Kemal Curić is not new to the Ford Motor Company, but he’s brand new to Lincoln. The German designer, who was born in Sarajevo before moving to Dortmund as a youth, has worked at Ford since 2004. The highlight of his relatively brief career thus far was to be named design manager for the 50th anniversary Ford Mustang in 2011.
This came about after Curić won an internal design competition at Ford and then moved to Dearborn to join the team responsible for developing the iconic model. His first design of the Mustang was the one chosen to move on to the quarter-scale model stage. Then, his design was again chosen to move on to the full-sized clay model rendering stage. “I had the right sketch for the right model at the right time,” he’s been quoted as saying about the process.
In early 2013, as the Mustang project moved toward completion, he assumed the role of design manager and guided the car the rest of the way home to its successful introduction later that same year. Now, he joined Lincoln in what is a critical time for the luxury division.
“As a brand, the Lincoln Continental is almost as big as the Mustang,” Curić explains during our interview on media day at the Canadian International AutoShow. “It’s the car associated with presidents and limousines and Hollywood. And our team is absolutely passionate about it.”
This team, it’s important to note, was responsible for producing the concept version of the Continental, which debuted at the New York International Auto Show last year, before Curić moved over from the Mustang project. The executive-class sedan stole the show, in large part because its appearance was a complete surprise in this day and age of information leaks.
“Everything starts with the new face, the confident front, and the Lincoln star,” he explains in describing the elements that will carry over from the Continental to the next wave of Lincoln vehicles. The new Lincoln flagship also boasts bold proportions; in this respect, the Continental harkens back to the muscular and sinister-looking American executive sedans of the sixties.
When asked about the challenge of reinvigorating an American brand and taking it out onto the global stage, Curić acknowledges that there are stresses: “This is a new experience for me, the opportunity to experience a luxury brand. But I prefer to work on a brand that is going global, especially with what is a world-class team.”
See blow for a preview of the Lincoln Continental 2017.