Rear-Wheel-Drive Car for Lincoln
If Lincoln has a rear-drive car in the works, we hope it’s the MKR.
BY ALISA PRIDDLE, January 2008
Maybe there’s hope for Lincoln as a competitive luxury brand yet, with news that there’s a rear-drive car in the works.
At a pre-Detroit-auto-show event, Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice-president in charge of global product development, says rear-wheel drive will be important for the Lincoln brand going forward, and there is such a vehicle in the future product plan.
It’s music to our ears. We can be forgiven for thinking Ford was abdicating all rights to rear-drive performance to Cadillac and the German and Japanese luxury brands, given that the flagship Lincoln MKS sedan is a front-driver without a V-8, relying instead on the automaker’s new EcoBoost line of turbocharged direct-injection gasoline V-6 engines.
Kuzak won’t give any details on what he has in the pipeline, but we hope he has his engineers preparing the Lincoln MKR concept—from the 2007 North American International Auto Show in Detroit—for production. The sexy four-passenger sport sedan was shown on a stretched Mustang chassis.
Jim Farley, Ford’s new head of marketing, says MKS customers want dynamic steering, feel, and braking but are not necessarily performance seekers. Which sounds to us like it leaves room at the top for an eventual new flagship with power shunted rearward.
We expect some future Ford and Mercury vehicles also to be candidates for rear drive, especially as Ford has put its Australian operations in charge of a new global RWD platform. But it doesn’t look as though Ford is ready to export these cars from Down Under—freight costs and currency issues are among reasons cited for not consolidating all rear-wheel-drive car production there.
Meanwhile, the Lincoln division had better have strong shoulders because Ford keeps heaping expectations on the American luxury brand. It is taking over from Mercury as the volume leader of the two; it is leading the charge to more fuel-efficient vehicles by using the launch of the MKS to debut EcoBoost technology with its 3.5-liter V-6; and the forthcoming rear-drive entry will have to duel with some storied competitors.
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