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Don't know much about Lincoln in US but this is an Australian article you guys might find interesting

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Lincoln shows its global luxury hand
First Published:
Wednesday, April 18, 2001


This is the car Ford's Lincoln division hopes will help it win back America and take on the world.

Unveiled at this week's New York International Auto Show, the MK 9 concept is said to point to Lincoln's future design direction.

If you're at all interested in global trends and the world's biggest car market, this is a significant vehicle. It is a pointer to the car Lincoln hopes will help it win back its title as the maker of America's favourite luxury car. It's also an indication of the car Lincoln says will help it become a major player internationally.

Once king of the US luxury car market, Lincoln now sits fourth, behind Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and BMW. Cadillac is now fifth.

And, although Ford has bought its fair share of luxury brands, it obviously can't count Lexus, Mercedes-Benz or BMW among them. Nor can GM, which has announced it will tip a further $US4 billion into Cadillac in an effort to leap-frog its luxury brand back up the order.

Lincoln's Town Car - an anachronism to Australian eyes and a car whose buyers averaged 60 years of age - was America's biggest selling luxury car until Lexus and the Germans stepped in. Obviously, times have changed.

The all-new Lincoln MK 9 coupe concept you see here is the basis of the cars Ford's American luxury car division hopes will help it take on the Japanese and Europeans. Or, as Lincoln Mercury president, Mark Hutchins says, it is "... the first tangible expression of the new values and philosophy that will guide Lincoln's growth in North America, and eventually, in Europe and other markets around the world.

"Lincoln's goals for the new decade are simple, but challenging: build on our strengths in North America, grow the business and achieve global desirability," Hutchins says. "Regardless of which markets the vehicles are sold in or when, Lincolns should be recognised for timeless design, indulgent comfort and effortless performance. But as they evolve, Lincolns always will be distinctively and unabashedly American."

As you can see, the MK 9 mixes retro design elements with such modern trends as machined and brushed aluminium, twin xenon headlights, LED tail lights and thigh-high wheels (22-inches, in fact).

"The Lincoln MK 9 displays a timeless elegance borne of the design's inherent simplicity and visual logic, while its overall exuberance is unmistakably American," says Lincoln Design Director Gerry McGovern, one of the leading hands behind the MGF and recruited from Ford-owned Land Rover. "During the next several years, Lincoln will build on the design direction evident in the MK 9 through new concept and production vehicles.

"It is appropriate for Lincoln, as an American brand, to claim automotive design leadership," McGovern says, "because Americans have always been very receptive to innovative design."

Perhaps appropriately, there is plenty of chrome on this new concept, too. The full-length upper shoulder line - as the designers call it - glistens with the stuff.

The traditional Lincoln grille has been "evolved", the flush-mounted door handles are aluminium and the doors themselves are hung on machined aluminium.

The big, 10-spoke aluminium alloy wheels are fitted with P275/45/R22 Continental tyres at the front and P295/40/R22 rears.

Inside the MK 9, there's a combination of Dark Cherry Red and Marlboro Red leathers and plenty of polished metal accents. Dark Cherry saddle leather is used for the flooring, and the headliner is white leather and studded with fibre-optic individual spotlights.

The front seats - which are cantilevered off the centre console to improve passenger foot space - are said to take their design influence from the Eames Lounge Chair, a mid-20th Century American classic.

The dashboard is symmetrical, with etched glass instruments. And controls are a combination of digital and analogue interfaces. Navigation and telematics information is displayed on a reconfigurable screen in the centre console that is operated by retractable controls that sit flush when not in use. The transmission selection is by an electronic, column-mounted "paddle" shifter.

The car is long at 5,260mm (a Falcon is 4,907mm and the Commodore's 4,884mm), and it's not quite as tall as a Commodore (1,423mm vs 1,450mm). Front and rear overhangs are l-o-n-g, too. Try 900mm at the front and 1,265mm rear.

Will the MK 9 make it to production? And will it - or the cars which take its design cues - be good enough to convince the Americans to put Lincoln back on their shopping lists? And will it, or Lincolns like it sell in Europe, or even Australia?

They're all intriguing questions. Watch this space.

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