington University hospital. Today, the car is on display at the Henry Ford Museum alongside the Sunshine Special and SS-100-X.
1989 Town Car
The last Lincoln to be used as a Presidential state car was a 1989 Lincoln Town Car commissioned for George H. W. Bush. To compensate for the thick armor plating and bulletproof glass, the height of the roof was raised several inches. To compensate for the added weight, the chassis was fitted with a 460 cu in (7.5 L) EFI V8 coupled to a E4OD 4-speed automatic transmission; the powertrain was sourced from a Ford F-250 three-quarter ton pickup.
Upon its retirement when Bush left office in 1993, the 1989 Town Car became the last Lincoln vehicle to be used in the Presidential fleet. Today it is on display at the George Bush Presidential Library. Subsequent Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and current President Donald Trump have used custom-built Cadillac vehicles as their state cars.
- Lincoln Motor Company Briefing Book (PDF). New York: Ford Motor Company. December 3, 2012. Archived (PDF) from the original on December 4, 2012. Retrieved December 3, 2012.
1917 August: After departing a management position at the Cadillac Division of General Motors, Henry Leland and his son Wilfred Leland form the Lincoln Motor Company, which produces aircraft engines to fill World War I government contracts.
- "Our Brands". Archived from the original on April 28, 2014. Retrieved April 29, 2014.
- Naughton, Keith (July 23, 2014). "Ford CEO Replaces Lincoln Head in First Personnel Moves". Bloomberg. Retrieved July 23, 2014.
- "Lincoln Opens First Stores in China and Unveils 'The Lincoln Way'" (Press release). Lincoln Motor Company.
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The company, introduced as The Lincoln Motor Company, unveiled its all-new MKZ midsize luxury sedan and a strategic plan to reinvent the premium automotive marketplace
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