Aviator Could End Lincoln’s Confusing Naming Scheme
The rumormill is buzzing with speculation that Lincoln may finally abandon its MK-based naming scheme in favor of actual names – and that it might start with the rebirth of the Lincoln Aviator. A twin to the Ford Explorer, the Aviator would serve as an SUV between the Navigator (Lincoln’s only current vehicle with a memorable name) and the MKX, Lincoln’s version of the Ford Edge.
The news comes from The Truth About Cars, whose second-hand source says Ford is currently working on a project that’s internally codenamed “Aviator.” What’s more, the source says Ford has no plans for a second-generation Ford Flex and will end production of the hearse-like MKT crossover.
Though it’s only a rumor from a far-removed source, the news does nicely correspond to Ford’s recent refilling of the Aviator name with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Of course, trademark filings are never a sure bet when it comes to future vehicle names, though they can certainly act as the canary in the coal mine.
Lincoln’s much needed and highly anticipated reformation was alluded to with its recent 2017 Continental Concept car shown at the 2015 New York Auto Show. TTAC says Ford’s President of the Americas, Joe Hinrichs, said he was “very excited about the Continental name and the attention its’ gotten.” While the majority of that attention can be attributed to the concept car itself, many in the auto industry celebrated the return of a classic Lincoln model name.
We can only hope Lincoln’s future plans includes a return to recognizable names with history and a positive reputation.
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Why it matters
Lincoln’s current naming scheme brands five of its six vehicles with the letters MK followed by C, Z, S, X, or T. The Navigator is the sole vehicle in the lineup that doesn’t suffer from the confusing naming system. To be completely honest, without referencing Lincoln’s website, I couldn’t tell you which MK name went with what vehicle – and I’m a full-time auto writer. I can’t imagine the dismay experienced by the average car-buyer when walking into a Lincoln showroom.
Beyond Lincoln adopting a new naming system, the return of the Aviator marks a big step for Lincoln. SUVs and crossovers are selling better than ever before these days – and even more so in the luxury market. Dumping the MKT (one step down from the Navigator) in favor of an upmarket Explorer should help the brand capture some of that market. Then again, the best recipe for Lincoln’s success includes brand-exclusive models not shared by Ford. Cadillac is a shining example of how this can be done.