Not many people seem to care about Ford's Lincoln luxury division anymore, because it has nearly lapsed into irrelevance. Lincoln builds only a small range of models, most of which are thinly disguised Fords that are gradually being upstaged by the redesigned versions of the cars on which they were originally based. Ford is shedding luxury and near-luxury divisions like crazy. They sold off their stakes in Mazda, Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover and Aston Martin, and phased out the mid-range Mercury brand completely. Suddenly the "One Ford" policy (combining American and European product lines) is starting to sound like "Only Ford". Even today, some people have a hard time making a case for Lincoln's continued existence.
People have long lamented the decline of American luxury. Some bemoan the death of the large, rear-wheel-drive sedan with floaty suspension and couch-like seats. Others pin the blame on those same cars as being short-sighted, ill-handling, gas-guzzling barges, symbols of wretched excess that seemed to parody themselves and increase our dependence on foreign oil. Along with Cadillac, Lincoln carried the torch for the traditional American RWD luxury formula well into the 1990s. Both were popular with the aging population, but not many other buyers. Both brands dabbled in front-wheel-drive and smaller powerplants, but as Cadillac transitioned primarily to FWD, the last true American RWD luxury car was the Lincoln Town Car. Today the Town Car, much loved by octogenarians, limo and livery cab drivers everywhere, is dead. Chrysler fields a revitalized 300C, and Cadillac's CTS takes on BMW instead of Lincoln. To a degree, Chrysler and Cadillac have been embraced by the hip-hop scene, courting younger buyers. And of course, the luxury market is dominated by brands from Europe and Japan, many of which didn't exist when this car rolled off the assembly line.
Lincoln is trying so hard to market itself as a thinking man's car, the sort of car driven by slick ad executives with thin-rimmed glasses and trendy suits who, if the ads are to be believed, would actually buy an MKZ Hybrid or MKS instead of the latest Audi.