For the 2006 model year, Lincoln introduced a new Zephyr as its entry-level luxury car to fill the void left by the discontinued V6 version of the Lincoln LS. The Zephyr, along with the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan which share the same Ford CD3 platform, are built in Hermosillo, Mexico, making the Zephyr the first Lincoln car assembled outside of the United States for sale in the US market.
In the first 5 months of production, Lincoln dealers sold only 4,895 Zephyrs through January 2006, but 15,672 Zephyrs were sold in the first 6 months of the 2006 calendar year.
For the 2007 model year, the Zephyr is to be redesignated the MKZ, following Lincoln's new naming convention using alphanumeric abbreviations beginning with MK, instead of traditional names (eg: the 2007 Lincoln MKX crossover utility vehicle was originally to be designated the 2007 Aviator). Along with the new name, the MKZ will receive a new, more powerful engine compared to the Zephyr, and minor cosmetic changes.