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Why Did Lincoln Pick the Nautilus Name? Luxury Brand Commits to “Warm,” “Emotional” Names in Favor of Alphanumerics

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2019 Lincoln Nautilus

Lincoln on Wednesday introduced the world to the new 2019 Nautilus SUV, which acts as the successor to the Lincoln MKX and furthers the brand’s foray into replacing its MK naming structure with names that are not just letters glued together. Opting not to dip into its bag of names from the past—as was the case when the Continental returned to replace the MKS—Lincoln instead went with an all-new product name, one that Lincoln Global Advanced Product Marketing Manager Dan Brady says “builds on the same emotional sense of exploration and discovery inherent in names like Navigator and Continental.”

What’s in a Name? The 2018 Lincoln Navigator keeps its recognizable moniker, changes almost everything else

“As we continue to evolve the brand, we want the names of our vehicles to better reflect the attitudes and values of our customers,” Brady said.

There is that question: why Nautilus? A nautilus is “any cephalopod of the genus Nautilus, having a spiral, chambered shell with pearly septa.” It is also the name of a 1982 Atari game, a character from League of Legends, and a company that manufactures fitness equipment sold via infomercials. But the word itself derives from the Greek word ναυτίλος, which means sailor. Lincoln’s preferred denotation is meant to give the Nautilus an adventurous, sea-faring spirit (despite being a land-based vehicle, of course).

“The idea of taking a journey and helping clients sail effortlessly through their lives speaks to the Lincoln brand and to the experience that Nautilus delivers,” said Brady. “Every layer of the meaning of Nautilus invokes this sense of discovery.”

So, then, the perfect traveling music to pump through the Nautilus’ available 13- or 19-speaker Revel audio system is “Sailing” by Christopher Cross. On repeat. Forever. That sounds pretty heavenly, come to think.

“We had to be careful to select a name that had cultural significance and that fit the theme of the vehicle,” Brady added.  “We also had to make sure that the name was not culturally offensive, because certain names have different connotations in other countries.”

This really makes one wonder what other names were on the longlist…

Gallery: 2019 Lincoln Nautilus Black Label with Exclusive Gala Theme

Whatever the name may be, the fact that it is a word and not alphanumeric would seem to indicate that Lincoln is all-in on moving back to a more traditional naming structure. Brady confirms as much, saying that real names are better for the brand’s direction because it is “dedicated to delivering warm, human, and personally crafted experiences, and we are committed to vehicle names that convey that essence.”

This lends more credence to the idea of the MKZ being replaced by the Zephyr and the MKT being replaced by the Aviator. That just leaves the Lincoln MKC, which retained its name for its 2019 model-year refresh; perhaps it could be named after something that maintains the theme of taking a journey, like the Lincoln Itinerant, Lincoln Excursionist, Lincoln Globetrotter, Lincoln Barnstormer, or, our personal favorite, Lincoln Gadabout.

Available from Lincoln: The Continental, Navigator lead Lincoln’s strong 2018 lineup