Last-minute rumours: Neil Young suggests the 2016 MKS will be named… Continental?

Although backed by numerous market studies and the behaviour of every luxury car manufacturer out there, Lincoln’s modern “MK” based naming scheme has been contentious from the start. Was it Mark, was it MK? Was the last letter randomly chosen or meant to identify a role or a place in the line-up? To be fair, the same criticisms are leveled at other brands, judging by the reception of Mercedes-Benz’s and Cadillac’s latest revisions of their own naming structures.

Recently, and in the wake of Lincoln’s launch in China, management hinted that there might be a case for “legacy names” such as Continental to return: indeed, Chinese buyers are more likely to be swooned by names that are part of popular culture, instantaneously identifiable and which convey the American dream rather than a mix of letters that can be hard to remember and associate with Lincoln, and only Lincoln. Still, it was made clear back then that this would not be America’s business and that no change was planned in the brand’s domestic market.

Fast-forward to today. During a segment on CNBC, Canadian singer and all-around legend Neil Young was invited to discuss his latest initiative, called “pono” and which aims to offer a high-definition alternative to badly compressed MP3s and YouTube videos to amateurs of quality music on the go. During his interview, Young came to reveal that he is working with Lincoln to integrate pono’s ecosystem into the Revel audio system the brand is readying (officially for the reveal of the 2016 MKX). So far, the connection makes sense given Young’s involvement in the “LincVolt” project.

But Neil Young reveals specifically that he is working with Harman (who owns Revel) on the “Lincoln Continental for a 2016 release”. From there, it is very tempting to say he is referring to the elusive 2016 MKS, no concepts or mule of which have actually be spotted. Although I would love to see the revival of the Continental nameplate (which was abandoned a little over ten years ago), I would take the rumour with a pinch of salt: Neil Young’s “LincVolt” is actually a 1959 Continental Mark IV coupe, and if you listen to the video of the interview before he goes on to talk of a 2016 release he does start by saying “Lincoln Continental for 1959”. So it could just be a slip of the tongue. Also, Revel and Lincoln have only just officially announced they were working on the 2016 MKX crossover and did not make any reference to the next-generation MKS full-size sedan, which could for all intents and purposes very well be a 2017 model-year release.

Still, it sure adds more water to the ever-spinning rumourmill!

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