DETROIT -- Lincoln is resurrecting the Continental name and phasing out the brand's signature split-wing grille.
A full-size sedan named the Continental will go on sale in North America and China in 2016, executives said. Lincoln will then discontinue the MKS, which perennially has been one of the slowest-selling cars in its segment.
The Continental Concept being unveiled at this week's New York auto show reveals the brand's shift in styling direction as it strives to triple sales in five years, emphasizing Lincoln's focus on interior serenity and comfort as it bids for renewed relevance in the luxury market.
The Continental will have a new 3.0-liter V-6 EcoBoost engine that's exclusive to Lincoln and a trapezoid-shaped grille with a repeating pattern mimicking the shape of Lincoln's badge. The car has roughly the same dimensions as the MKS but more interior space, particularly in the rear to compete with long-wheelbase luxury sedans preferred by chauffeured Chinese buyers.
The automaker isn't saying which platform the Continental is built on and whether it is front- or rear-wheel drive.
Lincoln hopes bringing back the Continental name, dormant since 2002, will help rekindle some of the connections that past customers -- and more importantly, their children and grandchildren -- felt with the brand. But it doesn't necessarily signal the end of the MK naming scheme, said Matt VanDyke, director of global Lincoln.