Ford Execs Say Kuga-Based Lincoln CUV Will Join Luxury Marque Turnaround

Ford is charging full steam ahead with its fresh product offensive but, as we found yesterday, luxury marque Lincoln needs all the help it can manage. That help is reportedly on the way, and a recent report indicates a compact Lincoln crossover will be thrown into the fray.

The currently unnamed Lincoln CUV is still in development, is smaller than the MKX, and is positioned to compete with the Lexus RX, as told to the Louisville Courier-Journal by Ford executives who spoke on condition of anonymity. Louisville, Kentucky, is home to the current Explorer but production halts for good on December 13 (2011 Explorer moves to Chicago). The Louisville facility will then retool with advanced, flexible robotic equipment and focus exclusively on C-segment vehicles, including the overseas Kuga and its upcoming Lincoln variant. The plant renovation is scheduled for completion in Q4 2011.

On the Ford front, we've been hearing the Kuga will replace the long-in-the-tooth Escape for some time now, although many details have remained under wraps. Again, the Blue Oval's global compact car platform will underpin the new Kuga, just like the 2012 Focus, C-Max, and Grand C-Max.

The RX, by and far, dominates the premium compact CUV group in total sales, with 76,465 sold through October. Cadillac has moved 41,153 SRXs through the same time period, while the Acura RDX and BMW X3 numbered 12,252 and 5135, respectively. Most of the competitors in this segment reside in the $30,000s price range.

We can expect a formal announcement on the Louisville plant's product plans in early December. Current Lincoln sport-utility offerings include the full-size Navigator, the retro-inspired MKT, and the newly re-skinned MKX.

The Kuga-based Lincoln will be just one of seven new or redesigned models intended to turn the brand around. Can an RX-fighting Lincoln crossover gain desirable share when it comes to market? Give us your thoughts below.

Source: Louisville Courier-Journal

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