MKT Crossover Morphs Into New-Age Town Car
Law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and Canada will eagerly replace their Crown Victoria-based Ford Interceptors with Taurus- and Explorer-based Interceptors, Dearborn figures. While that jury is still out comparing the new-age Ford Interceptor with Chevy Caprice- and Dodge Charger-based cop cars, the Blue Oval's luxury division is planning something similar, using the same large front-drive platform, to replace the Lincoln Town Car in livery fleets.
Remove the third row seat from the Lincoln MKT, move the second row back about three inches and replace the standard panoramic glass roof with a steel top for better headroom, and you've got a new-age replacement for the black Town Cars that were ubiquitous in Manhattan, at least until Cadillac Escalade EXTs and Lincoln Navigator ELs began to replace them. The new seating arrangement makes for capacious rear-seat legroom and plenty of cargo space for passengers' luggage.
The switch from the Town Car's rear-wheel-drive to the MKT's FWD or AWD won't be an issue, though the switch to a unibody platform might keep some hired chauffeurs in 'Slades and 'Navis.
The body-on-frame construction of the Crown Vic-based Town Car, while prehistoric, offers the right kind of isolation for New York and Washington, D.C. roads. And body-on-frame is cheaper for repairs. Lincoln also will offer a stretch MKT chassis with a frame underneath for limousines stretched up to 120 inches.
Liveried sedans have been strong, steady business for the brand. Lincoln is expected to offer the MKT Town Car (MKT-L? MKT-EL?) early in '12. The current Town Car, last of the Fox-platform body-on-frame big Fords, ceases production next summer.
The new model is part of a Lincoln lineup refresh that promises seven all-new or updated models in four years. The next MKZ will grow slightly, to get a bit larger and add more distinction between itself and the Ford Fusion when the Fusion/MKZ platform converges with the European Ford Mondeo platform for 2013.
And the Lincoln compact, slotting in below the MKZ, will not look like the inelegant Concept C, but instead will be a somewhat more conventional looking premium hatchback sized between the new Focus and the next Fusion/MKZ (which will share components on related platforms). It's expected in the '13 model year, and will compete conceptually with the Audi A3.
The remaining five new or updated models consist of a compact crossover in model year '12, probably based on the European Kuga and originally slated for the dead Mercury brand, a facelift for the Navigator for '13, a major makeover of the MKX for '14 and major changes for the MKS and MKT for '15.
Rumors have surfaced that Ford is considering reviving Continental as a brand (as it was in 1956-57) to better compete with Cadillac, while Lincoln tackles Buick. These rumors fly in the face of Ford's future efforts to distinguish existing Lincoln models better from their Ford counterparts and bring the brand back upmarket. A new Continental model is likely, perhaps sharing the next Mustang/Australian Ford Falcon's rear-drive architecture, but a separate brand or sub-brand is not.