The decision has been made.
The Lincoln Continental is sadly no more. Launched for 2017, the tenth-generation Conti, despite riding on a front-wheel-drive chassis, never stood a chance. Despite Lincoln's best efforts, the full-size luxury sedan segment is not what it used to be. Luxury rivals like Audi, BMW, and Mercedes only manage to survive because of longtime buyer loyalty. The Continental simply didn't have that, nor was it a sports sedan. But there was one segment it did manage to fill quite well: limousines.
Aside from the Lincoln Navigator, the Continental is (or was) the only other model Ford's luxury brand offered in a Fleet Livery version. With the sedan's demise, that role will now be taken over by the Aviator.
According to Ford Authority, the Lincoln Aviator will step into the Conti's shoes. For now, this information is not official; the report does not source any automaker official and nor has there been a press release on the matter. But the Aviator's selection does make sense. Remember, Lincoln is out of the sedan business with not only the Continental but also the MKZ. The closest vehicle, relatively speaking, size-wise, is the Aviator.
The report also states the Aviator Livery will be available in either rear- or all-wheel-drive, and some features will include an Ebony cabin, standard rear door sunshades, and an Elements Packages that tacks on heated second-row outboard seats, heated steering wheel, and heated VisioBlade Wipers.
Earlier this month, we reported that Lincoln's crosstown rival, Cadillac, also intends to enter the limousine market with a modified XT5. A follow-up report shortly thereafter claimed the XT5 will also be sold to funeral homes in modified hearse form. There's no information yet whether or not Lincoln intends to do the same.
Expect to start seeing Aviator limousines sometime next year as fleet sales are supposedly set to get underway relatively soon. Continuing the Continental's production for the sole purpose of fleet sales makes no sense for many reasons, but the Aviator seems like the perfect alternative in a crossover-crazed world, and could yet prove to be an important financial decision for the brand.