The press days for the New York Auto Show are in full swing and there have already been plenty of debuts that have everyone talking. High on the list of talked about cars is the new Lincoln Contintental which the brand hopes will revive their glory days as a luxury automaker. It’s being very well-received except by the folks at Bentley who are loudly crying foul.
You’d think, being Bentley, that it would be a nice civil discourse behind closed doors or in a few private emails, but you would be wrong. Bentley’s chief designer, Luc Donckerwolke, took very public issue with a design he said is nothing short of a rip-off.
According to Car Design News, Donckerwolke got snarky on his Facebook page saying, “I would have called it Flying Spur concept and kept the four round lights.” Ouch, them’s fighting words. He wasn’t alone and got a bit of support from fellow designers. One threw another punch at Lincoln posting, “I thought this was only done in China? Finally a ‘Bentley for the masses’ though..”
That wasn’t the end of things. Donckerwolke then took to the Facebook page of Lincoln chief designer David Woodhouse to voice his displeasure. “Do you want us to send the product tooling?” was his final bit of snark, a comment that was quickly deleted.
His criticism is fair, especially when you look at the two cars. There are a lot of similarities between the two and, from Bentley’s point of view, maybe the similarities are just too darn close. Donckerwolke spoke to Road and Track about the matter saying,
“This behavior is not respectable. Building a copy like this is giving a bad name to the car design world.” And his exterior design chief, Sangyup Lee, describing the Lincoln as “a joke,” adding: “It is very disappointing, especially for an exclusive brand like Lincoln.”
Did Lincoln cross a line? Did they just take the Flying Spur and tweak it into the new Continental? Bentley says yes, but so far Lincoln hasn’t said anything about the accusations. Likely they’ll say something in a carefully crafted PR response rather than a Facebook outburst.
What do you think? Is the Lincoln just a less expensive version of the Flying Spur or does Bentley just have their knickers in a twist for no good reason?