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Lincoln may come Down Under

American luxury: The MKZ Hybrid (pictured) and other Lincoln models could find their way Down Under within five years.

Australia could be part of a global push for Ford luxury brand Lincoln by 2015

4 Oct 2010

FORD will embark on a global push for its Lincoln luxury brand outside North America and into Asia-Pacific markets, possibly including Australia by 2015.

Ford Motor Company president and CEO Alan Mulally told journalists at the Paris motor show opening on Thursday that he expects a completely new range of Lincoln luxury models to go global within about five years.

“We’re focussing on enhancing the Lincoln luxury experience in the United States first because Lincoln’s got a great reputation in the US,” said Mr Mulally.

“The only reason we stopped the focus on it was because we had all those other luxury brands, so now our laser focus on it is really coming together. Now we can really invest and take Lincoln back up to the position it used to have.

 center imageFrom top: Lincoln MKS, Lincoln MKT, Lincoln MKX, Lincoln Navigator.

“I’ve been driving them all around the world and I think when people start to see this new Lincoln line-up there’s going to be a lot of pull from around the world.

“There’s no reason now, with our cost structure and the fact we’ve designed them to be global – we’ve looked at all the requirements around the world to make sure those are incorporated into Lincoln, too – so I think once we get Lincoln going in the US and people start to appreciate it there’ll be a lot of customer pull from around the world, especially in the Asia-Pacific region.”

Asked whether that would include Australia, Mr Mulally said: “I think that’s a question we’re going to have a chance to answer going forward.”

The global Ford chief said the revitalisation of the Lincoln brand could take up to five years in the US, where the range includes the all-new 2011 MKZ Hybrid and larger MKS and Town Car sedans, plus the MKX, MKT and Navigator SUVs.

Further afield, Lincoln also has a compact five-door hatchback with production potential in the form of the Lincoln C concept.

“Other than the seven new vehicles over the next five years, we haven’t put a timetable on that, so it’ll be over the next four or five years,” said Mr Mulally.

“Every model you see going forward has a best-in-class criteria, so the international roll-out will follow the establishment of Lincoln in the US.

“The reason for that is that Lincoln has a long history of innovation and the only reason we slowed down the investment of Lincoln was that we had all of those other luxury brands.

“So now that we have four going in the right direction with a full family that’s best-in-class, we can reinvest to return Lincoln to where it should be. It’s absolutely natural to start in the US because that’s where Lincoln started as everybody watches that, there will be great customer pull from around the world.”

Ford’s global push for the Lincoln brand after selling the Volvo, Jaguar and Land Rover brands follows General Motors’ expansion of its Cadillac markets, which was to have included Australia before the global financial crisis in 2008.

Instead, Holden is now investigating the local introduction of GM’s premium European brand, Opel.

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