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Report: Lincoln MKT, Ford Flex to be phased out at end of 2013?


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Report: Lincoln MKT, Ford Flex to be phased out at end of 2013?

by Jonathon Ramsey (RSS feed) on Aug 2nd 2010 at 10:31AM

2010 Lincoln MKT – click above for high-res image gallery

Doesn't it seem like only yesterday that Ford was in charge of seven different brands? Now The Blue Oval is down to two, Ford and Lincoln, after today's sale of Volvo to Chinese automaker Geely and the pending execution of Mercury. This means more energy and money will be available to plot success for Ford and Lincoln, and according to a report in Automotive News, that means Lincoln could get "a compact, front-drive car or crossover" (Lincoln Concept C, anyone?) and perhaps a model based on the next Ford Mondeo. Not exactly what we would have expected from Ford's luxury brand, but times change.

A small taste of what's in store for Lincoln: the MKX will get a redesign next year, the same year that the venerable Town Car dies, and, according to AN, a brand-new MKX with a design less like the Edge will appear in 2014. The MKZ gets a new look in 2013, which could be the last year for the controversial Ford Flex/Lincoln MKT and Navigator, perhaps replaced by an Explorer-based crossover or an SUV with more chops for rough terrain. Hopefully, they'll also rework that whole MK-Random-Letter approach to nomenclature as well.

The more germane revelation is this: Ford apparently believes Lincoln's success is contingent on putting lots of daylight between Ford and Lincoln engineering. Lincoln models need to be more distinct from their Ford counterparts in everything from engines to styling to feature sets. That might mean a lot more luxury features and refinement could be making their way into Lincolns soon – and that's something increasingly anxious Lincoln dealers ought to be able to get behind.



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By Mark Kleis

Leftlane brought you news just yesterday that rumors had surfaced suggesting the end of the Ford Flex and Lincoln MKT at the end of their current generation in 2014.

Now, Ford’s North American product manager, Said Deep, has confirmed to TruckTrend that the automaker has no plans to drop either model – calling the rumors false. The rumors began once talk started that the new Ford Explorer might be too similar to the Flex, which would reduce the need for the Flex and ultimately remove the justification for an update once the vehicle is due for a freshening.

However, Deep explained, “These fullsize crossovers are vital to each brand. Our Ford Flex continues to build a strong following and is one of our highest scoring vehicles in terms of customer satisfaction.”

Although Ford’s Flex has not hit the sales figures that were initially expected prior to the national economic collapse, the polarizing crossover has enjoyed a steady growth of support in the marketplace – whether or not it will remain once the 2011 Explorer lands next to the Flex on dealer lots is yet to be seen.

The Lincoln MKT, however, never truly prospered in the marketplace, likely due to its strikingly unique style that has been too off-putting for most buyers. Leftlane found the MKT to be a very comfortable and enjoyable vehicle to pilot, but stepping outside produces slightly different emotions. This dilemma likely means if Ford hopes to keep the Lincoln brand as a whole alive, as they have promised, the MKT will in fact likely remain beyond 2014, albeit with significant tweaks to the styling to make the vehicle far more appealing to the mainstream buyers.

Christian Bokich, communications manager from Lincoln, told Leftlane Lincoln continues to see the need for multiple five to seven-seater crossovers and SUVs, as the luxury segment tends to support multiple vehicles within a single brand which are relatively similar in size and function. Bokish also points out that the MKT serves a unique role as a three-row crossover, something needed to compete with the Audi Q7, the Lexus GX and several similar Mercedes-Benz models.

Bokich also made a point of reminding Leftlane that the MKT is a very fresh product in the Lincoln lineup, one that they view as important and something they are looking to continue well into the future.



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