Of Detroit's three automakers, Ford may have emerged the strongest from the economic crisis, but its luxury division, Lincoln, isn't looking too rosy these days.
While Cadillac has been steadily rejuvenating itself with exciting new vehicles, Buick has reinvented itself from a stodgy old-man's brand into a fresh face of entry-level luxury, and even Chrysler has a strategy in place by pairing up with Lancia, Lincoln appears to be spiraling downwards. The days of luxury behemoths like the Town Car and Navigator are behind us, and the brand's latest products have failed to fill the void.
Sources anticipate Lincoln's sales will drop below 80,000 units this year, but a plan is reportedly in place to nearly double that number by 2015.
So how does Lincoln expect to get there? According to reports, through a large cash injection from its parent company. Sources state that Ford is preparing to invest $1 billion into Lincoln over the coming years.
So what will Lincoln get for all those zeros? As many as seven new products. The Navigator will reportedly be phased out by 2016, and the MKT is tipped to be dropped in favor of a luxury version of the Ford Explorer. A Focus-based C-segment sedan and crossover are also in the works, along with a new MKS sedan.
Dearborn reportedly plans to differentiate new Lincolns from their Blue Oval-badged counterparts with fresh sheetmetal, higher specification levels and stronger engines. Will that be enough? It had better be, as Lincoln is reportedly asking its dealers – many of which lost their Mercury lines when that brand was shuttered last year – to invest heavily in their showrooms as an integral component in bringing Lincoln up to the level at which it can compete with its German rivals.