Lincoln confirmed it will put the MKZ out to pasture before the end of 2020. The sedan is based on the Ford Fusion, which is also scheduled to retire in the coming months as the company pivots towards high-riding models.
Introduced at the 2012 New York Auto Show, the MKZ is the oldest member of the Lincoln portfolio by a wide margin, so its demise hardly comes as a surprise. The firm quietly broke the news as it announced plans to release an electric SUV built using technology borrowed from Rivian. The 2020 model is already out, but Lincoln's announcement makes no mention of whether it's the sedan's last year on the market, or if it will briefly return for the 2021 model year before sailing into retirement. Autoblog reached out to the firm for clarification.
Though never a home run, the MKZ will be remembered as a significant car because it ushered in the design language that characterizes every model Lincoln sells in 2020 when it received a mid-cycle update for the 2017 model year. And, with up to 400 horsepower on tap, it also stood out as the most powerful production Lincoln ever released. Power and an elegant design weren't enough to give the nameplate a significant boost, and annual sales dropped to 17,725 units in 2019 from a peak of 34,009 cars in 2014. Even the Navigator outsold it.
In recent years, the MKZ perplexingly became the autonomous car world's darling. Faraday Future, Didi Chuxing, Aurora, and Qualcomm are among the companies that tested their technology with MKZ-based prototypes.
Lincoln explained the Hermosillo, Mexico, factory that makes the MKZ and the Fusion will "prepare for production of new Ford vehicles," but it didn't specify which ones. There's absolutely no evidence the company is developing a direct replacement for its entry-level sedan, so the Continental will carry the torch on its own. Its days might be numbered, too, because several unverified reports claim Lincoln will again consign the nameplate to the attic in the coming years to free up the production capacity it needs to build electric cars in Flat Rock, Michigan.
Once it goes, Lincoln's range will be entirely sedan-free for the first time since the company was created in 1917. Some automakers still believe in the sedan, like Audi, but Lincoln seems to be a student of Ford's philosophy.