A zephyr, by definition, is airy, insubstantial and transitory -- and that pretty well describes the short-lived name of the sedan that's key to Lincoln's revival.
Just months after the Zephyr hit the market, Lincoln said last week that it will start calling it the MKZ in the fall as part of its new alphabetic naming scheme.
The name game is part of Lincoln's strategy to shift focus from individual models and emphasize the brand's heritage and prestige. In keeping with that, it's going to try to get people to pronounce MKZ as "Mark Z." Ironically, the Zephyr nameplate is one of Lincoln's storied players, first appearing on a 1936 model.
The freshened MKZ will debut this fall as a 2007 model. To help differentiate the car from its Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan siblings, Lincoln beefed up the engine to 250 hp and redesigned the front fascia -- although the car looks similar to the current Zephyr.