• Jul 27, 2009
Lincoln Concept C - Click above for high-res image gallery

If The Blue Oval boys intend to keep buyers filing into Lincoln and Mercury showrooms over the next few years, each brand's product portfolios are going to need a bit more than a simple nick-and-tuck to compete with the best from around the world. To that end, expect Lincoln to continue making the switch from large, rear-wheel drive SUVs and old-tech luxury barges to smaller, more nimble premium models akin to the next-gen Focus-based compact Concept C that was introduced earlier this year at the Detroit Auto Show. Around the same time, the very last Lincoln Town Car will roll ingloriously down the assembly line, replaced as it's already been in most buyer's minds by the newer MKS.

Don't expect to see a replacement for the aging Lincoln Navigator SUV any time soon, but joining the MKX and MKT mid-size crossovers may well be a new compact 'ute based on the underpinnings of the next-gen Ford Escape, Mercury Mariner and Ford Kuga (for Europe, at least). Speaking of Ford's interplanetary brand, it's reportedly finally confirmed Mercury has a future products in the pipeline. Starting small – which seems to be a definite theme for Mercury and Lincoln – Mercury should get its own version of the next Focus, probably as a 2012 model.

A year later in 2013, the Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan and Lincoln MKZ are all scheduled to get a new front-drive mid-size platform that will thankfully share its guts with the European Ford Mondeo. The Mercury Mariner and Ford Escape twins along with the expected Lincoln crossover should show up late in 2011. Finally, the body-on-frame Grand Marquis and Mountaineer will make the long, cold walk to the automotive graveyard within the next few years. Somehow, we doubt many will miss their absence.




[Source: Automotive News - sub. req'd]


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  • 54 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      I finally figured out what the MKS is the other day, its a better Acura RL. But that in itself is faint praise. The quality of the materials are getting better and so are the designs but while trying to cut costs and fuel emissions Ford is sufering from making the right decision to individualize these brands. As nice as the MKZ is, its just a Ford Fusion in a lincoln drab...the MKS is a really nice looking car but is it really near $50K good when you know its just a fancy Taurus? When someone buys a luxury car they dont want to have explain why they bought the lincoln instead of a real luxury car like an E Class or its ilk. I had high hopes for Lincoln when they debuted the MKR, it was daring and had everyone saying "thats a lincoln?!" but they wimped out by not doing it RWD style with Twin Force (eco boost term doesnt belong on a luxury car...sounds too much like economy boost bleh!) Are they doing better than GM and Chrysler and better as a whole? Yeah but like someone said earlier they need exciting or at the very least interesting products.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Mercury has obviously become a badge-brand, as I like to say, and not a very good one at that. However, in my opinion, Mercury was once a great, well-polished brand, that unfortunately was dropped into the muck of failed designs. Mercury, in all honesty, just needs some cleaning up to become nice and refined once more. Mercury has a lot it could use. Mercury should focus from sub-compact to mid-sized, yes this even includes SUVs and crossovers. Although I would like to see a full-sized crossover with a Mercury badge on it, it wouldn't be necessary. Mercury should have 2 coupes. A smaller segment (similar in size to the Miata) and call it the Marauder and a mid-sized and name it the Cougar. Have a sub-compact called the Madrid, a compact called the Munich (bad name I know...), the mid-sized sedan, Milan, and a different model, a mid-sized wagon/crossover, the Monaco. Keeping the Mariner would be nice, since it offers a bit more of a refined offering of the Escape (my grandpa has one, and it is nice).

      Lincoln is doing fine. A compact might be questionable from Lincoln. Not sure if they could pull it off. The current theme of Lincoln is beautiful, and I can't wait to see the new MKX!!!!
        • 5 Years Ago
        The Turnpike Cruiser was simply an upscale standard Mercury, which shared everything under the skin with the '57-58 Ford. Same with the original 1958-60 Park Lanes.

        The '67-73 Cougar had different exterior styling, but really was just a rebodied Mustang.

        And the original Marquis? Same roofline as the Galaxie 500XL, on which it was based.

