Car manufacturers routinely introduce concept vehicles at popular auto shows to gauge customer and media feedback. Though most concepts are never built, in recent years weve seen a greater tendency for automakers to present a new idea and quickly find a way to bring that vehicle or something like it to the market.
At the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the Ford Motor Company is presenting its first-ever C-segment Lincoln concept, dubbed the MKC. This five-passenger model, riding on a compact vehicle platform, represents the smallest Lincoln ever. Likely, this concept will become a reality with Auto Trends forecasting production beginning by 2014 and the new Lincoln product hitting showrooms as a 2015 model year crossover sport utility vehicle.
The concept vehicle comes as Ford seeks to update its luxury brand. Lincoln, the segment leader as recently as 1998, has seen a steady decline in sales as luxury car shoppers flee to the competition. Indeed, even its archival Cadillac is handily beating the Lincoln brand, outselling its American competitor by a 2-to-1 margin.
Lincoln Motor Company
Ford, however, believes that Lincoln’s revival is just a new model or two away from catching on. In December 2012, Ford took out ads in major media with the theme, Introducing the Lincoln Motor Company. Those ads appeared on the eve of the introduction of its two newest models the Lincoln MKZ and Lincoln MKZ hybrid, midsize sedans. The MKZ is Lincoln’s best-selling vehicle line.
The Lincoln MKC Concept features the new face of Lincoln. Gone is the polarizing grin that dominated several models over the past few years with a new grille and sculpted hood defining the current design language.The MKC Concept features muscular shoulders, a creased beltline and sleek body lines flowing to what Lincoln describes as a clamshell liftgate. Most notable is its panoramic glass roof, a new feature that was introduced with the 2013 Lincoln MKZ.
Inside, the cabin is bright, airy and luxuriously appointed, with embroidered premium leather, elegant wood and chrome accents and an analog dashboard with digital read outs. The center stack features SYNC with MyLincolnTouch surrounded by buttons to control audio, climate and other in-cabin features.
The Lincoln MKC is a front-wheel drive model; all-wheel drive would be optional. This crossover sits on a 106.9-inch wheelbase and is 179.3 inches long by 76.1 inches wide by 63.2 inches tall. The concept is outfitted with 20-inch premium painted wheels with polished aluminum rims set within all-season radial tires.
As a concept, no powertrain arrangement has been nailed down. Given Fords success with all things EcoBoost, a 2.0-liter in-line four cylinder engine seems likely. Thats the same engine offered in the Lincoln MKZ, a 240-horsepower motor paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. A diesel for overseas markets seems possible, while a hybrid edition should not be ruled out.
Bringing the MKC Concept to the market would have Lincoln pitting this crossover against some highly formidable competition including the BMW X1. Other small crossovers include the Acura MDX, Audi Q5 and the Infiniti EX. Cadillac is exploring the market and within a few years this booming segment is expected to be populated by models across the brand spectrum. Thus, the Lincoln MKC Concept may be green-lighted for production as early as this month.
Photos courtesy of the Lincoln Motor Company.