• Jul 24, 2006
Will a Lincoln by any other name sell as sweetly?


The Zephyr/MKZ has racked up a good number of sales for Lincoln despite the brand's best efforts to confuse buyers over its name. Originally dubbed the Zephyr for its inaugural year of sales, Lincoln decided to quickly change the car's moniker to MKZ, pronounced "Mark Z," so that it would better jive with upcoming models like the MKX luxury crossover utility vehicle. After an earful of complaints from dealers, however, Lincoln's entry-level luxury sedan will henceforth be known as the (drum roll, please...) MKZ, pronounced "em-kay-zee." Funny, that's how we've been pronouncing "em-kay-zee" this whole time. Talk about a solution looking for a problem... sheesh.

[Source: The Detroit News]


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  • 41 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      "Tell someone you have a Zephyr and they most likely will know that is a Lincoln."

      THE VERY first thing I think about is that shitty Mercury based on the Ford Fairmont.

      I think the name change is cool, it brings Lincoln into the 2000's and aligns them with the Euro/Asian luxury car names.

      MKZ-Much, much better than some shitty 80's Mercury.

      MKZ sounds sharp, Zephyr, looks retarded on the back of a car and MKZ looks cooler, no doubt.
      • 8 Years Ago
      If the Zephyr/MKZ is indeed generating "a good number of sales for Lincoln," I'd like to know who in their right mind is buying it. I see very few on the road (and believe me, I'd know one by the strange taillights). I recently drove a Zephyr back to back with a Toyota Solara, and I can honestly say that the Zephyr was a rough ride compared to the Solara, which was quieter, more responsive and more refined in every way. Now that may not surprise most of you, except that the Solara in question was my own, a 2000 model with nearly 140,000 miles on the odometer. Lincoln has a LONG way to go before they'll sell a discriminating luxury car buyer on this particular model.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Why couldn't they have changed it the other way?

      "Mark S," "Mark X," and "Mark Z" are the best of both worlds - they sound unique compared to other alphanumeric names, but they still put the focus on the "Lincoln" brand. Heck, they already have the Mark LT!

      Why Lincoln insisted on shortening "Mark Z" to "MKZ" (and now, renaming it to "Emm-Kay-Zee") is beyond me.

      Face it - you're not going to get your beloved "Zephyr" (and, um..."Town Car") back. But since Lincoln seems set on an alphanumeric scheme (which isn't evil in and of itself), why can't they choose a good alphanumeric scheme?

      "Mark S" for the sedan.
      "Mark X" for the crossover.
      "Mark LT" for the luxury truck
      "Mark Z" for the smaller, progressive sedan targeting younger buyers.

      They all make perfect sense - except "Mark Z," which is okay, because the target market of the "Mark Z" would want something beyond the Lincoln status quo anyway.

      I'm just glad I'm not emotionally attached to Ford, so that when they do stupid things, it doesn't bother me.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I told my folks, who leased a Zephyr in the spring, they are changing the name, and they couldn't understand it.

      His response: But they just came out with it-it's new-why would they change it?

      At 77 years old, I think his wisdom comes right through!
      • 8 Years Ago
      #31 is missing the point that Typesbad made - and it is a valid one. The reason manufacturers are moving toward alphanumeric model designators is that it draws attention to the marque, not the model. EXACTLY Acura's stated reason. People used to say "I drive a Legend". It did not matter who made a Legend or that Acura had other models. Now it is more likely to be "I drive an Acura. Oh yeah, which one? Well, it is a TL which is the middle sedan in the Acura family...blah blah blah". You are more likely to say "Let's take the SAAB" than "Let's take the 9-5 Aero". It is an attempt to draw attention to Lincoln as a brand vs. individual models.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Alphanumeric-named cars (that haven't always been named that way) have no soul. As far as I'm concerned, BMW can keep doing it, and Mazda can keep it's Rx models. Everybody else needs to quit cold turkey. Alphanumeric naming reeks of cop-out marketing and pretentiousness.

      Like Michael said, even Mercedes' naming system has been getting incomprehensible.
      • 8 Years Ago
      What's wrong with calling it the "Lincoln6"?
      • 8 Years Ago
      They'll all end up with names again in a few years. Alphanumerics only work if there are just a handful of models and you've been doing it forever--i.e. BMW and Mercedes. And I suspect even Mercedes customers are becoming confused, that line has gotten so large.

      At some point one of these brands will get a lot of attention for launching its first car in recent years with a real name, then most of the others will follow.
      • 8 Years Ago
      stupid me, i've been calling it the M-K-zed.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Ford used the name "Zephyr" on the mercury version of the Fairmont in the late 70's. That destroyed the name for me.
      gkz
      • 8 Years Ago
      So the exectutives running lincoln figure that as soon as they get a decent car that sells well (too bad the ls sold about 2 units per month), they start screwing with the name. Is there a single person at fomoco that has EVER taken an entry level marketing class? This is laughable in its indescribable stupidity.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I think they should call it the MARK STUPID.
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