Ford Motor Co. is considering developing new models for its Lincoln luxury brand to allow it to compete in the fast-growing vehicle segments. Although Ford did not specify which segments it was eyeing, the carmaker showed in a recent presentation to investors that it expects the premium small-car and crossover segments to surge significantly by 2015.
A person privy with Lincoln’s strategy previously told Reuters that the brand is mulling a near-luxury compact sedan for 2016 or later. Ford unveiled at the 2013 Detroit auto show a concept version of the Lincoln MKC compact crossover that is likely due on 2014.
Matt VanDyke, who is responsible for Lincoln's development and day-to-day operations, said at an investor conference that the brand can enter vehicle markets that high-volume and fast-growing segments. Once the small sedan is approved, it could be then marketed to consumers in the United States and China. The luxury car market is expect to grow at a fast pace in the US and China.
The Lincoln compact sedan will be targeted against other similar luxury units like the Cadillac ATS and the Mercedes-Benz CLA. Lincoln only accounted for less than 4 percent of Ford’s vehicle sales in the US in 2012, and the carmaker is attempting to revive the struggling brand and boost its profits.
Lincoln was the best-selling US luxury brand in 1998 and typically sold over 100,000 vehicles annually in the country. Peak sales were at 231,660 units in 1990, but the number has since dropped due to inadequate investment. In 2012, Lincoln sold only 82,150 vehicles in the US, making it the eighth best-selling luxury brand.
In designing the new Lincoln MKC, the design team was presented with two challenges. First was to create a vehicle that stands out from its rivals, second was to further refine the Lincoln design DNA that made its debut in the 2013 MKZ like the signature split-wing grille and hands-free wraparound liftgate.
To make the new MKC stand out from its rivals, Lincoln gave it a sleek, sculpted body. The sturdiness and athleticism of the new MKC are derived from its high beltline and low shoulders. Meanwhile, the luxurious and sophisticated nature of the new MKC is evident on its soft exterior lighting and pedestal side-view mirrors, as well as on the available panoramic, all-glass Vista Roof.
Meanwhile, the interior mirrors the distinct design as seen on the exterior. Combining high levels of craftsmanship and technology, the cabin of the new MKC exudes both luxury and comfort. The new MKC is provided with a unique instrument panel that features the premium brand’s push-button gear shifter. The interior also boasts of plush leathers with French stitching, as well as the available Bridge of Weir leather and real wood trim.
To endow the new MKC with the vaunted Lincoln driving experience, this new premium offering debuts an all-new Lincoln steering wheel, which would soon be available on all future models. This leather-wrapped wheel delivers greater levels of feeling and control.
Customers will be delighted with the fact that the new MKC is specified with improved THX II Certified Audio System, which includes THX-distributed bass technology and 14 right-, center- and left-slot speakers.