Ford Motor Company renewed its trademark on the historical Lincoln Zephyr nameplate earlier this month. While trademark filings and renewals are generally considered a normal business practice for automakers, this one may be slightly more news worthy than some. Recent corporate lip service and the relaunch of the legendary Continental nameplate all suggest Lincoln is getting ready to go back to real names.
Nearly a year ago, Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of the Americas, dropped a lot of hints to Automotive News that the company was putting serious consideration into transitioning the Lincoln brand back to real names.
“Without divulging the future,” Hinrichs said to Automotive News, “we’re very excited about the Continental name and the attention it’s gotten.”
Given the very fact the Continental nameplate is returning and the fact the Lincoln has already confirmed the Navigator name is staying around, it certainly sounds like the alphabet soup scheme is getting ditched. Hinrichs went on to say that Lincoln could differentiate itself from other luxury brands by “leveraging its legacy.”
Lincoln ditched real names back in 2006 and went to the current “Mark” theme. Ironically, the Zephyr nameplate from 2006 was the first to get whacked in favor of the bizarre new theme. In 2007 the Zephyr became the MKZ. Theoretically it would make sense for the next-generation MKZ to go full-circle and be (re)re-named Zephyr yet again.
Zephyr is just one of a fairly long list of iconic names Lincoln has to draw from if it so chooses to defy the rest of the luxury automobile market. The Town Car, Capri, Versailles, Premiere and Aviator are just a few from the brand’s 98 year history.