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Flat Rock Plant Likely Choice for 2017 Lincoln Continental

Nick Bunkley
Automotive News
June 11, 2015 - 12:02 pm ET

DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. won’t build the 2017 Lincoln Continental at the same plant that currently makes the MKS sedan, freeing up some capacity to build more of the hot-selling Explorer, the company said today.

Ford hasn’t said where it will make the Continental, but industry sources said they expect it to be assembled in Flat Rock, Mich., alongside the Fusion. The Continental will be built on an extended version of the Fusion platform, the sources said, whereas the MKS shares its underpinnings with the Taurus.

“Chicago Assembly Plant is vital to our global manufacturing footprint and will continue to manufacture the Ford Taurus, Ford Explorer and Police Interceptor vehicles even after we phase out production of the MKS in 2016,” Ford said in a statement today. “We will continue to match production to demand.”

The statement echoes comments earlier this week by Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of the Americas, who spoke to the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce during a visit to mark the start of production of the refreshed 2016 Explorer.

“When the Continental comes out next year, the Lincoln fades away,” Hinrichs told the chamber, according to the Times of Northwest Indiana. “But once it fades away, we’re going to use that capacity to make more Explorers.”

Explorer sales are up 15 percent this year through May, compared to declines of 30 percent for the Taurus and 19 percent for the MKS. Those figures include Police Interceptor versions of the Explorer and Taurus, which are built at Chicago Assembly and upfitted by a nearby subsidiary.

Ford built 8,324 of the MKS in Chicago last year, vs. 284,993 of the Explorer and 73,355 of the Taurus.

A Ford spokesman declined to comment today on production plans for the Continental, saying the plant location would be revealed closer to the vehicle’s launch next year.

The Flat Rock plant, formerly run as a joint venture with Madza Motor Corp., is one of the few Ford plants in the U.S. with capacity to build the Continental. It makes the Mustang in addition to the Fusion.

The plant is scheduled to be down for four consecutive weeks, from June 15 until July 13, twice as long as the traditional summer shutdown, according to the Automotive News Data Center. Chicago Assembly is one of five Ford plants scheduled for only a one-week shutdown to boost output.

The extended shutdown at Flat Rock would allow for some retooling in preparation for a new nameplate. The plant also is scheduled for two weeks of downtime in September.

F-150 update

Also today, Ford officials told workers who build the F-150 pickup in Dearborn, Mich., that a shortage of supplier-built frames for the truck has reduced production by 13,500 units in the past few months, a worker who attended the meeting told Automotive News.

The company expects to make up that lost production with additional Sunday overtime shifts in the second half of the year, the worker said.

Ford has refused to discuss or even confirm the frame shortage, which has forced it to cancel some overtime shifts and end some regular shifts early. The frames come from a plant in Elizabethtown, Ky., run by Mexico-based Metalsa S.A. de C.V.

Ford does not report F-150 sales separately, but it sold 302,009 F-series from January through May, a 1.1 percent decline from the first five months of 2014.

http://www.autonews.com/article/201...ncoln-production-to-free-up-explorer-capacity
 

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Re: Ford to move Lincoln production to free up Explorer capacity

It would be nice if Ford pulled the MKZ out of Mexico and into Flatrock along with the rumored Continental and Mustang, they could control the quality alot better. Leave Hermosillo as a dedicated Fusion plant.
 

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Re: Ford to move Lincoln production to free up Explorer capacity

TY, iculookn :thumb:
Nick Bunkley said:
...Ford hasn’t said where it will make the Continental, but industry sources said they expect it to be assembled in Flat Rock, Mich., alongside the Fusion. The Continental will be built on an extended version of the Fusion platform, the sources said, whereas the MKS shares its underpinnings with the Taurus.

“Chicago Assembly Plant...will continue to manufacture the Ford Taurus, Ford Explorer and Police Interceptor vehicles even after we phase out production of the MKS in 2016,” Ford said in a statement today...

The statement echoes comments earlier this week by Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of the Americas, who spoke to the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce during a visit to mark the start of production of the refreshed 2016 Explorer.

“When the Continental comes out next year, the Lincoln fades away,” Hinrichs told the chamber, according to the Times of Northwest Indiana. “But once it fades away, we’re going to use that capacity to make more Explorers.”...

...The Flat Rock plant, formerly run as a joint venture with Madza Motor Corp., is one of the few Ford plants in the U.S. with capacity to build the Continental. It makes the Mustang in addition to the Fusion.

The plant is scheduled to be down for four consecutive weeks, from June 15 until July 13, twice as long as the traditional summer shutdown, according to the Automotive News Data Center. Chicago Assembly is one of five Ford plants scheduled for only a one-week shutdown to boost output.

