From 1958 to 2007, FoMoCo’s famed Wixom Assembly Plant was in charge of producing Lincoln’s full-size automobiles (Continentals up to 2002, LS up to 2006 and Town Cars up to 2007). At the turn of the decade, as sales of the luxury brand were stalling and as the Corporation’s “Way Forward” cost-cutting business plan was gearing up, the Wixom factory was disbanded and production was redistributed: production of the Town Car was moved to the St. Thomas Assembly in Ontario (Canada) alongside platform-mates Ford Crown Victoria and Mercury Grand Marquis, while the new MKS flagship was awarded to the Chicago Assembly which was already in charge of producing the equivalent Ford Taurus.
A 1972 Lincoln Continental rolling off the Wixom Assembly lines in Michigan (USA).
Fast-forward to 2015 and things are quite different: the St. Thomas Assembly ended up shutting down after the discontinuation of the Panther-platform in 2011, and rumours have it that the new Continental will no longer be based on the Taurus/MKS platform but on a long wheelbase version of the Fusion/MKZ platform, which is currently produced in Michigan at the iconic Flat Rock site.
A 1969 Continental Mark III, also in Wixom, MI.
Consequently, Automotive News reports that Ford is actively preparing the arrival of the Continental’s tooling at its Flat Rock Assembly. Indeed, while the car has so far only been shown in Concept form and no release date has been announced, reports suggest the plant could be retooled as early as this Summer or Fall.
The move would make a lot of sense as Ford strives to concentrate and streamline its operations, and would undoubtedly spare the new Continental from the quality issues that delayed the release of the Mexico-built MKZ back in 2012 – actually, back then, a number of MKZ sedans were shipped from Hermosillo (Mexico) to Flat Rock for additional quality controls.
- Ford to move Lincoln production to free up Explorer capacity, at AutoNews.com
- Ontario Ford plant closing brings tears, at TorontoSun.ca