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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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.
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.
Not surprised by the quality snafus, but I really agree with your mention of Lincoln's weak dealer network. The post-Mercury world for Lincoln dealers has gotta be tough.
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).
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!)
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 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.
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?