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Louisville Ford plant will build new Lincoln SUV
Courier-Journal


Ford Motor Co. will start making a lower-priced Lincoln sport utility vehicle at its factory on Fern Valley Road starting in the spring, but has no plans to add workers or pay more overtime.

The Louisville Assembly Plant, with 4,500 employees, is already running around the clock and is on pace to produce about 380,000 Ford Escape compact SUVs this year. Ford officials would not disclose annual production of the new Lincoln MKC, but have indicated to analysts that it would be about 30,000 vehicles annually, said Michelle Krebs, senior analyst with Edmunds.com.

“They have been very good at eking out more and more production,” she said about Ford’s ability to accommodate the MKC production in Louisville with existing staff. Company production figures show 24 trial versions of the MKC were built at Louisville Assembly last month.

Steven Stone, the UAW Local 862 building manager at the Louisville Assembly Plant, did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

But Ford spokeswoman Kristina Adamski said adding another vehicle to the Louisville plant “is a testament to the strong partnership we have with the UAW and our dedicated workforce at LAP.”

The Louisville Assembly Plant reopened in 2012 after a year-long renovation that made the 1950s era factory into what Ford officials described as its most advanced plant in North America. New assembly lines were installed that give the automaker the flexibility to adjust production quickly to shifting demand — a chore that in the past would have required retooling machinery and other extensive changes.

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear touted that in a prepared statement released Wednesday but noted, “The decision to produce the Lincoln MKC at LAP is not only reflective of the plant's new capabilities, but also of the ability of our skilled and talented workforce to manufacture the kind of high-quality products that customers have come to know and love.”

Chris Poynter, spokesman for Mayor Greg Fischer, praised the new product line in Louisville.

“It is further evidence that the work between the city and the state and the union and ford to make Louisville Assembly Plant the most flexible plant in the world is paying off yet again for the city,” Poynter said.

The Lincoln MKC is the second of four new vehicles Ford is counting on to revive its luxury brand. It goes on sale in the U.S. next summer with a starting price of $33,995, making it the least expensive vehicle in Lincoln's lineup.

While the MKC shares the skeleton of the cheaper Ford Escape, the design — and most of the parts — are completely different. Past Lincolns have been criticized for looking too much like their Ford cousins. This new vehicle sits lower to the ground, and is wider than the Escape.

Max Wolff, Lincoln's chief designer, said the company went to great lengths to give the MKC a different look. The tailgate, for example, wraps around the back of the vehicle. It is specially made by a supplier in Canada because Ford's stamping plants can't make such a complicated design.

The new SUV is expected to compete with the BMW X3, the Audi Q5, the Acura RDX, and the Mercedes GLK, said Krebs, the Edmunds.com analyst.

“What we are seeing is a downsizing of luxury,” she said, adding the market is growing for less expensive luxury vehicles.

Lincoln’s debut in this slice of the luxury SUV market is striking the right notes, according to Dave Sullivan, an analyst with the consulting firm AutoPacific.

"I'm optimistic about it. They did everything they needed to do," Sullivan said. Lincoln showed the MKC to media and analysts last week at the suburban Detroit estate of Henry Ford's son, Edsel, who ran the Lincoln brand in the 1920s and 1930s.

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I wonder what is so complicated about the tail gate that they have to out source this work
Did you see that tailgate open??? Is a big one piece of round metal , curved and with a very complicated form. Only Audi have something like that
 

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Lincoln expects to sell 36k MKC units annually. Which is over 10k more a year than the current MKX and matching the RDX annual sales.
 

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Lincoln expects to sell 36k MKC units annually. Which is over 10k more a year than the current MKX and matching the RDX annual sales.
Based on the looks and equipment, this thing could sell more than that. I predict some arround 50000 annually
 

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there has been some marketing and distribution drawbacks in the process why the brand is not so well spread and known .. if to talk about the most of the Asian countries as variety of luxury car makers are doing good here
 
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