Report: Lincoln Gets $5 Billion Boost for New D6 Platform
After years of stagnation from the Lincoln lineup, will a $5 billion investment be enough to inject some energy into Ford's premium brand? According to Reuters, this money will go towards development of a new platform called D6 that's set to underpin future Lincoln models due by 2019.
This new vehicle architecture will reportedly be flexible enough to accommodate front-, rear-, and all-wheel-drive applications, starting with the next-generation Lincoln MKZ sedan set to debut in 2019. All of Lincoln's current models are based on Ford platforms, with the MKS sedan and MKT crossover still riding on the old D4 platform that dates all the way back to the 1999 Volvo S80.
One main goal of the D6 architecture is said to be further differentiation between Ford and Lincoln models, as development for the platform is being led by new Lincoln president Kumar Galhotra. D6 still won't be exclusive to Lincoln, though, as Reuters says that future Ford models will also use versions of the modular platform.
We also have questions about the rear-wheel-drive element of the D6 platform, as the report claims that the first two D6 products, the aforementioned MKZ and the next-generation seven-seat MKT crossover, will offer front- or all-wheel-drive. A rear-wheel-drive version of the D6 platform would presumably be well-suited for a Lincoln flagship—possibly a replacement for the MKS sedan—but adding a rear-drive vehicle would necessitate that the engine bay be able to hold longitudinally mounted engines, as opposed to the transverse-mounted ones more likely for front- or all-wheel-drive cars.
New Ford CEO Mark Fields told Reuters that this move is part of the long-term rebuilding project for Lincoln, with the brand aiming for 300,000 global sales by 2020. Expansions in China will account for a big part of the Lincoln brand's growth, and new models like the next-generation Lincoln MKX and MKS will debut within the next two years before D6 becomes a part of the lineup.
The Ford Edge-based MKX crossover has already been previewed by a concept earlier this year and will go on sale in mid-2015, and the MKS sedan is due for an update in 2016 that should see it move to an extended version of the Ford Fusion's CD4 platform. A long-wheelbase version of the MKS, which may adopt a new name, will also debut for the Chinese market. Also in the pipeline is a refreshed Lincoln MKZ for 2016 and an overhaul for the Lincoln Navigator that could see it move to an aluminum body like the 2015 Ford F-150.
Stay tuned for more news about the future of Lincoln as this new plan for the luxury brand's revival goes into effect over the next few years.