NEW YORK -- Ford Motor Co. and General Motors added a chapter in their bitter, crosstown rivalry at the New York auto show last week, this time in the full-size luxury sedan segment that they owned decades ago but barely register in today.
Now, both companies think they finally have the car -- a revived Lincoln Continental for Ford and GM's Cadillac CT6 -- to rekindle past glory and pave the way toward a lucrative future in China.
While the Continental and CT6 battled to make the bigger splash at the auto show, their head-to-head matchup likely won't have the same intensity out in the marketplace. Despite having similar goals, the two cars embody the divergent directions that Lincoln and Cadillac are taking to land on more shopping lists.
Cadillac describes the CT6 as "a true driver's car," aimed at performance-oriented rivals such as BMW, while the Continental is more about passenger comfort and interior serenity, qualities valued by chauffeured Chinese customers. Lincoln President Kumar Galhotra said it's not for people seeking "really aggressive machines," a philosophy designed to take on Lexus rather than Cadillac or European makes.
Instead, "they're looking for elegant beauty," Galhotra said in revealing the Continental Concept to a small group of media at a low-key event last week. "They're not looking for raw power. They want effortless power. We want to help our customers resolve some of the tensions in their lives."
Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen gave a very different pitch for the CT6. "It wouldn't be a Cadillac if it didn't have excellent driving dynamics," he said, unveiling the car during a large, ritzy party at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
De Nysschen noted symbolism in having the event in a location that built American warships used to defeat European enemies.