According to AN, "industry sources" claim the Continental will join the Ford Mustang and Ford Fusion – on which the big Lincoln is loosely based – at the company's Flat Rock, MI factory. The move isn't just based on convenience, though. Ford is selling a lot of Explorers, and shifting Lincoln production away from Chicago Assembly frees up production capacity for the popular SUV.
"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 told Automotive News. "We will continue to match production to demand."
Looking at the numbers further backs up the argument against Lincoln production in Chicago. Last year alone, Ford built nearly 285,000 Explorers and over 73,000 Taurus sedans, compared to just 8,300 Lincolns.
Finally, as AN tells it, Ford is almost telegraphing the Continental's arrival in Flat Rock. The facility has a four-week shut down scheduled from June 15 through July 13, which is twice as long as the typical summer vacation, while there's another two weeks off slated for September.