As soon as renovation is completed at Ford Motor Co.’s Louisville Assembly Plant a year from today, production of a new Lincoln sport utility vehicle will begin next to the Escape and other compact, fuel-efficient models. The addition of a Lincoln nameplate to the Louisville lineup is part of a strategy to focus more on a luxury brand that faced neglect when Ford still owned Volvo, Jaguar and Range Rover.
It’s expected that after Ford had sold off these luxury brands, Ford will have to redirect its attention to Lincoln in order to appeal to premium buyers. Sources inside Ford said that this Lincoln SUV (that has yet to be named) is still in the development stage. It will be smaller than the Lincoln MKX and it will rival the Lexus RX.
It’s likely that Ford will formally announce the new Louisville Assembly products early next month, right before production of the Ford Explorer at the plant ends on Dec. 13. Ivan Drury, senior analyst at the automotive Web site Edmunds, said that a smaller Lincoln SUV “makes sense,” as this segment is currently “one of the hotter segments.”
The small luxury crossover SUV market is dominated by the Lexus RX, which sold 76,465 samples in the first 10 months of the year. This figure includes a newer hybrid version. For the same period, Acura sold 12,252 of its luxury RDX but it is quickly gaining market share. On the other hand, BMW sold only 5,135 units of its X3 model so far this year. These premium SUVs offer the best interiors and luxury details and they typically are five-seaters and have 4- or 6-cylinder engines.
They’re priced anywhere from $32,000 to $40,000. Lincoln has already started selling the maxi-size Lincoln Navigator, which is produced at the Kentucky Truck Plant together with the Ford Expedition SUV and Super Duty truck. The Lincoln MKT is the next smaller model and is a seven-seater. Next to this is the five-seater Lincoln MKX that is about the size of a Ford Edge. [via autonews - sub. required]