Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Randall at AutoBlog discusses the new D-3 platform Lincolns, but dreams of a rear wheel drive Lincoln

Randall H formerly the owner of NextGenAuto and now a writer for AutoBlog, discusses Ford and their plans for Lincoln basing many of their new models off the D-3 platform (FiveHundred/VolvoS80&XC90) including a possible new Continental. Randall writes well and I like his stuff, go check it out. Then come back to hear me rant about Lincoln's dismal future if this plays out.

The last production vehicle to carry the Continentall name was basically a stretched Taurus with a V-8. Not one that inspried and emotional response and I'm thinking sales either. I know a guy who had one and they were not great cars. So what does Ford want to do to Lincoln now? Well they want to borrow platforms from Mazda and Volvo and have a bunch of front/all wheel drive cars that nobody will want. They want to drive the stake through Lincoln's heart.

Don't get me wrong, the new Zephyr looks like a great car and with the new 3.5 V-6 and all wheel drive may be able to compete with entry level luxury cars available. But to switch the entire Lincoln line up to front/all wheel drive seems to be swimming against the tide.

Cadilac has been reborn with their new models (mostly rear wheel drive) and Chrysler is enjoying brisk sales of their new 300/Magnum lines. BMW and Mercedes have avoided front wheel drive and sold very well. Lexus and Infinity even have rear wheel drive vehicles. So why would Lincoln want to repeat Cadilac's mistake of going for front wheel drive across the board.

The Volvo S-80 and it's XC-90 crossover stablemate are fine vehicles, there's no doubt about that. And giving Lincoln one or two vehicles with front/all wheel drive is a good thing. But the talk of stretching the D-3 platform to build the new Town Car is foolish. Lincoln is bringing out the new Zephyr on the CD-3 (Mazda6/Fusion) chassis to give themselves a near luxury or entry luxury product, that's wise and may work. The new D-3 car, I had hear was to replace the Lincoln LS, that's dumb. I think Ford really screwed the pooch on that one. The LS, built on the same platform as the Jaguar S Type, had real potential and could have really challenged Cadilac's CTS (including V-Spec) had Ford given the car more power.

Ford needs to develop a new rear wheel drive platform for the US market. The Australian Falcon/Fairmont could be the source, or a completely new chassis. Some people online, talk of a new platform based on the new Mustang. Hell, something's got to be done.

I think the LS platform should be refined and adapted. It's already got IRS and a V-8. Shove the supercharger from Jag under the hood and let's have some fun blowing away Caddys

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