Ford confirmed what we’ve assumed for months: The tenth-generation Lincoln Continental ceases production at the end of this year. Except it will be available throughout 2021 in China, because the Chinese still love executive sedans more than we do. As Matthew McConaughey, Lincoln’s brand-reviving pitchman, once said, “Life is a series of commas, not periods.”
Which explains the Continental’s tumultuous existence, as its several rebirths over the decades were a mixed bag of successes and failures.
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Quality was awful. Interior fit and finish was laughable. A pillar interior trim pieces regularly fell off. Steering column covers fell off. Substandard execution all the way around. To top it all off, there were major cities in the US which had no dealer representation. Tough to sell Lincolns without having Lincoln dealers. When first introduced Lincoln's pricing strategy was flawed. A new Continental Black Label was eighty/ninety grand. When Ford management came out of the ether they repositioned the car and tried to breathe life in to the corpse with a new pricing strategy. Didn't work. Marketing was invisible and the poor Continental was nailed to showroom floors. The suicide door model was supposed to provide a halo for the model but failed miserably. To sum it up; Poor quality, lack of market representation and inferior marketing/advertising doomed the iconic Continental.
The 2017-2020 Continental was a mistake from it's inception. Everything that I had read about the "new' Continental was to be a MKS replacement - same size as the MKS and Taurus. I previously owned a 1999 Contiental with the DOHC 4.6 V8 and all the luxury and power I could have. Considering it was build on a stretched Taurus platform, there were enough "goodies" to justify the price difference - V8, longer wheelbase = more interior room, ride quality, Lincoln Luxury. I was chomping at the bit to drive the new Continental and when I did, what a letdown. I have a 13 Fusion, and the first thing I noticed was all the similarities between it and the Continental - especially the lack of interior space and comfort. This new vehicle was to be for my wife who has back problems and needs the extra room getting in and out from behind the wheel. As soon as she sat in the continental, her first comment was that it felt like my Fusion. We were going to trade our 2010 Taurus Limited, which had the size and comfort that I was hoping for in the Continental, for the "new" vehicle. We ended up with a Lincoln MKX Reserve AWD which we both are very satisfied with. But I sure wanted the Continental.
I wanted to like the new Continental, but the large FWD proportions just never stuck with me. The Volvo S90 looks similarly awkward to me FWIW. And then I got into a Genesis G90, which instantly struck me as the car that should've been the new Continental.
Speaking of luxury car bargains, you can get a lightly used MKZ with the 400 HP 3.0TT V6 for under $25K now. The knock on the MKZ when new was that it was "a Fusion with leather" but to the used buyer, that's a feature, not a bug.
The main problem with this segment has been it has lost its exclusivity.
Due to low volumes and cost the Lincoln and even the Cadillac cars have been too much Ford and Chevy Vs being Cadillac and Lincoln.
Mix that with an unfriendly sedan segment anymore and that kills the deal. This formula will still work on a SUV or CUV but not cars.
Discounted Luxury is going next to EV products at GM and it will be interesting to see if it works in setting Cadillac apart till the EV tech spreads.
Ford didn't want to take a chance on a luxury sedan, so they just gave up and surrendered sales to others. It's like HenryII was still running things. When I heard Ford was pulling out, I ran out and got a 3.0TT MKZ with the retractable "panoramic roof". Though it's a pricey option, as was the 400HP V6, one test drive told me the "Mexican Fancy Fusion" was a great car for the ~$50k, especially compared to the EU boxes. Even though I also have a 2-seater convertible, the best "investment" for me was the sliding sunroof, I can't believe how much I use it, and how good the air handling is on the highway. When it's time to trade it in, I guess I'll be out of Fords.
I was eager about the release of the Continental. I have a Mark III.
Alas, Ford doesn't seem to know how to capture to look of the classics they are mimicking. They add the technology but fail in styling. Just like the new to be Mach 1 Mustang which has performance but looks like the production mustang with a sticker to inform you what you bought.
The Company simply did not know how to market the car and educate its Dealers, nor support them. Modern Lincolns, to make things worse, don't connect with the market's perception of what a Lincoln should be. The Company's decision to build SUVs for a market not smart enough to buy old station wagons, which have three times the class and can do the same job SUvs to but better will do well, if the market ever comes back, for a few years and then fall on its face. Not everybody wants an SUV. I am a multiple Lincoln owner, including a few Continentals, and I had very few issues with any of them including air bags, digital dashboards and all the other potential nightmares. Why? Simple. I stay ahead of the curve like I do with all my cars. I have religion with oil changes and inspections. The cars (the Lincolns) see a local dealer once a year where there is a Lincoln specialist residing in its depths. The costs of my visits are low because we catch the problems before they get congenital,
and thus the cars are big pussycats. Two other things: Be sure to weld a gas station on to the gas filler neck if you own a 60s Lincoln or newer other than a
V-6, and this important suggestion: Wash your hands and wear a mask.
