Ford Authority

Lincoln Zephyr Developed Primarily For Gen Z Luxury Shoppers In China

Back in April of 2021, the stunning Lincoln Zephyr Reflection Concept was revealed at the Shanghai Auto Show in China, and a few months later, the production version of the Zephyr debuted looking pretty much exactly the same. The luxury brand was clear from the start that this sedan was designed with Gen Z customers in mind, which wasn’t a surprising development given the fact that Lincoln’s customers in both the U.S. and China are getting younger. Lincoln’s sales in China have exploded in recent months after faltering for years, even surpassing its U.S. sales for the first time ever in 2021. As it turns out, however, Lincoln brass still had to be convinced that designing a sedan for the Chinese market was a wise move.

When Bruce Yang, Lincoln’s Director of China EV Program became the CPE of the Lincoln Zephyr in 2019, the brand was still doing market research on what that model should look like. It was Sabrina Shao from the Advanced Market Strategy team that pushed for the Zephyr to be a sedan, as her market research told her that young Chinese customers wanted a stylish sedan, something like their parents had when they were growing up – not a crossover or SUV, which are typically viewed as family vehicles.

However, not everyone agreed with Shao, and she faced quite a bit of resistance from those within Lincoln’s Chinese operations that believed a crossover could do everything a sedan could. She wound up convincing Lincoln brass by asking them one simple question – “When you drink red wine, why do you need a set of glasses in different shapes?”

One person that was on board with Shao’s insistence to make the new Lincoln Zephyr a sedan was Yang, a young man himself who was under quite a bit of pressure spearheading the very first Lincoln vehicle designed and built specifically for the Chinese market. “We are at the same age, have the same lifestyle. I like sports, I like sedans,” he said. “I even accompanied my family to see a number of other models, which are Lincoln Zephyr competitors. Designing a car for yourself is the best way to be a CPE, isn’t it?”

We’ll have more on the Zephyr soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for more Lincoln newsLincoln Zephyr news, and continuous Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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  1. Alan

    I bought many MKZ hybrids until Lincoln decided to discontinue production here in USA. As a result, I discontinued buying Lincoln and bought a competitor hybrid sedan. Single retired gent here who don’t like climbing up to driver seat. Plus sedan trunk more private & secure without high lifting. Also sedan hybrid much more fuel efficient than boxy SUV hybrids.


    I’m sure the anti-sedan forces at Ford will do everything in their power to have this sedan discontinued as soon as possible.

  3. The Dorkmaster

    Thank God that some countries still believe in sedans! Ford has destroyed the auto market here in USA as well as GM. It’s only a matter of time that Chrysler will follow! I’ll never buy an American vehicle again! I’m 74 years old and single, what the hell am I going to do with a truck?

  4. TomH8

    Zephyr should be built here and as a full line of sedans, coupes, convertibles and wagon. Ford will never give up the Mustang. Take the S650 with a longer wheelbase and build a proper Lincoln LS8 again. Offer in sedan, coupe and convertible plus a sport wagon. I’m sure the new LS could then have even a longer wheelbase to make a proper Continental line of vehicles. But noooooo, Ford would rather give us Broncos, F150’s and Mustangs and nothing exciting or stimulating for Lincoln. Quiet Luxury means we can’t make Lincoln better than a Ford in any way.

  5. Roger Emery

    Agree with most, why discontinue a GREAT seller like the Ford Fusion?? I had purchased three of them myself, was looking forward to my Fourth…
    Sedans, four doors, and private trunk, all reason s to purchase..But no Ford don’t think so, my father worked for Ford fir nearly 40 years, probably rolled over in his grave!!!!
    Think I’m buying a Kia !!!!

  6. MarkV

    We need this car in the USA like yesterday in a full line. This is the car that gets new younger buyers into the Lincoln Brand. Forget quiet luxury, go for the gold and give us what we want instead of what we don’t want. Anybody know how many customers Ford/Lincoln lost to the competition because of not having sedans? This would make a great project for JD Power or some other.

  7. Robert Osmundsen

    I like Automobiles not Pickups or SUVs. I have owned 4 Towncars 5 Continentals an AKZ (which I did not like) and a MKS which is the best Lincoln I ever owned. I am glad that the Chinese have enough sense to like passenger cars and believe they would sell in the U.S. I have seen recently that Ford is in financial trouble and now I see why!

  8. MarkV

    The 1961 Lincoln Continental was a success. Why? Ford designed a Thunderbird in the Lincoln Continental tradition then turned the vehicle into a Lincoln. Fast forward to today. Why can’t Ford design a new Thunderbird the same way then turn it into a Lincoln?? If suv/cuv are what the majority want, then why not do this concept based on a cuv? Maybe the outcome will be something we might really want this time. Plus, the vehicle will be more distinctive and look like nothing else on the road. (Don’t forget the coach doors) Style sells. Design an SUV/CUV that we actually want and has the same passion, romance and drama of a sedan/coupe/ convertible etc. Bring back the “personal coupe mystique” in a new innovative way. (BTW, the Star Concept while a nice fancy Aviator, doesn’t hit the WOW factor)

  9. Ronnie Ratchford

    I also like the sedan, and don’t care for the suv look. Leave the MKZ alone, lve had four of them, and love them all!

  10. Mojo

    This is detestable. My beloved Lincoln sedans are only sold in China, and Ford thinks I and many others will buy a bubble on wheels!
    I want a car. With a trunk. Plush seats, a real armrest in the middle, and some horsepower. How hard is that?

  11. JamesB

    Lincoln is doomed in America. Nobody wants the current garbage that is available. Any day now we will hear news of the end of Lincoln to make room for more Mustangs and Broncos that we don’t want either. Thanks Ford. My business goes elsewhere. At least there’s always Cadillac. Funny how the American luxury market in America started with so many Brands in the 1920’s and soon to be down to one, Cadillac.

  12. MarkV

    We can only hope China gets a new Continental to compete with the new revised 2024 Cadillac CT6.

  13. TomJ

    China will most likely get a new Mark9 off a revised Continental as well. I miss what a Lincoln Was 40-50 years ago.

  14. Connie

    Lincoln gained sales in the 1970’s because they grew the Continental name into several models. Sedan, coupe, town car, town coupe, limousines, Mark’s IV and V. (even custom convertibles) The Continentals were advertised as the final step up. That needs to happen again. This time grow both the Zephyr and Continental the same way offering several models. Fold Corsair and Nautilus into Zephyr and Aviator and Navigator into Continental. Navigator has never been a big seller and will never overtake Escalade. Continental does have better branding and recognition. Throw in an LS series (sedan and coupe) and Mark9 in coupe, convertible and wagon. (I know the wagon is there to pacify the suv people)
    Finally, offer a halo like Celestiq to draw in the customers who will end up buying one of the other models because the image is associated with the halo models.


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