Ford has pledged $1 billion in an effort to breathe new life into Lincoln and with other brand distractions removed (Aston Marin, Jaguar, Land Rover, Volvo, Mercury and Mazda); the premium brand should now be a top priority.
At the beginning of 2011, Designer Max Wolff was recruited away from Cadillac and given a separate (from Ford) design studio and a team of about 120 engineers, designer and marketing people. He was tasked with creating a new image for the Lincoln brand and the plan is introduce seven new Lincoln vehicles by 2014 by updating existing models (MKS, MKZ, MKX, MKT and Navigator) and to add a compact car.
Ford Product chief, Derrick Kuzak, said the Lincolns will not be rebadged Ford, but they will share platforms. The brand also has its own powertrain engineers who plan to use throaty V-6 engines in the mix along with eight-speed automatic transmissions. Most models will have available all-wheel drive, plus there will be active noise control systems, electric steering and electronic chassis control suspension systems.
Also, look for distinctive features like push-button electronic shifters, retractable glass roofs, redesigned center consoles and other design cues that will show that the Lincoln is distinct from Ford.
Early analyst reports indicate the new designs are impressive. The redesigned MKS is scheduled to be show at the Los Angeles show in November and the next-generation MKZ concept will appear in Detroit in January.