2013 Lincoln MKZ - dead-on front view live at New York Auto Show reveal

Ford design chief J Mays tells Automotive News that the controversial grille design that debuted on the 2013 Lincoln MKZ at the New York Auto Show won't necessarily be pasted onto the front of every Lincoln model. Mays means something quite specific, though: the perimeter of the grille and headlight form will remain, but the "grille texture" – the horizontal lines on the MKZ – could be reworked on other models.

Says Mays, the split-wing outline "is what makes a Lincoln." But with Lincoln commencing "a pretty long year journey," his comments to AN give his design team latitude while the brand seeks its new, younger consumers instead of being "trapped" into one grille style.

It's an interesting position to take – allowing the possibility of different faces – when the brand only has four models (we're not including the aging stepchild Navigator in this discussion) and is devoted to rebranding itself and making an impression among groups who haven't paid attention to it in some time – if ever. Of course, Mays isn't saying that other models won't have the MKZ grille, but we look forward to seeing how this plays out.