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by Jay Traugott
Lincoln is in trouble and a RWD sports sedan could be the answer.
In a little less than two years, at the 2014 New York Auto Show to be exact, Ford will be revealing their completely redesigned 2015 Mustang. It will be a huge event not just because the new model is a Mustang, but also because it'll be the 50th anniversary of the iconic pony car. For anyone who knows their Mustang history, Ford at one time looked to replace the rear-wheel-drive Mustang with the front-wheel-drive Probe.
Obviously that didn't happen, but Ford was concerned about the future of a RWD sports car due to the rising gas prices during the 1979 energy crisis. While gas is still expensive today, the Mustang has never been better. It's still RWD and its upcoming replacement's platform will remain that way as well, albeit with an independent rear suspension. It's not cheap to develop an all-new platform, but Ford knows it's a worthwhile investment simply because it's for the Mustang. But what about sharing that platform with another model, say from Lincoln? Apparently that could be a possibility.
According to a report from Car & Driver, Lincoln product planners would very much like to get their hands on this new RWD platform with the goal of building a new flagship sedan. Lincoln is currently struggling and its most direct rival, Cadillac, has several models with RWD. Their entry-level ATS, for example, should give the BMW 3 Series a run for its money along with other German competitors. The best Lincoln now has is a rebadged and re-skinned Ford Fusion, the 2013 MKZ. The MKS, meanwhile, is simply a more expensive Taurus with a better interior. What to do? Get a RWD model and the new Mustang's platform could be the answer.
If Ford engineers are able to stretch this platform enough, we could be looking at a proper Cadillac CTS/5 Series competitor as Lincoln's new flagship. However, nothing is definite just yet because Ford will likely want a sedan version of their own and this could cause potential branding issues. But if Ford is serious about keeping Lincoln alive, going with a RWD sedan is a must-have. It's now in the hands of Ford management as to whether Lincoln will actually build a proper performance luxury sedan or simply continue rebadging existing models.