Ford wants Lincoln to be a luxury player with FWD

Article by Anita Panait, on February 1, 2012

In the past, there were two categories of premium vehicles – the true luxury cars and the wannabes – defined by how power was transmitted from the engine to the wheels. Rear-wheel-drive vehicles, like the ones by BMW and Mercedes-Benz, were the true luxury cars, while front-wheel-drive units, produced by other marques, were the wannabes.

But that was the past. Presently and for the future, the label “luxury” won’t be determined by the wheel drive configurations.

This came as Ford Motor Co. is preparing its strategy for its Lincoln vehicle that will be based on fwd platforms. Other Ford cars and crossovers will also be using the same platform derived from the One Ford global strategy. Ford plans to differentiate its brands by unique styling and technology that will belong to the Lincoln.

C.J. O'Donnell, Lincoln's group marketing manager, said the brand "will leverage fwd and awd platforms in its first transformational products”, says Autonews.

O'Donnell said the brand will remain open to other platforms in the potential long term based on specific consumer or segment-specific requirements. Lincoln's group marketing manager said their products, both fwd and awd vehicles, deliver the attributes that their target customers require -- design, interior package and spaciousness.

Lincoln plans to introduce seven new or refreshed cars, crossovers and SUVs for the next two years. Lincoln recently unveiled its fwd MKZ Concept at the Detroit Auto Show, highlighting the brand’s new styling direction. While some expressed criticisms and concern over Ford’s fwd strategy for the Lincoln, there is no risk involved since the brand is sold only in North America.

Lincoln MKZ Concept was launched at the 2012 North American International Auto Show held in Detroit. This ushered in a significant chapter in the car brand’s reinvention as well as giving a clear plan for their next line of vehicles.

Ford Motor Company group vice president for global product development Derrick Kuzak says that the Lincoln MKZ Concept ushers in a new brand, not just a new car. The new concept car is the next step in the brand’s reinvention, which the American carmaker has been aggressively but quietly pursuing.

Exterior

The Lincoln MKZ Concept gives the world an idea regarding the design future of the brand as well as the production model that is expected to be in dealerships in 2012.

Lincoln design director Max Wolff says that the MKZ Concept has a shape that conforms to a philosophy of simplicity that is completed with only a few strokes. Wolff says that they call it “elegant simplicity”, which is more restrained and warmer. It is seen as distancing from the traditional luxury and complex designs seen in the past.

The warm colors are obvious in each aspect of the new concept’s exterior with its Cognac color with a deep finish that is based on a rich coat that is followed up with a number of layers of tinted clear coat paints.

Yet the Lincoln MKZ Concept is still unmistakably a Lincoln with its recognizable brand styling elements such as the more refined split-wing grille that was first seen in the market in on the Lincoln-Zephyr in the 1930s. The profile is dominated by a sleek, sweeping and long roofline that helps the design break away from the three-box shape you see on traditional sedans. The longer roofline allows for a more flowing and aerodynamic look.

Topics: ford, lincoln, fwd

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