Lincoln will rely on imports when it launches sales in China next year but it is also considering the option of producing vehicles in the booming market, according to a senior Ford Motor Co. executive.
The maker also will offer products tailored specifically to China – which means at least some models will get larger back seats than are currently offered on U.S. Lincoln products.
Relying on American-made products has a number of advantages, at least initially, Ford Executive Vice President Joe Hinrichs told TheDetroitBureau.com, including the ability to “establish the brand at an appropriate pace without the pressure of manufacturing which would force us to (try to) sell a lot.”
But the downside is that Lincoln will initially face “pretty substantial duties,” which can run as high as 140% on some models. The hope is that increasingly affluent Chinese luxury car buyers will be willing to absorb the extra cost. There is a “strong desire” to purchase international brands even if they cost more, asserted Hinrichs, who until recently served as Ford’s top executive for the Asia/Pacific region.