Ford Authority

Lincoln Corsair, Aviator, Nautilus Names Are Part Of A Plan

The vast majority of the automotive industry has moved to jumbles of numbers and letters for vehicle names. Lincoln is bucking that trend and has been shifting its cars away from names that mean nothing, such as MKZ, and moving its entire line to vehicles with conventional names. It’s nearly alone in moving to convention names among its luxury car peers. Audi uses names like the A6, Jaguar uses XJ, and Volvo uses XC90, for instance.

Lincon says that a conventional name makes it easier to create an emotional attachment with a brand. Marketing director Michael Sprague told Free Press that every brand wants to make an emotional connection. Case in point is that the five-seat SUV, now known as the Nautilus, was previously called the MKX. Lincoln says that sales of the Nautilus are 20.6 percent ahead of the MKX. The very attractive redesign of the Nautilus certainly helped that too.

Options on why so many automakers use letter designations vary from things like letters and numbers, allowing the same names to be used globally to brands simply copying Mercedes and BMW. Lincoln is avoiding that; it notes that Chinese buyers embrace that Lincoln is an American luxury brand, and vehicle names in English are consistent with that.

Lincoln long used numerical names for its cars back to the 50s. However, it is leveraging names from the Ford catalog that had lain defunct. The newly launched 2020 Lincon Corsair is an example. Corsair was a name used on a small sedan in the ’60s and ’70s in Britain. Just having the name in the catalog doesn’t mean Lincoln will use it. Sprague said that as the designers create a vehicle, they are asked what inspired them, and then the names are developed from the list of inspirations.

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Source: Free Press

Shane is a car guy with a fondness for Mustangs and off-roading.

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  1. badly

    What? No mention that Corsair was a model name in the infamous Edsel lineup?

  2. Adithya Ramachandran

    I think they want to give an image of smooth sailing and handsome presence like the 70’s Continental Mark 3. Certainly makes me want a Lincoln once I have the money for one.

  3. John Q Public

    Another example of Lincoln not knowing what it is or wants to become. They had just switched to alphanumeric designations about 10 years ago because “that’s what BMW and Mercedes do”.

  4. George S

    I agree with the author, alfa-numeric naming has absolutely no recognition. I wish cadillac would do the same. Both changed over thinking they’ll steal customers from BMW and Mercedes but they are usually a different kind of buyer. Another was especially for Cadillac, they wanted the name Cadillac when describing a car instead of just saying “Eldorado” or “Deville”. For Lincoln it was for out with the old and in with the new image. Not sure if it worked?

  5. Martin Scott

    Alpha numeric does work but it requires time and money – look no further than BMW. You know exactly where each products stands in the line up based on high and low numeric values. It’s gone to shit now by the way. I prefer names, Lincoln has names, always had names, we don’t need to change that just because some silly marketing directory wants to leave his/her mark on history. I live in Toronto, about 25 years ago some marketing director at Canada post thought it a good idea to change the logo of Canada post – yes I mean the post office. That entity with absolutely no competition. A few billion later (still without competition) we have a new logo on every mail box, every truck, every shop, every everything. Tax dollars spent wisely i suppose.

  6. James2

    Other than “because the Europeans do it” is the fact that it’s hard to find a good word that already hasn’t been trademarked by someone else –or means something naughty in a different language. Alpha-numerics easily avoid both issues. Nevertheless, I am glad Lincoln is using real names once again.


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