Seeing as how Ford will completely shut down the Mercury brand at the end of the year, the Blue Oval is preparing some big changes for its upmarket Lincoln division.
We’ve already seen some interesting development with the 2011 MKZ Hybrid as well as the 2011 MKX SUV. Now, the actual plans of the Lincoln brand have been revealed, and it’s safe to say that a lot of things will change in the near future.
First off, we have the Lincoln MKZ. The model, alongside its Ford sibling, the Fusion, will be refreshed at the end of 2012, and get not only a redesign but also new options. THe two cars will sit on Ford’s new global mid-size platform, meaning an increase in reliability. Even though they will share most of the mechanics, Lincoln designers will need to really differentiate the MKZ from the Fusion, in order to attract more customers.
The Lincoln MKS will also receive its own redesign, around the end of 2011 or the beginning of 2012. The main goal is to expand the life of the larger sedan, until it will be replaced with the next generation model, sometime around 2015. Until then, it will continue to sport the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine which was introduced this year.
Sticking to sedans, it seems that Ford might be inclined to launch a smaller model, which will slot it below the aforementioned MKS. The model is set to be based on the European Mondeo, which will receive its next generation around 2012. Not much else is known, but given the popularity of the Mondeo and its long list of options, Lincoln customers looking for something a bit smaller might choose it.
The last in the sedan range, the Lincoln Town Car, doesn’t have a long life ahead of it, as it will no doubt be axed at the end of 2011, given its outdated design and seeing as how it doesn’t exactly get along with the rest of the MK range.
Moving onto crossovers, the smaller MKX has already received a redesign with the 2011 model year, as well as new options like the MyLincoln Touch infotainment system. Besides that, in the next year, the MKX will see a 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine, the same one as on the 2011 Ford Explorer, join the existing 3.7-liter V6. In 2014, both the Lincoln MKX and the Ford Edge will sit on the new global mid-size platform, and will also receive drastically different designs.
The Lincoln MKT isn’t exactly sitting on solid ground, as both it and its Ford sibling, the Flex, aren’t striking a chord with crossover customers. The front-wheel drive models are scheduled for a refresh at the end of 2011, when an upgraded design and more interior options will be added. Afterwards though, rumors say that 2014 might the last year for the crossovers.
Last but not least, the Lincoln Navigator is still doing pretty good, and will no doubt receive a high capacity EcoBoost engine to balance out the thirsty 5.0-liter V8. A redesign might appear around 2012 for both the Navigator and the Ford Expedition, but don’t bet on that just yet.
Previous rumors revealed that Ford might create a Lincoln version based on the 2011 Explorer, but not much has been heard since.
With all these redesigns and plenty of other surprises, Lincoln is looking pretty good. Too bad it came at the expense of Mercury.