Oh No, Not Again

Everyone else is doing it so why can’t we? That was the plaintive question asked by Irish folk-rock-pop balladeers the Cranberries in 1993.

2016 Cadillac CT6: caranddriver.com
2016 Cadillac CT6: caranddriver.com

The Cranberry question applies to Ford’s Lincoln division who must be squirming in their corporate seats. The Genesis G90 saloon will be sold with a V8 as we well know and it looks the part. The other day Car & Driver revealed more details of the V8 Cadillac will be fitting to their CT6 which also looks the part. Considering that Genesis is a newish entrant in the upscale V8 market and that Cadillac is selling fewer cars than they were a decade ago (and so short of cash), Ford’s unwillingness to invest in a proper engine and a proper platform for their top-top-toppiest saloon is not an easy thing to explain away.

It’s not as if they are the only company who have to make vast efforts to get a luxury car onto the market. What I am saying is that Ford can’t claim to be relatively worse off than Cadillac or Genesis. The US car market is doing very well indeed and looks set to carry on doing so for a while yet (clouds are on the horizon). What’s Ford’s excuse?

2017 Lincoln Continental sidePut in the context of the existing V8 luxury cars from the established marques and the new V8s from Cadillac and Genesis, the decision of Lincoln/Ford to offer what is essentially a smartly trimmed Fusion is mistaken. As I showed in the images last week, the Continental is visually flawed. It also lacks that which others are offering as a standard or as an option.

I am reasonably confident that nice a car as the Lincoln might be to sit in and drive, it will not be among the most successful of its kind. Most likely it’s another item to add to the list of failed luxury cars.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

32 thoughts on “Oh No, Not Again”

  1. I’ve never been a huge fan of Cadillac’s angular styling but that new CT6 does finally look the part. More outside than in alas. Inside it’s a bit mundane albeit luxurious in the American way. it also sports what I think is the world’s first full camera rear view production mirror inside. (Nissan did the concept first but have not made a production version) Something I can’t wait to have on all cars, so you do not see any rear passengers, roof and pillars in your mirror. Just road!

    But that Lincoln. I agree. It’s destined to be a flop looking like that with the lowly FWD chassis and engines it is saddled with. Not to mention the associated FWD proportions you already mentioned.

    1. Agreed. Genesis and Cadillac will give people very good reasons not to bother with the Lincoln. Neither the Caddy nor the Genesis are perfect but taking off the fussy design hat, they both are very credible cars.The CT6 got a rave review from Car & Driver. I find the interior inoffensive and that´s quite alright. GM have gone to the trouble of developing a RWD platform and a V8 so it seems they are not unserious about fielding a better product. C&D called the Caddy seats the most comfortable Caddilac have ever done. I understand Cadillac are quite good at this. The Lincoln is another Ford 500 flop, it would appear.

  2. We’ve been discussing the logical design of the W140 S Class. Equally logically, you could contend that the only part of a luxury car that needs to be big is the passenger area. Length in itself is not a virtue, just a hindrance to easy parking in an overcrowded world. So, if you can secure smooth performance and road behaviour using a shortarsed FWD layout, then why not? So maybe the Lincoln is the profile of the luxury saloon of tomorrow – to me the driver’s area looks a bit more airy than the CT6’s. But, of course, there’s little logical about the car industry.

    1. Your observation might be right for sub-luxury saloons, and it’s a thing I favour very much. The last Superb did very well in this area. But I doubt that you will win the real luxury customers over with that concept. Conservative proportions are still de rigueur in this segment, it seems to me.
      Now the luxury saloon of the future, this might be another story, with the electrical drives and driverless concepts they’re promising us. But this takes time. Today (and also tomorrow) even Tesla opts vor very classical proportions.

    2. It´s not logical to design something the customer can´t understand. And further, I think the Lincoln´s form is expedient. I have more time for Renault´s and Opel´s oddballs where the car looked a bit ususual but it had a clearer rationale. Lincoln can talk this car up from lots of angles yet they won´t get away with the fact its a Ford Fusion underneath (or some other Ford saloon). It´d be nice if the limousine market had more imagination and even if they did, draping limousine cues over a cheaper car with a conventional architecture would still not go over. Renault´s Vel Satis made loads of sense in that they didn´t try to wrap innovation with conformity. They failed but it was a respectable failure.

    3. I’m not sure if it’s about understanding. Certainly a customer will understand that a large central section and an upright back will give him more and better usable space. But thinking about his image and a wish for sportiness comes in way of this understanding. Maybe also a reluctance to play the oddball.

      Now for draping wannabe luxury over simple underpinnings, I’m completely with you. I think more people notice than the car makers want to believe.

    4. No. I agree that the Lincoln is unlikely to succeed. But I’m just pointing out that, although they are wrong for today’s market, in 15 years time the Lincoln’s profile will probably look less dated than the Cadillac’s.

