Ford’s ‘other’ brands had a hard time in 2007 - Jaguar and Land Rover were sold, Volvo was in the dumps, Mercury was rumoured to be on the chopping block and Lincoln was forced to apply approximately 20lb of chrome to every vehicle it sold. It seems Mazda was the only Ford-owned company that wasn’t rumoured to be in trouble in 2007, although Lincoln’s sales were up month-on-month throughout the year. But Ford has a new Flex seven-passenger SUV that it thinks will take buyers from both the SUV and minivan markets, and word has come out that it will also be offering the Flex as a Lincoln. Chrome lovers of the world rejoice.

The oddly attractive retro-modern styled Flex, which originally debuted as a concept named Fairlane at the New York Auto Show, could get any of several engines, although likely candidates include Ford’s 270hp 3.7L V6 - a direct-injected, turbocharged version of which will be coming in 2010 to the MKS sedan. The large crossover might seem the perfect bed for a grumbly V8, but as Ford faces the new CAFE regulations and their 2012 deadline, smaller-displacement forced induction engines are a more attractive and efficient alternative, reports Car and Driver. The Ford version of the Flex will be powered by a 260hp 3.5L V6 matched to a six-speed autobox, so the engine from the MKS would be a good match. Both will likely come with Ford’s AWD system that can distribute torque where it’s needed, up to 100% to either the front or the rear.

The Lincoln-branded Flex - we don’t know yet what it will be named as a Lincoln - will come some time after the Ford version, some saying up to a year later. No word yet on the ‘restyling’ it will receive under the chrome-laden Lincoln badge, but rest assured it’ll be shiny.