Lincoln could bring back the Zephyr sedan to replace the current MKZ.
The all-new Lincoln Corsair debuted at the 2019 New York Auto Show this week to replace the MKC crossover. That means the MKZ luxury sedan and the ancient Ford Flex–based MKT crossover are the only models in Lincoln’s current line-up left with alphanumeric names. However, according to a report by Car and Driver, the MKZ’s future replacement could change that by reviving the Zephyr nameplate.
The publication discovered that Lincoln filed a trademark for the Zephyr name back in 2016. While automakers filing trademarks to retain rights to model names is nothing new, it was filed as a separate trademark rather than renewing an old one, suggesting that the Zephyr could make a comeback in the near future and replace the MKZ.
The Zephyr name was last used on a Ford Fusion-based sedan back in 2006 before being replaced by the current MKZ, but the name was originally applied to a V12-powered Lincoln sedan in the 1930s and 1940s. According to the report, the name change may also coincide with a new platform.
Since the Fusion is ending production soon, the future Zephyr could adopt Ford's new rear-wheel-drive unibody platform that underpins the current Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator SUVs and will likely underpin the next Ford Mustang.
As for when we’re likely to see the new Lincoln Zephyr, Ford has already announced that production of the Transit Connect van will move to the Hermosillo, Mexico, plant that currently builds the Fusion and MKZ in 2021. Lincoln currently builds the larger Continental sedan at its plant in Flat Rock, Michigan, which the company has also announced will build its next-generation Mustang.
The publication goes on to speculate that the timing of these manufacturing moves suggest that Lincoln could show a concept version of the Zephyr in 2020 before the production car arrives sometime in 2021.