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January 31, 2006

Product Naming: Luxury Brands Battle of the Alphabet

lincolnmkx.jpg On January 25th Honda Motor Company suit against Ford Motor Company, stating that the name for Lincoln's newest SUV, the , is too close to that of the Acura MDX model designation for its SUV.

MarkX.jpgThis means that as automakers migrate toward a more for its luxury vehicles, it is more and more likely that potential conflicts will arise. Ford is arguing that it wants to refer to the new Lincoln MKX SUV as the “Mark X”, and thus confusion with the Acura MDX would be minimal. I’m sure Ford management is well aware that its sister brand Jaguar, first used the Mark X designation to refer to one of Britain’s .

acuramdx.jpgI think that Ford is trying to have a dual-brand nomenclature for its new Lincoln SUV, which will only serve to dilute its branding efforts. Ford should decide on one naming approach and one only. That, I believe, would be in their best interest to strengthen the beleagured Lincoln nameplate.

No matter what Ford ends up with for its new Lincoln SUV nomenclature, I think it's clear that alpha and alphanumeric designations will likely conflict with existing auto brands.

Q7b.jpgI predict that the Acura-Lincoln alphabet conflict will be resolved out of court, as was the Nissan vs Audi “Q” conflict. In the latter, it was reported by that there was a gentleman’s agreement, with a likely financial settlement, that allows Audi to continue using the Q7 name and the Q-series nomenclature for future SUVs.

I believe that it is difficult to impossible for a brand to tie up a letter of the English alphabet. Can you think of any examples of a brand in any category with a trademarked letter or letters?

Read more commentary on the Acura vs Lincoln conflict at .

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Posted by William Lozito at January 31, 2006 11:06 AM
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Tracked on November 15, 2006 7:41 PM


It looks like BMW is suing Nissan over the letter M.

I hope that Ford can keep the Lincoln brand alive.
It deserves to survive.

I'm not so sure the Lincoln brand is worth salvaging. I think it's more of an entitlement than a brand.

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