California Autos Examiner

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Lincoln C Concept

Ford is committed to bringing a full slate of smaller vehicles to the USA. I mean, really committed. Some might say that Ford has over committed. We shall see how things all play out starting in 2010 when the first of the new vehicles start to arrive.

Now, let's talk about Lincoln. The brand has sputtered a bit, but as of late has shown some signs of life. Personally I don't think that Lincoln's brand focus is as well honed as Cadillac's, but Ford is ministering to its baby and hopefully the brand can gain some traction. At the 2009 NAIAS, Lincoln trotted out the production MKT and this little concept, called very appropriately the C Concept. Doesn't look like any Lincoln I've ever seen, how about you? Now this car is just for show, but I think it is absolutely guaranteed that we'll see a Lincoln of this size going forward. Now, will the production C-Segment Lincoln look like this? I have no idea. Should it look like this? That is a toughie!

For starters, I'll talk about what I do like about the C Concept. The grille. Oh, how I despise the grille on the new MKT. Overwrought, whale-like, find your own adjective. The C Concept's schnoz looks much more elegant, it fits the design of the car. There's no mistaking its a Lincoln, but it doesn't beat you over the head with it. I like the size of the car. I'd welcome more C-Segment luxury vehicles. It has a ton of tech as a concept and I'm sure that the production model would have a boatload of goodies for younger buyers to explore. I also like that this is a hatchback. The hatch certainly allows the buyer to make the best use of the space available. Speaking of space, the rear of the car isn't rounded off, so you get maximum cargo room--I like that as well.

Okay, now for the dislikes. I think that the overall design in too Renault-ish for my tastes. The starship like dash does not entice me. I don't like the wacky seats either. Overall, the concept seems like a distant vision of where Lincoln would like to be, many of the concept's features probably have no production intent--I don't like it when concept cars tease me.

Funnily enough, I was walking the halls on my last night when I saw the Concept C in the Chrysler display area. I was startled at first, kind of looking around to see if it was some sort of prank, but it turned out that the car was just placed there so that a TV crew could shoot it.

As I said before, I don't think that the Concept C is a prank being played on the public by the folks at Ford. Mulally and company are very focused (yes, I'm punny) on delivering smaller cars and the Lincoln brand will in on the strategy. Overall, I think it's a risk, but a good one. I also think that Ford's tech-heavy strategy is excellent and will pull in younger buyers. Can a small, luxury hatchback from Lincoln carve out a niche for itself? Time will tell, but this it is a much better bet than another Lincoln pickup!

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