Rumours: Ford downsizing its full-size line – what does it mean for Lincoln?

We have reported before on the uncertainty surrounding the platform that will be used by the next generation of full-size car from the Ford Motor Company: will the new Taurus and MKS keep the same underpinnings? Will either of them be downsized in the name of fuel efficiency?

As far as Lincoln is concerned, we have heard both possibilities in car magazines and business news alike: first, reports were that the MKS would be downsized in 2015-2016 to use an enlarged version of the chassis used by the Lincoln MKZ – just as the Ford Taurus would then begin a similar transition to the platform used by the midsize Fusion.

That move, which makes sense if one considers CAFE standards, would eventually leave both models at a disadvantage: while it was once a little sleepy, the market for full-size cars seems to be expanding once again. For instance, in the mainstream market, competitors like the new Chevrolet Impala play the card of the affordable, roomy full-size American car.  In the luxury field, it’s even more noticeable: the arrival of large cars such as the Kia Cadenza and K900 for instance, or the upsizing of the Lexus ES350 to the Avalon platform are telling of renewed taste for traditional luxury.

Then reports surfaced that the MKS would retain its current packaging, possibly even on the same platform as the one Lincoln’s full-size name plate since 2009. While that plan would make more sense marketing-wise for a luxury brand like Lincoln, the D3 platform is getting quite old and has encountered some limitations in the past few years: while extremely safe, it remains a heavy platform with few design applications and interior dimensions.

So now, another report, concerning this time only the Ford Taurus, claims that Ford is moving head with plans to take its famous nameplate through a rigorous diet which would in turn allow smaller engines.

Now, consider this: one of the marketing angles to separate Ford from Lincoln has been engine choices. While the Fusion is available only in four-cylinders, the MKZ offers a 3.7 V6, and the new MKC offers an exclusive EcoBoost four-cylinder shared only with the hot new Mustang.

If we follow that logic, keeping the MKS in the full-size bracket would make more sense than the opposite: it wouldn’t cannibalize the increasing sales of the MKZ and would allow to counter the Taurus with a bigger engine and a place of its own in the FoMoCo portfolio.

We’ll have to wait a few more months to know which theory will prevail but we can only hope to keep a truly full-size Lincoln!

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