“Designers are the rock stars of this industry.” That was one of the very first things I was told by an industry veteran when I was just starting out. For a long time, Lincoln was lacking those rock stars.
For the younger generations, it’s easy to forget that Lincoln was once once of the most luxurious automakers in the world—and that’s the problem. Somewhere along the way, things got distorted; the designs became uninspired and uniqueness was wholly lost. The Lincoln Town Car was an exceptional fleet and livery car, and the Lincoln Navigator had a brief period of notoriety. But for years, the automaker was sticking Lincoln badges on bedazzled Ford cars, at a time when Ford was working through its own issues. So news of a unique Lincoln design studio—as the automaker is in the throes of planning its reinvention—is a welcome step in the right direction.
About 150 designers who work exclusively for Lincoln will be housed in the studio. The automaker wanted new product development to be more cohesive and for engineers and designers will in close conjunction with another. Also new for Lincoln, the exterior and interior designers will work side by side in hopes of creating more harmonious vehicles.
Jim Farley, group vice president of global marketing and sales and service, said “Lincoln’s renaissance is built on our new product lineup and is a personalized experience with designs that deliver on our promise of a personalized motor car. Beautiful, elegant, and most of all, surprising.” The first vehicle to emerge during the automaker’s reinvention will be the Lincoln MKZ, on sale later this year.
With Lincoln losing market share in the midst of newer, more dynamic competitors, will the design renaissance help? We’ll soon find out.