Lincoln doesn’t make a sedan anymore. But earlier this year it debuted a sedan concept called the Zephyr Reflection. The name harkens back to the late-1930s and 1940s when it produced Zephyrs as a slightly downmarket model from the Continental. Since sedans are persona non grata in the US, we knew this could be a precursor to something it would produce in China. Now, more info is coming into focus that strengthens those presumptions.
First, Lincoln file for a trademark for “Zephyr” now there are patent images
Last month Ford filed for a trademark for the Zephyr name. It last used the name in the 1970s and 1980s, but if you don’t use a trademark over time you lose it. So Ford reregistering the name meant something was coming out with the Zephyr name.
Now, the Sun-Times out of China posted Chinese intellectual property images that look a lot like the Zephyr Reflection concept. And that is what we expected because the concept seemed like a slightly slicked-up version of a production something. Also, most of the automakers aren’t going through the time and expense of doing full-blown concept cars like back in the day.
There would not have been a Zephyr Reflection without production intent
Today, almost every concept usually has some production intent. Not always, but more so now than before the Great Recession. Tighter budgets and demanding stockholders make for a tough business case in the 2020s.
There are subtle differences between the concept and images shown here. But they don’t deviate much from the concept. The wheels are different, as well as being a larger diameter, but almost all of this is small stuff.
We hope the Lincoln Zephyr Reflection interior makes it to the production version
We can’t see the interior, but if it stays as close to the concept as the exterior, it is compelling. It is clean with a lack of fussy details and clutter. In all, the concept and the images are a clean design without getting too gimmicky.
Is there a chance it will appear on our shores? No, Ford is all-in on trucks, crossovers, and SUVs. Except for the Mustang and Ford GT, it is sticking with what works for the time being. And sedans don’t sell in the US.
There is no way that Lincoln will sell a sedan in the US-at least for now
When the last Lincoln Continental came out in 2017 there were a lot of accolades and interest. But it fell flat, without so much as a whimper. That first year it sold a bit over 17,000 cars. That dropped to half in 2018, and by 2020 it sold only 5,262 Continentals. This was a lesson it doesn’t wish to see happen again.
So, we see it as forbidden fruit. Lincoln sees it as the right car for the right market. And the market for an upscale sedan is in China, not here.