Earlier this year, Ford decided to shutter its Mercury brand, leaving the company with unused engineering resources. Those resources are now being allocated to Lincoln in order to develop up to seven all-new or redesigned models in the next four years, and transform the brand to become more luxurious and attract a younger clientele.
Lincoln is Ford's luxury brand, but its current product lineup doesn't have the image necessary to match or beat its competitors. It currently holds a 5.7 percent share of the luxury vehicle market, and has an average customer age of 61. Scott Tobin, Lincoln's head engineer and product development executive, says that the brand plans to change this by beating its luxury competitors' quality and technology with the seven upcoming vehicles.
"When people think of Lincoln, I want people to think of a very serene, beautiful vehicle that is connected to the road and responsive," Tobin told the Detroit Free Press.
Lincoln's product evolution started with design with the MKR concept shown at the 2007 Detroit auto show. The MKR was a bold, in-your-face concept, but unfortunately, its signature double-wing grille, now found across Lincoln's lineup, was one of few design elements from the concept to make it to production. In addition to unique exterior styling, Lincoln will gain more upscale interior styling, more technology, and exclusive features. Expect more leather surfaces, more advanced touch-screen navigation and climate controls, and electronically-controlled dampers for a more refined ride.
Unlike Chrysler, which has already shared its product plans for the next several years, Lincoln has only disclosed that a new C-segment (think Ford Focus-sized) model is sure to be added to the lineup. The car, possibly previewed by the Lincoln C Concept, is part of Lincoln's plan to lure younger buyers to the brand. Lincoln hopes its new MKZ Hybrid and redesigned MKX crossover will start the process.
Although details on the rest of Lincoln's product renaissance are few, we hope that one new model will be a halo car similar to Cadillac's CTS-V. And we know one car that would fit the bill even three years after debuted -- the MKR. As we said three years ago, build it, Lincoln!
Source: Detroit Free Press