Suicide doors date to many pre-World War II era vehicles. The 1961 Continental featured suicide doors, and the brand was considering them as recently as 2007, Automotive News reported at the time. It was a source of tension among designers then, and conventional rear doors won out because they were deemed more feasible for a production vehicle.
In addition to the Continental, dealers saw the upcoming Aviator crossover, which debuted several days later at the New York auto show. Joy Falotico, the newly appointed head of Lincoln, briefed the room on the company's plans to add the Aviator and an additional SUV by 2020, as well as four other vehicles after 2020.
"The cycle plan is central to our business," Luis Somoano, chairman of the Lincoln National Dealer Council and president of Doral Lincoln near Miami, told Automotive News. "They've put a lot of investment in that."
Robert Parker, director of marketing, sales and service for the brand, said the redesigned Navigator and upcoming launch of the Aviator will help bring new customers to the brand, which has set a goal of 300,000 global sales by the end of the decade. Lincoln sold just over 188,000 vehicles globally last year, with U.S. sales slipping 0.5 percent to 111,159.
"There's never been this much investment in Lincoln's history," he said. "The amount that's going in really shows the level of confidence in the brand."