The extended shutdown at Flat Rock would allow for some retooling in preparation for a new nameplate. The plant also is scheduled for two weeks of downtime in September...
so
we're FINALLY getting some info

'course there's still a LOT I want to know...
re: Chicago: can't see any other models from there changing until the Explorer moves to a new platform
 

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Ford to move Lincoln to free up Explorer Production

I think we already knew this, but now Ford is talking about it. They do confirm that Taurus production will remain in Chicago while Lincoln is moved. FlatRock is expected to switch over to Continental over the next 4 weeks during the extended shut-down period, but no announcement was made (except that the union was told they are getting a new Lincoln in FlatRock).

http://www.autonews.com/article/201...ncoln-production-to-free-up-explorer-capacity
 

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Re: Ford to move Lincoln production to free up Explorer capacity

Not sure about the whole platform issue being the reason for vehicle production location.

Flat Rock(sounds like a company from the Flintstones) has the 'overflow' production for Fusion, but also produces the Mustang on a different performance vehicle platform. As we know Ford can produce vehicles on at least 4 different platforms at one plant. So the idea of production of the Continental at Flat Rock does not mean it's also riding on a version of a Fusion platform. It could....but Ford is still not saying.

While at the same time, it makes sense for the New Taurus to move to Flat Rock also, since they should be sharing the same. Which actually opens up capacity for the Explorer than the 8k the MKS will by leaving, and really opens up capacity for the Lincoln Aviator at Chicago with the Explorer on their new platform.

And alongside the Mustang will be the Lincoln Coupe(LincStang).

This means we should be hearing of a vehicle leaving the Michigan Assembly Plant to make room for the Lincoln MKA. Maybe the Focus Hatch was missing in the future plan for a reason. With the New Lincoln MKA and New Focus Sedan sharing a platform.

It seems Ford will continue to pair up Ford/Lincoln models for into the future:

Focus - MKA
Mustang - LincStang
Fusion - MKZ
Taurus - Continental
Edge - MKX
Explorer - Aviator
Expedition - Navigator
 

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Re: Ford to move Lincoln production to free up Explorer capacity

^ Thanks, Borg, you reminded me that I meant to say
...down for four consecutive weeks, from June 15 until July 13, twice as long as the traditional summer shutdown...

...also is scheduled for two weeks of downtime in September...
I wonder if the first, 4 week shutdown will be used mainly for clearing out whatever needs to go PLUS facility (building) changes,
then
the 2 week downtime will be finishing installing new equipment?

OR
would all those changes be more likely in June/July
and the September break would be used for prototype & pre-production fine tuning (with fewer people around to see what's happening)??
 

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Re: Ford to move Lincoln production to free up Explorer capacity

The MKS hardly made a dent in production capacity so I have a hard time imaging this really changes things much in Chicago, but they certainly couldn't build a new Continental. I imagine they would like to get the Taurus out of there however, but conceivably it could remain until the next-gen Explorer switches everything out.

Right now it's hard to imagine Lincoln Continental production will begin next month without an official unveiling. If they have a shut-down planned for September then maybe they'll prep this summer and move in this September. The extended break could also be from slowing sales of Fusion this year, I'm not sure what their inventory is right now. Flatrock builds most of the Fusion fleeters so changes in that business or strategy probably drive down sales.

The Hermosillo plant is actually a much more modern plant than FlatRock and is building all the higher trim Fusions and the MKZ. I wonder if the shutdown is part of a broader modernization plan.
 

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Re: Ford to move Lincoln production to free up Explorer capacity

...Flat Rock(sounds like a company from the Flintstones)...
:clap: we should start calling it BedRock!!!

...As we know Ford can produce vehicles on at least 4:clap: different platforms at one plant...
since-WHEN and Where did "we" learn that??

...So the idea of production of the Continental at Flat Rock does not mean it's also riding on a version of a Fusion platform. It could....but Ford is still not saying...
the Mustang is now ON the same assembly line as the Fusion
so
nothing is proven either way, imhO

...While at the same time, it makes sense for the New Taurus to move to Flat Rock also, since they should be sharing the same...
since-WHEN and Where did "we" learn that??

...Which actually opens up capacity for the Explorer than the 8k the MKS will by leaving, and really opens up capacity for the Lincoln Aviator at Chicago WHEN the Explorer('s) on their new platform...
fixed^
CarWars said 2019MY/cy2018 for the Aviator ......... fwiw



...And alongside the Mustang will be the Lincoln Coupe(LincStang)...
:thumb: + :clap: + :duck: +
+


...This means we should be hearing of a vehicle leaving the Michigan Assembly Plant to make room for the Lincoln MKAbomination. Maybe the Focus Hatch was missing in the future plan for a reason. With the New Lincoln MKA and New Focus Sedan sharing a platform...
can'o'worms^^^
I'm sticking with A.M.P for now
 

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Re: Ford to move Lincoln production to free up Explorer capacity

another take...

