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.


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  • 75 Comments
      victoracer
      • 2 Years Ago
      that's a big mustache.
      Randy
      • 2 Years Ago
      I am a big Ford and Lincoln fan and think this has promise but I still HATE the naming convention uses on the entire Lincoln lineup other than Navigator. I loath the names. MKZ MKS MKT and MKZYZ123. At least shorten them to MK300 and MK500 for cars and MX... For Mach Crossovers and suvs etc. For f sake just change it.
        Zach Marshall
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Randy
        I'd have to agree, BMW keeps it very simple with the numbering and the designation for SUVs. I know what series you're talking about and the performance/styling. Same with Mercedes class designations. But being that Lincoln is an underpeforming brand with lesser brand-following, the designations really don't mean anything to me because I haven't memorized the naming of each vehicle. /The only exception was the Lincoln Zephyr. I loved the name and I loved the vehicle even more. I know they changed the name the following year to something else... and to be honest, I couldn't tell you what that was.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Grant V
      • 2 Years Ago
      J Mays constantly disappoints me. Basically he is timid. Instead of finally giving Lincoln a confident look, the aimless meandering through design languages seems like it is going to continue on if he is involved. I remember him criticizing BMW for their new design language when it came out. He was wrong. I remember watching him tone down a concept car for an auto show a decade ago. He was wrong. Then there was the Ford Five Hundred. Boy was he wrong.
      roy
      • 2 Years Ago
      J Mays can do what ever he wish with the Lincoln grill as long as he and his friends are buying them,cause I wouldnt spend my money own anything in the company.The grill is the face of the model in the 80's and 90's it was more inline with Roll Royce grill, they should have stay with that look (rich and elegant) if Ford can pull off the Aston Martin on the Fusion whats Lincoln's problem? Other than not wanting to admit when there wrong about the grill or the name....
      mchlrus1
      • 2 Years Ago
      Odd gear shifter; like the fancy digital controls in my 84 Cavalier, they were very cool at first, but now they're a pain.
        mchlrus1
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mchlrus1
        I wonder what the cup holders look like when open... I'd have designed it with daily driving in mind. IMO
      MarkB
      • 2 Years Ago
      Why is everyone so intrigued by the boring looks of the BMW. I find every silver and grey BMW to be the most boring car out there. Like looking at a stainless steel refrigerator. No style. When a car company does something different there is so much criticism. I applaud Lincoln for trying to design a face that is different then all the Japanese and Korean brands. Now what they need to do is improve every year with further advancement and maybe someday we will see Lincoln make a comeback. BTW I drive an Acura regularly and test drove all the new Lincolns recently and was pleasantly surprised at how far they have come in the past 2 years. Hopefully they continue.
      dukeisduke
      • 2 Years Ago
      Good news. Now if BMW could add some design differentiation, so the 3, 5 and 7 don't look so much alike.
        Teko
        • 2 Years Ago
        @dukeisduke
        If it's not broke, don't fix it. IMO, the BMW grille is so simple and discrete that it works across the line up. Unlike this over the top grille Lincoln goes for, I'm still not a fan of it --- it just seems a bit forced. Maybe I'll change my mind one I see it in person, MAYBE.
      Deutschlieber
      • 2 Years Ago
      I like the overall design. It is daring but tasteful. Unlike others on here, I don't think that it smacks of brand engineering. No one will mistake this for a Fusion( or for anything else). The only thing that I DON'T like is the grille. Yes, it's bold and different, but it doesn't communicate anything. I am not sure where Lincoln did it's market research, but I think it should try a new face for Lincoln - perhaps turning the Lincoln logo on its side. That would be distinct, but not as overwrought as this split wing that no one seems to love.
      inthelv
      • 2 Years Ago
      Often you will see a family of people that obviously got their looks from the more unfortunate parent and their nice physiques from the other. They are all identifiable as being from the same family, yet some are more or less unfortunate looking than the others. That's all.
      Neil
      • 2 Years Ago
      i would like to see what this kind of design would look like if they brought back the mark series, but they would probably make it a front drive with a 4-cylinder or v6 which would be a slap in the face to the mark series!
      Carpinions
      • 2 Years Ago
      So the new styling language grille may not make it to all models eventually. Meaning the new language will not be applied consistently, and each model will look different, completely muddling any chance to define the brand. Good looking or not, not using the grille consistently is a dumb idea. This sounds like more future failure for Lincoln. My guess is in a couple days J Mays will try to walk this back and say it was taken out of context or something, and that everything will be fine. It must be a cultural thing at Lincoln. How else to explain what seems to be systemic inability to understand the luxury segment, and a consistently short-sighted reliance on rebranding Fords with slightly nicer sheetmetal and interiors. Even Acura's strategy of making a bunch of nice Accords in different sizes, and a couple timely crossovers, has proven more successful than anything Lincoln has done for years. Pretty soon, FoMoCo will just be Ford. My problem with the new styling is not the grille, actually. It's that the design has no signature, and that it does not appear to be a compelling car when compared to even Acuras at the same price point.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Carpinions
        [blocked]
          Drakkon
          • 2 Years Ago
          I think you too would have a point if Lincoln was an actual luxury brand. They are Fords will all the options.
          Carpinions
          • 2 Years Ago
          That may be the case, but Jag's cheapest vehicle is as expensive as Lincoln's dearest, so the sales difference isn't surprising. And Rolls and Bentley? 2-3k cars a year is not hard to outsell, even for Jaguar. Lincoln needs to be where even Acura is to be a player, not selling 8500 cars per year.
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