What's In A Name?

I was at a Ford press conference recently where new information about the Lincoln MKX crossover was being revealed. I took out a notebook and wrote "Lincoln MKZ" on the top of it, only to realize hours later that I had scribbled down the wrong name. That got me thinking - is there any rhyme or reason to Lincoln's naming structure? There's MKZ, MKS, MKX, MKT, and ... Navigator. Remember the Continental? Even the Zephyr name only stuck around for a short time before being rebadged as MKZ. But beyond Lincoln, there are a lot of automakers ditching well-received nameplates in favor of letters. Acura, for example, had the Legend and Vigor, which are now simply called TL and RL. But on the other hand, German automakers like BMW and Mercedes-Benz can get away with cars like 335i and E550 because they represent a class/series and then an engine designation. The names "3-Series" and "E-Class" are well-known and have been consistently used over time, thus making them acceptable. Personally, I miss *real* car names - none of this MKX jargon. What about you?
by Ewing on Dec. 18, 2009 - 3:26 p.m.