Without the deadweight that was Mercury dragging it down, Ford’s premium division, which now only consists of Lincoln, finally has the resources and freedom to transform into the upmarket luxury brand it should have always been. This means that we’ll likely be seeing Lincoln expand into new segments and differentiate itself more substantially from the regular Ford lineup in the future.
To do this, Lincoln will likely add smaller models than we’re used to seeing, with front-wheel drive compacts and crossovers potentially making the cut. There could also be greater influence from European models, with the next-generation Kuga and Mondeo likely to make their way over in some way, shape or form.
To further differentiate Lincoln from Ford, designers will also use technologies unique to each brand. For Lincoln, this could see the use of unique powertrains, special active noise cancellation systems and adaptive suspensions.
One new model, due around 2012, is likely to be a compact car or new crossover based on the 2012 Ford Focus platform. We’ve already seen 2009’s Lincoln C Concept, which was originally billed as a vehicle for demonstrating upcoming connectivity technology and actually based on a wider version of the same global platform underpinning the new Focus.
Around 2013 the Ford Fusion mid-size sedan will get a complete redesign, which means its Lincoln MKZ sibling will as well. This time around the two cars’ styling will differ much more substantially.
According to Automotive News, a second mid-size sedan model may also be launched. This car would share its underpinnings with Europe’s next-generation Ford Mondeo and would be positioned somewhere between the MKZ and MKS.
The MKS, meanwhile, is due for a mild facelift late next year or in early 2012 in order to keep it fresh until a redesigned model arrives in 2015.
Moving up to the crossovers and SUVs, the MKX mid-size crossover is due for an update later this year and will receive the MyLincoln Touch interface system. A four-cylinder EcoBoost engine, the same unit from the 2011 Ford Explorer, will likely be added to the MKX’s powertrain lineup as well. A redesigned model will come sometime in 2013.
The MKT should receive a mid-cycle update sometime next year but after that the model could be dropped from Lincoln’s lineup altogether. The Blue Oval doesn’t have any solid plans for the MKT or its Ford Flex sibling after the current pair’s life-cycle ends around 2013. One possibility is that the MKT and the Navigator full-size SUV could be phased out and replaced with a single model based on the 2011 Ford Explorer. The current Navigator, meanwhile, is likely to receive a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 as well as a 5.0-liter V-8 to keep sales humming along until the end of its life-cycle in a couple of years.
Lastly, the Lincoln Town Car is scheduled to be discontinued at the end of next year.
[Automotive News, sub req’d]