As a teenager, I always thought the early '60s Continentals were the coolest. The styling so good that even though the car was entering "classic" status, it still looked good. We now call it retro-modern. When I heard about a new Continental, I'd hoped that my dreams of having a classic-inspired Continental in a modern car would be met. Impressive features like 30-way power seats and disappearing door handles teased that promise. But the first letdown was when the car was not offered with the suicide doors. Those doors made a statement in the '60s and would have made a similar statement today. Even when they were offered, it was only on what were essentially a limited run of custom cars. Ultimately, I think the Continental's demise is that it wasn't a head-turner. People needed to say "wow!" when they looked at it, as they did in its heyday.
It was the styling that failed to capture the imagination and command attention. If they had really focused on making a sharp-suited, bigger than life, in your face no apologies modern version of the 1961, they would have had a hit on their hands. Instead they offered a lukewarm styling job that failed to excite and felt only like they were building up to something like the car I describe. And who wants to buy a "warm up" car?
The electronic doors have been a real problem on these Continentals. My company owns several of them. All have had to have the electronic door handles replaced. They routinely just lock and won’t open. We have had multiple entertainment system failures, power seat failures and cheap hardware to close the pass through to the trunk. The paint is also particularly susceptible to chipping. The car looks nice, but the build quality has been terrible. We stopped buying them.
Can't disagree more with the comments so far. I have a 2017 model with every feature that a black label has, sans the name and price premium. Fabulous car. Build quality? You must have had the bad luck to get a lemon. This car is as solid as a rock and the interior is gorgeous. Every person who's ever ridden in it has gone completely gaga over the beauty of the interior and the comfort. I got the 30-way adjustable seats (granted, a very expensive option) but they are hands down the most comfortable seats I've ever ridden in - an 8 hour trip and I feel fine afterwords (and I have chronic back pain.) I agree with the dealer problem - I live in Maine and we have ONE dealer in the state. Thank goodness for the concierge service with pickup and delivery for service (and by the way, in three years I have had completely trouble-free motoring. I hope I never need another car, because shopping for a look-alike SUV box is a depressing thought.
Rick (not Annie - no matter what I do this site thinks I'm my wife!)
Not sure why they don't just cut the back of the roof off a Navigator, give it a trunk. Lower it. Adjust the lower front fascia because of said lowering and call it a Continental. Don't even have to restyle the fenders, grill, door panels, etc.
Then you have no platform development costs, drivetrain options are the Navigator range of options. The platform is already posh and realized and you have no bad public-relations of repurposing a "lesser" vehicle to do it.
The bits that lower your Continental could have aftermarket life too all the people that want to aggressively lower their Navigators with factory parts. Plus it would be an actual big car in all the ways the buying public in North America wants big (but can't get so they buy trucks and SUV).
Hopefully, we can agree to disagree. Myself, I totally don't understand why people are insisting a Lincoln needs to be rear wheel drive. Why would lack of worse winter traction and a driveshaft hump be a deal-breaker? How many Lincoln buyers have track days in mind when deciding to buy? Some of us live where it snows and has freezing rain, a front or AWD Lincoln could look good or bad, but that's because of the designers, not because it's only possible to do a classy-looking front or all wheel drive luxury sedan. That new RR looks like it has a Lincoln grille, how hard can it be? 😉
I was so excited when this new model came out - what a looker! A nice styling exercise that looked to the past. Alas, we need an SUV and when the Corsair came out, WOW, that was it! And my wife and I were so excited to drive one and we had picked out colour, trim, etc. Then after the poor experience (the dealer has a 'Lincoln Showroom' delineated by a change in flooring, but the t-shirt/jeans Ford sales people are the same) of the test drive (car had no gas and they knew we were coming), the adherence to a short test drive even after we were told we could take it overnight as part of the Lincoln prestige test drive option, and the unbelievably disappointing test drive 'once over' by the sales person (we had to open the manual to find out how to move the seat), then the noise! What Lincoln could be this noisy on the road! My company car Escape we drove over was quieter when we got back in. Huge disappointment. Sad really.
When I saw this blandmobile inside a glass cube at the LA Auto Show upon introduction, my first exclamation was “meh”.
Ford could have perhaps soldiered on with the Panther platform rear wheel drive- given a clever restyle, and owned the livery and (with a Crown Vic) police vehicle market.
Why do you show images of the uber-cool, limited edition, $120k suicide door edition when 99.999% of these cars have standard doors? How many of those did they make and sell? 80? Oh. It was to draw people to the article? Worked.