Forget E: Lincoln opts for “Grand Touring” to denote electrified vehicles

2020 Lincoln Aviator

Lincoln executives spent a lot of time deciding what to call the brand’s electrified vehicles, and the winning nomenclature might be unexpected: Grand Touring.

Ford’s luxury division decided on the Grand Touring name for its electrified vehicles after much consideration and work with focus groups, Automotive News (subscription required) reported Monday. The Grand Touring, or GT, name, often reserved for the sportiest or more powerful models, is a deliberate marketing attempt to recalculate how consumers think of plug-in hybrids.

2020 Lincoln Aviator

Lincoln President Joy Falotico said consumers often associate plug-in hybrids or “E” badges with a trade-off: less power for better fuel economy. More often than not, that’s not the case. The 2020 Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring pairs a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 engine with an electric motor to make at least 450 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque. Compared to the standard gasoline engine, that’s roughly 50 more hp and 200 more units of twist. The final power figures are not yet official.

In this case, Grand Touring is used for the most powerful model within the lineup, and Lincoln hopes consumers will understand that electrification doesn’t mean less power.

“Quite simply, it came down to, what does it do? And what it does is that it makes the vehicle more exciting to drive. It’s the purest definition of Grand Touring,” marketing chief Robert Parker said.

Historically, a GT has been a sleek, sporty car with room for at least two and their luggage for a weekend away. The letters GT have also indicated a vehicle would offer handling that’s good but not up to sports car levels. While the Aviator Grand Touring’s air springs and adaptive dampers with road preview may improve the ride and handling, it’s a stretch to say a three-row mid-size SUV is the purest definition of grand touring, even if it’s more powerful and handles better than the base model.

2020 Lincoln Aviator

Lincoln hasn’t shared details on the Aviator Grand Touring’s electric range yet, but John Davis, head engineer for the SUV, told AN it will likely go at least 31 miles on electric power. However, that figure may be reserved for China where there’s a greater demand for electrified vehicles. The brand did share that the 2020 Aviator Grand Touring will feature two new drive modes. The first, called Pure EV, uses only the electric motor to power the SUV. The second, called Preserve EV, does the opposite—it only runs the gasoline engine to save the electric range for another time.

Before deciding on Grand Touring, Lincoln trialed other names, including “E.” In the end, consumers never clearly responded to other names like they did Grand Touring. The strategy also follows Lincoln’s move to stop using the MK naming strategy and revert back to traditional nameplates.

Buyers will be able to identify the Aviator Grand Touring model by the subtle blue hue in the Lincoln badge and nameplate lettering.

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