Friday, June 19, 2009

The Crisp, Edgy Lincoln Navicross Concept

When two of your three brands are damaged, concern for your company’s long term viability is warranted. Though the Ford brand itself has taken its lumps, Ford’s truck line up and a new fleet of cars has made Ford desirable again. Were that true for the company’s Mercury and Lincoln brands.

Mercury, in particular, has little reason for continuance for one simple reason: not a single model is anything but a rebadged Ford. Unfortunately, the same can be said for Lincoln as the Navigator, MKZ, and MKS are copies of Ford models. But in the case of Lincoln, at least Ford took some care to lux out these “near luxury” models.

The tide for Ford appears to be turning thanks to the sell of of three premium brands: Aston Martin, Jaguar, and LandRover. Jaguar, in particular, represented a financial black hole as FoMoCo poured billions of dollars into the brand while neglecting Mercury and Lincoln.

Though Mercury is still without solid evidence that it should survive for the long term, Lincoln is finally making a case for its survival. Indeed, sales are up and with the all-new MKS making its debut in Summer 2008, Lincoln may finally have a model worthy enough to take on Cadillac.

The concept Navicross made its debut at the 2003 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) and helped usher in the 2006 MKS concept which also was first unveiled in Detroit.

You may not like the looks of the Navicross or wonder how the vehicle will fit in with Ford’s plans for Lincoln, but rest assured that this vehicle or something like it will probably come to fruition. Now that Ford management has its sense back and has tossed its three money losing premium brands, attention can be given to back Lincoln.

Note the rear hinge for the rear doors — this vehicle evokes the “suicide door” theme of the mid-1960s era Continental. The truck compartment is interesting, somewhat like a hatch with a rear seat that folds flat.

The interior colors are a bit over the top for my tastes, but the center stack is clean looking — do you see the console area for the front passenger? This trend I believe will explode over the next few years as full-fledged entertainment and internet systems become standard on most vehicles.

Kudos for the Lincoln design team for creating the Navicross, a crossover sedan of sorts. Lincoln needs new and fresh material to attract buyers and the Navicross could be the right step in that direction.