Ford is killing off the Lincoln MKS sedan
- USA Today

Kelsey Mays, Cars.com
June 11, 2015

...Lincoln plans to cease production of the full-size sedan, which shares its platform with the Ford Taurus, in 2016. The automaker's Chicago Assembly Plant will continue to produce the Taurus, Ford Explorer and their police versions...

...Lincoln reportedly plans to replace the MKS with the Continental. The imposing near-production concept made a big splash at the 2015 New York International Auto Show.

Until then, shoppers should find big discounts on the MKS. As luxury sedans go, Lincoln's flagship has a fairly narrow price range, starting around $40,000 and topping out around $55,000 with factory options...
 

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Re: Ford to move Lincoln production to free up Explorer capacity

Wait .. MKA is a thing that exists? Wow .. they better hit that out of the ballpark. Also, that hopefully means the next Ficus will be badass. THe C2 is falling behind VW and Mazda.

Is LincStag still a pipe dream?

I am worried about the wheelbase on the Conti if it's sharing a line with Fusion / Stang

Thanks all for sleuthing!
 

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Re: Ford to move Lincoln production to free up Explorer capacity

So, the Taurus stays on old platform in the US until Explorer is re-invented in mid 2018. When the new Explorer begins, it will have the Lincoln Aviator as a companion. Will the Aviator and new Explorer (civilian and police) be the only vehicles produced at Chicago?
 

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Re: Ford to move Lincoln production to free up Explorer capacity

I am still pulling for a new Wixom like plant where they can be focused on Lincoln production only.
 

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Lincoln is Killing Off the MKS

The Chicago Business Journal had a story yesterday (11 June 2015) saying that Lincoln is killing off production of the MKS, which has been produced at a Chicago area plant. No layoffs are expected at that plant as it will continue to make the Taurus and Explorer, according to the article.

If I knew how to find and post a link to the story, I would. I doubt this is surprising news to anyone, but interesting nonetheless.


Sent from AutoGuide.com Free App
 

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Re: Lincoln is Killing Off the MKS

Big on the outside, small on the inside, and heavy all over, good riddance.
 

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Re: Lincoln is Killing Off the MKS

Where is the Continental going to be built?
Don't know yet but people are guessing Flat Rock.
 

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Re: Lincoln is Killing Off the MKS

No layoffs are expected at that plant as it will continue to make the Taurus and Explorer, according to the article.
Did we ever get a final answer whether or not Ford is going to continue selling the Taurus in North America? A previous thread had discussion on this topic but to be honest it went back and forth for so long I simply gave up. (sorry, I know this is a Lincoln MKS thread but Taurus production was mentioned.)
 

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Re: Ford to move Lincoln production to free up Explorer capacity

^ merged

Wait .. MKA is a thing that exists? Wow .. they better hit that out of the ballpark. Also, that hopefully means the next Ficus will be badass. THe C2 is falling behind VW and Mazda.

Is LincStag still a pipe dream?

I am worried about the wheelbase on the Conti if it's sharing a line with Fusion / Stang

Thanks all for sleuthing!
imho we should just 'go-postal' about an MKAbomination, until FoMoCo comes to their senses...
...like when they wanted to kill the Mustang and build the Probe instead

&
imhO, it'd make sense to bring out a stretched Z (MARK) with a higher pricetag (not just for China) and eventually/if sales support it,
(when LincStangs come out)(maybe) delete the smaller original Z from the lineup


I am still pulling for a new Wixom like plant where they can be focused on Lincoln production only.
I'm starting to have this feeling too, Andrew
tho
have no idea where/how they could do it
 

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Re: Lincoln is Killing Off the MKS

Did we ever get a final answer whether or not Ford is going to continue selling the Taurus in North America? A previous thread had discussion on this topic but to be honest it went back and forth for so long I simply gave up. (sorry, I know this is a Lincoln MKS thread but Taurus production was mentioned.)
Ford recent quote is that once the MKS production stops in 2016, the Taurus production will continue. What could be happening is that MKS is ending production in 2016 to make way for the New Continental, that would share the same platform with the New Taurus at the Chicago Plant.

If we think about it, ending the 8k units of the MKS annually won't really help Explorer production much. I think the article was more about a promotion for the 2016 Explorer and to announce the end of production for the MKS in 2016.
 
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