Lincoln showed off its new design center Thursday, the first dedicated studio for the luxury brand since the 1970s.

Company officials say the new studio will let designers focus just on the Lincoln brand – which is in the early stages of a badly needed rebirth – instead of splitting their time between Ford and Lincoln models.

In the new space, Lincoln designers can focus on one thing: Making the brand something customers want to buy again. "We're trying to bring the best talent in the company together in order to move this brand forward," says J Mays, head of Ford's global design.

The new Lincoln design studio is located inside Ford's existing Dearborn, Michigan product development center, where about 150 designers, sculptors, math sculptors (folks who can translate computer designs into clay), and modelers will work to bring future Lincoln designs to life.

The designers utilize computer-assisted design software to help translate sketches into clay models. The computer designs are then fed to a Tarus milling machine, which scrapes and drills clay models until they look like a real car. Then, clay modelers use traditional hand tools to perfect the pieces, which can be changed on a moment's notice.

Lincoln isn't saying how much the 40,000-square-foot space cost, but officials note the studio has been styled to look like a loft apartment, with open spaces designed to let artists and engineers pop in on each other and foster conversation. It was designed by a company named Imagination, but Lincoln's head designer, Max Wolff had a lot of influence in the space – particularly pushing the openness concept to make the cubicle areas seem like a newsroom.

The radically new 2013 Lincoln MKZ goes on sale later this year and the automaker is poised to show two new models in the coming months.

"Our ambition is not to be No. 1," said Jim Farley, head of global sales and marketing. "We'd rather have a few people love us than everybody like us."



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 75 Comments
      Doug Danzeisen Sr
      • 2 Years Ago
      Glad to see this, signals strongly that Mullaly is not ditching Lincoln. Now, here is my two cents- 1. Cadillac has abandoned the traditional luxury marketplace to try to capture Euro minded people. This creates a unique opportunity. 2. Look to see what you have done in the past to be successful, stylish cars with class- think 1960's Lincoln 4 door convertible and sedan, think 1955 Continental Mark II, look to the first Continental. Hell, look to the Mark III's and Iv of the late 60's and seventies. Latter day Mark VIII also. 3. 'While you look to the past for inspiration, the execution must be modern,, and meet federal fuel economy standards, as well as safety, etc. 4. Build a unique, American styled automobile that has space, pace, grace and class. It must have presence, moderate power and be something people really WANT. No make that Want enough to make it a NEED. In short an aspirational vehicle. Something Mitt Romney would drive, and Obama would crave. Something that just oozes class and wealth. 5. When you are ready, build the icon car- a modern four door Continental convertible with perhaps an Ecoboost hybrid powertrain to get acceptable mileage. You can do it, and there are a lot of well to do Docs, lawyers and such who would buy one. Make it large and in charge- the new regs give some leeway regarding footprint of a vehicle. Make a new sedan variant which would become the limo vehicle of choice. Either make it amenable to stretch by perhaps using a Body on frame architecture, or make the unibody amenable to stretch. In short you badly, make that very badly, need a flagship- In short, to suceed you need to swing for the fence, not be happy with a single or a bunt. 6.. Give the CAR a NAME and not an alphanumeric abomination. We in America like our cars to have names. Hell, most of out cars have nicknames. Have the balls to do it right and name it properly. 7. Look beyond focus groups, take it to the next level. Demographics matter and I know you want to capture young people. Think how damn awesome it would be to have a kid say- and mean it- that he wants a Lincoln, like what Grandpa has. But the car has to be beyond competent, it must inspire- and kids need to be able to appreciate it as well. Dangerous, risky path- but Lots of opportunity if done right. Bless ya all!
        roy
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Doug Danzeisen Sr
        Great ideal but No one at Lincoln is listening, they only want a few people to Love them, Not Everybody.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Doug Danzeisen Sr
        [blocked]
      Teleny411
      • 2 Years Ago
      What is that dude carving -wait is that more Waterfall? Why can't Lincoln get the message: that's an UGLY grill!!!! Seriously- it's not that hard/Lincoln has a cool name: Lincoln Continental A bad azze car that is RWD (w/ awd option) that out Mac daddy's a Bentley Conty, with a Supercharged v8. Imposing grill, aggressive stance and I don't mean a Taurus with some more do-dads! Seriously Ford it's not that hard!!!
      Big Squid
      • 2 Years Ago
      Nobody wants a Lincoln-branded Audi. No one wants a Lincoln-branded BMW. Nobody wants a Lincoln-branded Acura. What people haven't been able to buy for far too long is a legitimate LINCOLN.
      Corey
      • 2 Years Ago
      And their FIRST order of business should be ditching that terrible "wing" styled grill.
      Audidodee
      • 2 Years Ago
      If I could afford it, I'd buy a Lincoln in a heartbeat. However, it would be a 1960s era 4-door Continental convertible - the last Lincoln that actually had style and class.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        merlot066
        • 2 Years Ago
        I can understand your feeling on that issue, but complaining about taking the word "Continental" off the Mark VIII given Lincoln's current state is like having your house burn down while you're making dinner and only being upset because your chicken is burnt...
      AERO
      • 2 Years Ago
      I hate to say this in 2010 most of the Lincoln car looks fine. Now it just looks ugly. What happen??? They got bigger and fatter, bigger doesn't mean better. The front grille is getting way too big doesn't look refined at all.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Karl T
      • 2 Years Ago
      Improve the grilles and you might have some decent looking cars....
      Cruising
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hey Lincoln sounds easier than you might think, remember the Lincoln Mark VIII really cool V8 RWD coupe from the 90s and has developed a bit of a cult following even today people speak of this car. Make a modern day equivalent and make it lighter and faster and you can use the Ecoboost six cylinder if you wish, BAM, one hot model ready to go. Lincoln all you need to do is engineer one solid RWD platform that can house a coupe and sedan body styles on top of it, you can get at least two or three solid car models off of that. Ford can supply the engines, and you have a design language you just need to execute it properly, the Mark VIII clearly illustrated that design language same for many of your concept vehicles over the years.
        Randy
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Cruising
        Maybe the new IRS mustang platform extended in size for 4 doors would work. That works for me! :-)
      paratroopa07
      • 2 Years Ago
      Well there's your problem. You got nothing but old people who are completely out of touch with what the market wants designing your cars. Lincoln will forever be the car of the retiring baby boomer, unlike Caddy which has some fine looking products out.
      Dean
      • 2 Years Ago
      Jim Farley stated "We'd rather have a few people love us than everybody like us.". I don't think Lincoln has the luxury of being selective with their audience. They need every fan that they can get, regardless of whether they like, or love, Lincoln. While their designs look better than they used to be, they're still nothing to write home about. On a design note, somehow, I think the new MKZ would look (marginally better) with a waterfall grille design, rather than something that reminds you of the guy on a Pringles can.
        Randy
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Dean
        I think his point was to build an enthusiast base of consumers. That does work.
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