What should have become an exclusive and proud unveiling of a world premiere of all-new Lincoln Continental at this year’s New York International Motor Show rather attracted a continental embarrassment, no thanks to a rival automaker, reports MATILDA FRANCES
As mummy and daddy were playing, the baby Continental was asleep in his crip. Little did mummy know that daddy had another little continental elsewhere.
The foregoing imaginary thought reeled through my head, as I observed the two luxury cars from Ford and Volkswagen.What went wrong?
It all started on Monday (30th March 2015). Two days before New York International Auto Show kicked off, Ford was ready to dazzle the world of luxury cars. Photographers and army of world press were set for an exclusive machine from Ford. Like a beautiful bride, veil was removed from the pretty face of the supposed new born Lincoln Continental.
Of course, inside my head, I placed the new Continental on the side of the Bentley Flying Spur and this cheeky conversation reeled through my head: “Hello twins…and who is your daddy?” I thought that was just me seeing what is no more unusual in the world of automobile design.
Boy not long afterwards, there was an embarrassing comment on FACEBOOK by Bentley design chief, Luc Donckerwolke, criticising Ford’s new Lincoln Continental, pointing out the car’s similarities with one of Bentley’s own models.
“Do you want us to send the product tooling?” Donckerwolke posted on Lincoln designer David Woodhouses’ Facebook page, a comment that was subsequently deleted.
“This behaviour is not respectable,” said Donckerwolke, adding “a copy like this is giving a bad name to the car design world.”
Asked to elaborate, Donckerwolke told Auto Express: “This is not respectable. Such a copy is giving a bad name to the car-design world.” And his exterior design chief, Sangyup Lee, who described the Lincoln as “a joke, seriously,” added, “It is very disappointing, especially for an exclusive brand like Lincoln.”
In what sounded like a follow-up statement to Donckerwolke’s views on FACEBOOK, spokesman for Bentley, part of Volkswagen, said in a statement published yesterday:” Car design is always an emotive subject and one of the reasons so many of us love cars, Our designers have strong views and are passionate about what they do, which drives them to create such extraordinary cars.”
However, Lincoln spokesman Stephane Cesareo dismissed Bentley’s criticisms
” The Lincoln Continental is clearly a Lincoln, we’re very proud of it,” Cesareo told Reuters
Although Ford retired Continental name since 2002, as part of its effort to rebuild the brand’s image in the United States and China, the auto maker decided to take advantage of the auto show to refresh that name, bringing it back as its top-of-the-line luxury saloon. But what followed has been a controversy, which opened up like a tap of water for one simple reason: The supposed born-again Lincoln Continental looks like a Bentley Flying Spur with modified grill and headlamp.
Comments From Social Media
Motoring commentators have added their voices to a war of words sparked by the yesterday’s historic unveiling of Lincoln Continental at the Ney York International Auto Show.
BILL writes: “Take a look around at ALL the different manufacturers’ car designs! EVERYBODY is copying EVERYBODY! Bentley is not the only company that is being copied. Unless you can read the name of 90% of the cars on the road today, you can’t tell WHAT it is. The days of truly individual car design by the various companies are LONG GONE! To me, the grill is the only similarity. The lights definitely look different. I remember being able to tell my pop what every car was at night on a road trip just by the distinctive lights. Today, there is very little originality. Style has been lost.”
MISTER2 writes: “Well in my learned opinion (I’ve been designing cars since I was 7) The Lincoln is not quite as ugly as the Bentley. The Bentley looks like many cars from the 1950s. Most cars from the same decade bear a resemblance to each other. Aston Martins once looked like Fords. Car designers have taken cues from other car designers since the first car. There, now I feel better.”
MARC W writes: “It wouldn’t have sparked such a strong reaction from Donckerwolke if the new LIncoln wasn’t so good-looking and if it did not in fact make the Flying Spur look so blobby and bland. Sorry Luc, you have your work cut out to make a better Flying Spur.”
Tim writes: “All the cars look the same. Take me back to the 60’s when you could tell the difference when you see one coming down the road. Hey look that’s a Mustang and that’s a Camaro. Look over their at that Ford and look what’s beside it a 68 Pontiac GTO. Now a day’s is that a Ford no I believe it’s a Honda I think your both wrong it’s a Toyota. Well can you believe that it was a Chevy.”
Christopher writes:: “The rear end is similar, HOWEVER maybe Bentley needs to look at what the Continental trunk lids looked like for um… well forever. The sloping rear deck is very Continental… next up maybe a Mark VIII??”
NANNRCARGUY writes: “To begin with it doesn’t really look like any Bentley that I have seen, and if it does resemble one that I haven’t seen, well that’s ok too because this car is aimed at the Chinese market. The last time I checked Chinese are all about copying things, so they will be fine with that, as long as it has a huge back seat area. Also, when did Bentley cry about the Chrysler 300? I don’t remember them whining about that car, which … AHEM, looks far more like a Bentley than this does.”
EPISCOPALIAN BOB writes: “You have responded to the Bentley objection very well indeed. Your reference to the Chrysler 300 looks is right ‘on the money,’ so to speak. And you’re noting the attitude of the Chinese is very perceptive. I personally think all the cars look similar.”
Mr. G writes: “Perhaps Bentley didn’t feel threatened by Crapler Motors. Sorry, I have some not-so-fond memories of my Dodge Decrepid.”