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Lincoln Naming – And Speaking Of Names, Don't Throw Out The Baby With The Bathwater

Lincoln has devised a new nomenclature system for all future models. The company that originally brought us Continental, Capri, Premier, Lido and Zephyr has decided to move to a new, apparently consultant savant-based, alphanumeric naming standard. So the just released new Lincolns like the Lincoln Mark LT luxury pickup and Lincoln Zephyr already violate the new strategy.
VehicleVoice correspondent and head of AutoPacific’s Industry Analysis operations weighs in with his opinion on Lincoln’s new naming scheme.Jim Hall
Lincoln Goes Alphanumeric Crazy – MKX, MKS
The first production vehicle to use the new methodology is the crossover successor to the unappreciated Aviator. It will be called the MKX. As in “em-kay-ecks.” Some folks are calling it the “Mark Ecks.” Which is right?
A new all-wheel-drive sedan near-flagship to debut late in 2007 will be called the MKS (em-kay-ess). As I’ve previously said, there’s no such thing as a bad name for a good vehicle as long as you stop short of calling a product the Monkey Pus V100.
Will the Zephyr Be Renamed MKZ?
The MKn theme will continue to be rolled out when the recently introduced Zephyr receives some major revisions for the 2008 model including a more powerful 3.5L engine, all-wheel-drive and significant sheetmetal changes up front. When this happens, you can expect the Zephyr nameplate to be once again filed away in the dead badge cabinet for another decade or two and the entry model to wear some manner of MK moniker (MKZ?) on its trunklid. With the Zephyr on sale for a scant two model years, the rebadging is unlikely to cause any significant hiccoughs beyond some incremental marketing costs to establish the car’s new handle.

Ohmigod! Navigator Becomes MKN?
That won’t be the case when the next Navigator appears. Currently Lincoln plans to rename the next generation of the vehicle that started the full-size Luxury SUV craze. It seems at though the company will chuck the Navigator nameplate into the dumpster of history in favor of the MKN moniker when the SUV debuts as a 2007 model. I’m sorry but this is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The Navigator established an entire segment in the market and has name recognition up the wazoo. It’s interesting to note that while Cadillac has moved most of its vehicles to a three-letter naming strategy (wonder if that’s where Lincoln got the idea?), it retained the widely recognized Escalade badge for its own large luxury SUV.
C’mon Lincoln, if you want to fiddle and mess with the vehicle, use the MKN as a prefix or suffix, like meebe Navigator MKN. Don’t pull a Grand Am-to-G6 fiasco and rebadge what is your second best known nameplate in what looks to be a knee-jerk reaction to what Caddy has been doing for the last few years.
Can Mustang be Next?
Next Ford’ll rename Mustang using the new Ford “F” naming scheme for its cars. Hmmmm. Firebrand, Flopsy, Firebird (oh, that’s taken – maybe), Fred, Foal, Friesian (an actual horse name). What about Fustang?


  • karxprt| February 14, 2006 at 3:14 pm

    Can’t believe that Lincoln management is so dense. What is an MKZ? After only a few months on the market, they rename the Zephyr with letters? Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.

  • Urquhart| February 4, 2006 at 12:36 pm

    Can you believe that Honda is suing Ford over the use of MKX nomenclature?
    They contend it’s too close to MDX. Har, har, har.
    Both of them are lame. But Ford should stick with Lincoln Aviator use the lawsuit as a reason to backtrack on its ill-thought-out new naming plan.

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