        So these cars weren't vehicles unique to Mercury, per se. But you're right about one thing: they did fill a separate niche than their downmarket Ford cousins.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I meant to mention this. Ford needs to bring over the Mondeo and call it the Milan and bring over the Kuga and call it the Mariner.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Mercury a great brand? When was that? It has always been a rebadged muddle.

        Mercury is dead. Put a stake through its heart and bury the poor thing.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Uh, Farmboy,

        Name one "Mercury design" of the '40s, '50s, '60s, or '70s (excluding the Euro Capri) that didn't have an equivalent Ford companion.

        I got news for you - they were ALL Ford designs with varying amounts of differences.

        What cars, particularly in the '70s, were evidence of Mercury trying to distance itself from Ford? The Bobcat was a retrimmed Pinto. The Comet was a retrimmed Maverick. The Zephyr was a retrimmed Fairmont Futura. The Monarch was a retrimmed Granada. The Cougar went from being a Mustang with different body panels to a retrimmed Elite to a retrimmed LTD II. The Montego was a Torino with different body panels. The Monterey/Marquis was a retrimmed Galaxie/LTD. So other than the Euro Capri (which gave way to a retrimmed Mustang by 1979), which was simply a Ford of Europe import, I fail to see how Mercurys have been very differentiated from Fords since...well...ever.

        That said, I too think that with enough creativity, the right products, and the right marketing, Mercury can become a viable brand again. But it'll take a lot of skill and a little time. And since Mercury isn't COSTING Ford anything, but adding to sales with minimal investment, they've got time on their side.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Sorry Farmboy, but it's absolute fact that most Fords and domestic cars from the 70s were utter crap. It's beyond opinion. Strange gaudy baroque styling with pimptastic design accoutrements, gas guzzling yet underpowered engines, the handling of a Boston Whaler and all the quality of materials and assembly of a Fisher Price pedal car. That having been said, there's no reason why you can't love them, and if truth be told, the 70s were not a great decade for cars as manufacturers struggled to meet new US emission and safety regulations. Plus, it was just a cheesy tasteless decade.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Actually Jared, during the 40s and 50s, Mercury had its own designs. The brand was also working to distance itself from Ford models throughout the 70s.
        • 5 Years Ago
        That's the kind of attitude that killed Pontiac. Is Mercury pretty much down for the count? Yeah, it may have a couple punches left in it though? You treat the market Mercury gains like a bad thing. So what if Mercury has great sales in the senior citizen market? Maybe that's the intention. Entry-level luxury seems to have a flair to the elder population. It is a market where performance and hot looks don't always appease. So if Mercury doesn't appeal to you, just move on to another brand. After all, Mercury is becoming a lower volume brand which is where it will probably stay for a while. No problem with that. And for the 70s Fords being crap, that is your own opinion.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Farmboy: The 40's and 50's? How many buyers alive now remember Mercury from those days, other than a few Mercury fanatics?

        As for the '70s, most all Fords of that age were execrable, and Mercury was no exception. Outside of the Capri (sold overseas as a Ford), most everything Mercury sold was crap. The Cougar was a secretary's car and everything else was just a rebadged Rod.

        Yes, I drove cars of that era, including a '69 Ford Falcon (a reliable car), '72 Ford wagon (complete POS), '72 Capri (lovely little car, good performance and handling for the day, excellent shifter, not so great reliability).

        Ford is the volume line. There is room for Lincoln as a luxury line, though Lincoln has a huge amount of work to do on its products and its brands.

        Mercury? I don't see the room for it between the Ford and Lincoln brands. For the past 25 years it has simply been a rebadged Ford, known mostly for the Mercury Marquis bought by your grandfather in Florida. Mercury has no brand value left. It is done.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Or more accurately, now that they've launched the MkS, and soon the MkT, their developers are moving away from the gigantic things they've just created to the smaller things they haven't yet created. I fail to see how this represents a shift away from large vehicles to small ones.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Or even more accurately, they created the giant profit makers to generate the cash to produce smaller less profitable brand booster uppers.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Today, Lincoln needs Mercury's volume to survive until Ford can refill their pipeline with small/medium for Mercury and medium/large for Lincoln. I love the Concept-C for Lincoln because it creates a new segment with the footprint of a Focus and interior volume of an MKZ (or bigger) and it should handle like a gocart with an EcoBoost drivetrain.

