Lincoln is an American luxury automaker and a subsidiary of the Ford Motor Company. Though once a rival of the world's most prestigious brands, Lincoln has since moved down-market and now focuses almost exclusively on near-luxury vehicles.
The brand was created in 1918 by Henry M Leland (who also founded Cadillac) and named after Abraham Lincoln, Leyland's longtime hero. The post-World War I recession quickly forced Lincoln into bankruptcy, but it...
was purchased by Ford in 1922. With Ford's engineering and marketing resources at its disposal, Lincoln went on to produce a range of elegant upscale vehicles that were mentioned in the same breath as Pierce-Arrow, Duesenberg and other leading premium automakers of the time.
In more recent years, the brand has suffered a slow sales decline as its models regressed into mediocrity and competitors from Germany and Japan have taken control of the upscale market. This trend was reversed by the success of the Navigator SUV in the 90s (which helped Lincoln to become the best-selling luxury automaker in 1998), but only temporarily.
Over the past decade Lincoln became known primarily for the cavernous but ponderous Town Car, which appealed mostly to older customers and livery services, and also for producing models like the MKS sedan and MKX crossover that feature pampering interiors but share engines, platforms and other components with less expensive Ford vehicles.
To create more compelling and better-differentiated Lincolns in the future, Ford has invested $1 billion to give the company its own design team and other resources necessary to compete head-on with industry heavyweights like BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
The first fruit of that investment is the MKZ, which distances itself from its Ford Fusion roots with shapely sheetmetal and high-tech features like an adaptive suspension, an active interior noise cancelling system and a retracting sunroof that spans the length of the entire roof. Lincoln promises that more models built from the MKZ's mold are on the way.