While some people have been celebrating the recent reveal of the Lincoln Continental Concept, not everyone is cheering. In fact, Bentley is crying foul as it accuses Ford of cribbing its design language.
The war of words has been raging on Facebook, where Bentley Chief Designer Luc Donckerwolke posted on Lincoln styling head David Woodhouse’s page “Do you want us to send the product tooling?” He went on to say “I would have called it Flying Spur concept and kept the four round lights.” It was a biting remark that gives voice to the suspicion many have been whispering.
People are saying Ford has been lifting designs off European automakers.
It’s a serious accusation, because after all it’s the trick of low-rent Chinese car companies to unabashedly rob designs off other automakers. Ford is the great Blue Oval, a brand that designed the original Thunderbird and many other breathtaking vehicles.
Still, one can’t deny that it’s striking how the current Ford Fusion looks so much like an Aston Martin. Or that the 2016 Ford Explorer looks like a knockoff Range Rover. Some reasoned that the resemblances came from Ford having owned the other two companies, which is a bit of a stretch. But the American automaker has never owned Bentley, which is owned by the Volkswagen Group.
Speaking of VW, Ford reportedly based the design of the 2005 Five Hundred on the Passat. The intrigue goes deeper, with some accusing Lincoln of basing the design of the MKX on the Audi Q5.
Road and Track interviewed Bentley’s exterior design chief, who said that the Continental Concept is “a joke, seriously.” The publication also spoke with Donckerwolke, who elaborated on his Facebook post, saying that Ford copying another brand’s designs saddles the profession with a bad reputation.
According to Bloomberg, Woodhouse said in an interview that he thought Lincoln’s design was better. He also remarked that such accusations flying from a “prestigious” automaker like Bentley were “unusual.”
Will this issue stop at just words, or could Ford be facing a legal battle? As of the writing of this article, Bentley and VW aren’t indicating either way.