Back in October, we reported on the increased role of the Lincoln Motor Company’s within Ford’s global strategy and the extent of Dearborn’s commitment to the luxury market. In fact, by the end of the new corporate five-year plan, Ford hopes to increase Lincoln’s sales by 300% thanks to a strong push on the ever-dynamic Chinese market, and pledges to have invested 2.5 billion dollars in its luxury brand, on top of the 2 billion already invested over the past corporate plans. This envelope is meant to cover the costs of its Chinese operations as well as dedicated research and development for four new models (namely the next-generation MKS and MKX, as well as two unknown models which could both be SUVs).
Well, it appears today that this is only the tip of the iceberg. Indeed, Reuters came up with an exclusive story based on declarations from Ford Motor Company’s executive vice-president and Chief Financial Offier Bob Shanks, who commented that the 2.5 billion dollar figure announced by Mark Fields, the company’s CEO, covered spending on facilities, tooling and some product development but did not include engineering or advertising costs. At first glance, and even if Lincoln’s young Chinese operations might require extra advertising money to establish the brand, an added 2.5 billion dollars could go a long way to power the brand’s continued renewal.
And indeed, according to several sources within the Company, most of that money will be spent on the engineering of a new platform code-named “D6”. It would be a “flexible” platform not unlike what several European manufacturers currently use, and would underpin a variety of front-wheel- and rear-wheel-drive models starting with the 2019 model year, i.e. just in time to have its future costs of use included in the next corporate plan.
Interestingly enough, the same sources speculate that the next-generation 2019 MKZ would be based on the Lincoln-specific D6 platform. But some auto journalists suspect the 2017 MKS would be based on a long-wheelbase version of the current MKZ and it seems unfortunate that Lincoln would field a brand-new midsize sedan that would prove to be more advanced than their flagship full-size sedan. In my opinion, the revelation of the existence of this new platform speaks for the theory of an all-new MKS based on a different yet still new corporate platform.
The Reuters story also mentions the rebirth of the MKT seven-passenger crossover on the D6 platform once it becomes available, yet the current MKT has been discontinued after 2014 without a replacement being announced. Since the “2020 Vision” plan initially announced the introduction of two new models within the next five years, it could mean that there will be no new MKT until 2019 when the nameplate comes back on the all-new platform. But how would that work for the appeal of the nameplate? We’ll see.
Another revelations from the Reuters article is the confirmation that the 2015 Navigator only represents a stop-gap model between the old-fashioned V8-powered previous generation and a new 2017 or 2018 model which would be based on the new F-150’s aluminium architecture and still employ the EcoBoost V6 found in the 2015 model.
All in all, it seems that Ford’s involvement in Lincoln’s growth is much larger than initially announced to investors, and much, much larger than what the brand had been receiving until just a few years ago – according to FoMoCo’s executives, Lincoln had to make-do with as little as 500 million dollars in dedicated spending within previous corporate plans. The next few years will be very interesting indeed!
- Exclusive: Ford to overhaul Lincoln brand, this time with big bucks, at Reuters.com
- Lincoln to be a key player in FoMoCo’s “2020 Vision” plan, at TheMarkOnline