      Bottomline: Lincoln should build the Concept-C ASAP! Its polarizing and that's what sells and makes money! Also, replace the TownCar with a stretched MKS.
      • 5 Years Ago
      C'MON

      NICE RETOUCH OF A

      RENAULT VEL SATIS.

      Another "copy"/"paste" of some bored/uncreative designer.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I find it rather humorous that this post about Lincoln/Mercury moving to smaller platforms sits right above a post about Alfa Romeo not bringing the MiTo here because they think it's too small for the U.S.

      • 5 Years Ago
      Looks as if the wheel width/stance is wider than the body.

      What's up with that?

      W. Kirk Crawford
      Tularosa, New Mexico
        • 5 Years Ago
        It's for people like Larry Craig.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I really want to see the Concept C (MKC?), but I also want to see some of the mid-size to large vehicles in Lincoln shift to (monocoque) RWD platforms.
      Furthermore, as it seems like Mercury won't be getting any truly unique cars/platforms and all of its cars will only differ from the Ford counterparts by the front and rear ends, why not just kill the Mercury brand and make it into an appearance package on Ford vehicles? It sounds like a great plan IMO.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I hope that lincoln concept isn't it.

      Mercury could down-size and go up-market from the ford base econo-boxes.

      Lincoln should stay bigger. I have wondered if even MKZ is too small for a Lincoln, and Milan with some of MKZ's features should just be the sole alternative to Fusion.

      FWD premium mercuries, and large-car Lincolns, meeting in the middle with a 4-model matrix of sport sedan and coupe.

      Mercury sport touring coupe, Lincoln MK-IX (mark nine) grand touring luxury coupe.
      Mercury Marauder sport touring sedan, Lincoln MKR grand touring sleek-sedan.

      The Mercurys offering more performance than luxury, more of a value competitor for Audi, Infiniti, and under-cutting BMW, near where G8 was, under CTS. 3500lbs, mid-size, RWD, with a mix of good V6 engines, and limited edition V8 special performance model. (mercury equivalent to SVT), with clean, slight european styling.

      The Lincolns would be more luxurious, more expensive, art-deco styled. V6 and touring V8 options. (tuned for more torque, smoother, quieter power) More of an American Jaguar, now that Jaguar isn't crowding Lincoln down-market anymore. Competing with CTS, Lexus IS/GS, and MB CLS (better styling than CLS) and the like.

      The Lincolns would be a bit more generous in dimension than the Mercurys, but basically the same underpinnings and hard points. Probably closer to 3800lbs... Smaller than MKS, but not quite as close to compact as MKZ appears. Longer, lower, and a wider stance, with a lower roof, and a sleek take on the new split grille. Like Mark VIII's nose with the split grille and an angry-eye, down-brow aggressive look, and a more athletic look aft of the grille.

      If Lincoln and Mercury meet at that point, they could each spread out from there. Mercury coming up to that point from premium-equipped front-drivers like the euro-Fords... Lincoln starting from that point and going up to MKS town car (as in a type of car, not their trademark model name Town Car), MKT and MKX CUVs.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Mercury should be 'downsized' out of existence.
      • 5 Years Ago
      So, where does the Mercury Messenger fit into all of this. I'm still waiting on that. The Messenger and the Ford Interceptor are the only two concepts that I have been excited for. Everything else has been "eh" at best... ok, I liked the Lincoln Continental and the Mark IX concepts from almost a decade ago, but still that four concepts over the past 10 years that I've liked, not just from Ford, but the entire industry. There's a reason I bought a Grand Marquis.
      • 5 Years Ago
      For the Mercury version of the Fiesta they should call it the Mercury Verve as the Fiesta concept was known. For the Focus name it the Mercury Tracer.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Makes good sense to me.
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