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Lincoln Launches into Compact Luxury CUV Segment with New MKC

Detroit maker hopes to get ahead of the curve in rapidly growing segment.

by on Jan.13, 2013

A concept for now, but expect to see the Lincoln MKC compact luxury crossover return in production form.

Once one of the leaders of the U.S. luxury market, Lincoln has been little more than an afterthought in recent years — but the Ford brand is hoping to regain its former glory with an aggressive product program and, with this week’s introduction of the new MKC, it is looking to get ahead of the curve, rather than lag behind.

While the compact crossover making its debut at the North American International Auto Show is officially described as a concept fans of the Lincoln MKC prototype won’t have to wait long to see a production version enter the line-up, one of four new models the maker has promised to introduce by 2014 – with an array of additional offerings to follow in the years beyond.

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The Lincoln MKC targets one of the market’s fastest-growing segments. Sales of compact crossovers have grown 200% over the past five years in the U.S. market, and 60% in just 2012, noted Matt VanDyke, Lincoln’s new marketing chief.  And where they account for about 11% of the overall American market they’ve surged to 25% of the luxury segment.

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Honda, Lincoln to Unveil Downsized Crossovers at Detroit Auto Show

Compact CUVs among the market’s fastest-growing niches.

by on Dec.11, 2012

Honda's Urban SUV Concept will reappear after a new assembly plant opens in Mexico.

Honda plans to unveil the Urban SUV Concept at next month’s Detroit Auto Show, a crossover that will be based on the Japanese maker’s subcompact Fit model.The North American International Auto Show, as it’s formally known, will be awash with downsized crossover-utility vehicles – including the long-rumored Lincoln MKC which will share some of its basic underpinnings with the small Ford Escape, albeit trimmed out for the luxury market.

Small cars, in general, are rapidly gaining ground as fuel prices nudge ever upward. According to Ford Chief Operating Officer Mark Fields, B- and C- segment models have jumped from 13% of the overall U.S. market to 20% since 2005. And the trend is expected to continue at an even faster pace.

 

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Nowhere is that expected to be more apparent than in the compact and subcompact crossover niches. Manufacturers are rapidly adding ever-smaller crossovers such as the Buick Encore and BMW X1, both in mainstream and upscale market segments.

Honda is offering little detail other than to describe the Urban SUV as “a global concept model combining a sporty and dynamic SUV profile with a spacious, functional interior.”

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First Look: Lincoln MKZ Concept

The eagle spreads its wings.

by on Jan.10, 2012

A concept version of the new Lincoln MKZ debuts in Detroit prior to its official launch mid-year.

Can this eagle spread its wings for Lincoln?

Once one of the dominant brands in the huge U.S. luxury market, Lincoln is little more than an after-thought for most of today’s buyers, trailing far behind dominant marques like BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus – never mind its long-time domestic rival, Cadillac.

But Ford Motor Co. is hoping to put its high-line brand back on the radar screen with the upcoming launch of an all-new MKZ sedan – which debuted in concept form at the 2012 North American International Auto Show this week.

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Like the production version, which will be revealed in a couple months, the MKZ prototype is a dramatic and transformational vehicle that abandons many of the familiar Lincoln cues, starting with the marque’s familiar waterfall grille. Instead, it offers a distinctive shape literally topped by an industry-first convertible glass roof. The overall look, suggests designer Max Woolf, was inspired by an eagle spreading its wings.

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Updated MKS, MKT Only Begin Lincoln Makeover

Real change comes in January with next-gen Lincoln MKZ.

by on Nov.18, 2011

The transformation of Lincoln design gets underway with the LA unveiling of the 2013 MKS.

Hoping to turn its long-lagging Lincoln brand into a serious luxury contender, the upscale Ford division brought two important updates to the L.A. Auto Show that mark what officials call “truly the beginning” of Lincoln’s transformation.

The updates to the 2013 Lincoln MKS and MKT are relatively modest, with the sedan and crossover getting updates fascias and grilles, new wheels and modest improvements in performance and fuel economy. They’re also getting the updated versions of the MyLincolnTouch systems designed to address criticism of the infotainment technology.

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But company officials confirmed that the big news for Lincoln won’t be revealed until January at the North American International Auto Show.  TheDetroitBureau.com has learned that the centerpiece will be an all-new version of the Lincoln MKZ. The brand’s entry-luxury sedan will get an all-new look showcasing Lincoln’s new design language.  And, among other things, Lincoln will abandon its well-known “waterfall” grille.  The maker is also working on an all-glass roof that can operate like a convertible top, as well.

“This is truly marking the beginning” for Lincoln’s design renaissance, said Max Wolff, the brand’s chief designer, following the debut of the new MKS and MKT models.

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