We recently told you about Ford's not-so-earth-shattering announcement that shared platforms are the key to future success. Judging by your comments, this should have been the assumption rather than the proclamation. But a couple of you pointed out what could be the tragic flaw in this plan - badge engineering gone bad. Well, Peter Horbury, design chief for Ford, Lincoln and Mercury, has stepped up to assure us this won't be a problem if he has anything to say about it. And being in his position, he has a lot to say about it.

Although the marketing department seems to be capable of differentiating the various platform mates within the FoMoCo family, buyers aren't always as capable of discerning the differences. "The next step is to be independent in the areas you can see, touch and feel," said Horbury at a recent press event. Horbury added that the '08 Lincoln MKS sedan will be the best example of this separation. Although built on the same platform as the Ford Five Hundred the MKS exterior shares "not a single piece" with the Ford. "To be honest, the more differentiation we can create, the more we can build a stronger brand for Lincoln, which stands on its own," Horbury said. "It also helps to make the Fords look like something else, like something special."

Sounds good, and the results on the Zephyr/MKZ have been pretty favorable, but we'll have to wait and see. Lincoln seems to be focusing on styling touches from its glorious design past, but will it ring true with buyers?

[Source: Automotive News, sub req]

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