As part of the launch of its luxury brand in China, the first step in its strategy of making Lincoln into a global brand, Ford Motor Company used AutoChina 2014, aka the Beijing auto show, to debut the next version of Lincoln’s MKX midsize crossover. The reveal of the MKX Concept is the first time that Lincoln has ever introduced a new vehicle outside of the United States, and focus groups in both the United States and China were consulted in the crossover’s design. The new MKX will likely go on sale in both countries sometime in the first part of 2015.
Matt VanDyke, who is in charge of Lincoln’s international effort, stressed China’s important role to Lincoln in remarks to Automotive News:
“Lincoln in China has our full attention in product development. “We’re not developing products for the U.S. and seeing if they work there. We are developing out of our global design studio products that we clinic and research in Huangzhou and Beijing and Shanghai and Pasadena, not the other way around.”
At the same time that Lincoln was introducing the new MKX, the company announced its retail and initial product plans for the Chinese market. This fall eight dealerships in seven cities will be the first wave of what the brand plans to be 60 stores in 50 cities by the end of 2016. To start out with, just two Lincoln models will be offered, the midsize MKZ sedan, and the new MKC compact crossover. Both of those vehicles will be exported from Ford’s North American operations. The recently restyled Lincoln Navigator SUV will join them, along with the new MKX, next year.
While those first eight dealerships are being prepared to coincide with the auto show and introduce the brand to Chinese consumers, Lincoln set up a display called The Lincoln Space in an area of central Beijing that is filled with pedestrians. Lincoln hopes to have an addition dozen stores set up by the end of this year. The first dealers will open in Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Xi’an, Guangzhou, Huangzhou and Chengdu. A high level of service is intended to distinguish Lincoln dealers from other luxury brands. Service bays will have multiple cameras so customers can monitor work being done on their cars.
Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS