With Mercury now gone the way of the dodo Ford’s other upmarket brand, Lincoln, now has a lot more investment dollars to play with. This means that we’re about to see greater design and technological efforts injected into the brand, with greater differentiation between it and the more mainstream Ford brand the priority.

Speaking at this week’s 2011 Detroit Auto Show, Ford product boss Derrick Kuzak revealed that Lincoln models will be dramatically different from Ford ones in terms of interior and exterior design as well as technology.

“The strategy isn't just new products, but full differentiation from the Ford brand in not only design, but in technology,” Kuzak explained to reporters.

He went on to reveal that there would be unique sheet metal between the two, in addition to unique powertrains. There will also be greater differentiation at dealerships, with most Lincoln dealers expected to extensively upgrade their facilities. 

Some unique technological items could include electronically adjustable suspension, more powerful V-6 powertrains, paddle shifters in the cabin and more all-wheel drive options. A rear-wheel drive Lincoln, however, is off the cards for now.

Something else that’s off the cards is the possibility of the Lincoln brand going global. Ford bosses are intent on making Lincoln a major player in its home-market before there’s any chance of expanding elsewhere.

[Automotive News, sub req’d]