    5. It´s not easy for me to agree with you about the Lincoln. The Genesis and Cadillac have classic profiles. The Lincoln´s is too odd. You can´t go wrong with a long hood and glasshouse set back in relation to the front wheels.

    1. A very credible suggestion of where Citroen’s old design language would have led, had Peugeot not cut its tongue out. Even now, Linda Jackson must be hammering on Jean-Louis Bui’s door. Or not.

    2. I still could do without oversized wheels and fake air vents, but yes, I’d buy such a C6 successor.

    3. That looks fabulous. I have often pondered where Citroen’s long established design language might have taken them. This is a fantastic answer. Is this not saleable?

    1. True, there are a lot of attempts for a modern DS interpretation floating around the ‘net, and I’d easily rate this one among the top two or three most convincing ones.

    2. Yes, the wheels are generic food processor, the big scoopy vents eat up space but wouldn’t do much and the front view is disappointingly bland and, of course, the rear seat experience would be as dire as so many modern cars, but it still has a distinctiveness to it that Citroen and DS haven’t managed in any of their concepts.

  3. Audi has done pretty well selling FWD/AWD cars with the wrong proportions spun off a volume brand platform. Hopefully Ford and the Lincoln dealers have put the money saved from RWD platform engineering into a nice sales and service experience and not poured it all into having Matthew McConaughey appear in the advertising.

    1. . What is an important difference is that Audis have always looked good, even with FWD proportions and apart from the 50, they have not glaringly looked as expedient as Lincolns have done and as this one does.

    2. I think the difference with large Audis is that their insistence on longitudinal engines means that they get a long and imposing bonnet, just that the wheels are in the wrong place.

      I try to think myself into the position of a typical punter. If I liked comfort and ambiance, but wasn’t too concerned about other’s opinions regarding the length of my …. bonnet aka hood, then I still contend that the Lincoln would make sense.

      Personally, of course, there’d be no doubt. The Lincoln says ‘I’m Sensible’. The Cadillac says ‘Hoon Me’.

    3. Sensible? Nah it says to me “tarted up Camry class” I’m sorry. Whereas the Caddy says “No small runt looks like me”. Nope money will naturally gravitate towards the RWD proportions that clearly says I don’t drive something the masses do.

    4. Johann. If I was ambiguous, speaking personally I meant ‘Sensible?’, no thanks. ‘Hoon Me?’, yes please. I guess the VW Phaeton shows what happens if you apply too much logic to this segment.

    5. Audis have always looked good? Serve me a measure of what he’s drinking, actually make it a double.

    6. It´s Lustau Almacenista amontillado.
      Audi have nearly always had a close correspondence between the form and the manufacturing process and the material, just as Benz once did. The list of good-looking Audis is much longer than the list of questionable ones. If I might be so bold as to say that while Lincoln have their good attributes, design quality is seldom one of them. I personally enjoy some of the things Lincoln have produced. Wearing my objective hat, I could not endorse so very many of them.
      Do try the sherry. It´s excellent. Simon Kearne recommmended it.

    7. While the design quality of Audi, especially in the details, shall remain unquestioned, I’ve never liked their proportions. For a long time, they had two long overhangs and ridiculously short wheelbases. The most prominent example of this is the Audi 100 C3 and its derivatives. Then, about eight years ago, they decided to move the front axle forward – now they look better in a conservative sense, but actually convey an RWD message that isn’t founded in the actual layout.

      I should probably try that sherry, too. Maybe I can find a bottle of it in the nearby town of Lustenau.

    8. “about eight years ago, they decided to move the front axle forward – now they look better in a conservative sense, but actually convey an RWD message”

      I remember reading elsewhere that it’s actually the engine that sits further back… 😉

      Either way, considerations of visual appeal were likely secondary. And the C3 had a charm of its own, particularly in 200 trim

  4. From what I read in the American car discussion fora, people who want a luxury car want them good and conventional. People who can overlook the Lincoln’s shape probably aren’t looking at Lincoln or are few in number.

  5. Simon: I agree Audis had front wheel drive proportions. Were they worse than Peugeot, Citroen, Ford or Opel? My argument would be along the lines at suggesting that at the least they were more appropriate than as applied to the Lincoln. And Lancia’s FWD form was okay to: the Flavia and Fulvia, for example.

  6. Richard. I don’t especially like three-box designs with FWD proportions in general. It often leads to the front and rear overhang being given the same visual weight. I think the proportions are more dynamic if the rear is short, as in a hatchback. That’s what Citroën did for a long time.
    Of course, there are better or worse examples of FWD saloons. The Lincoln is certainly at the lower end. Peugeot for example often managed to have quite short overhangs front and rear with their saloons which make them look better for me than the majority of Audis. The old Lancias had very interesting proportions for their time, and I like them appearing slightly unbalanced.

    Sam: I’m not immune to the C3’s charms. But the wheelbase remains ridiculous.

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