Lincoln tests a growing segment
MKC Concept luxury compact crossover to debut this week at Detroit auto show
DETROIT -- The Lincoln MKC Concept debuts at the Detroit auto show as a vision of Lincoln's future entrant into one of the fastest-growing industry segments: luxury compact crossovers.
The segment grew 60 percent in 2012 and tripled in size over the last four years, Lincoln says. The growth has been led by vehicles such as the BMW X3, Audi Q5 and Range Rover Evoque.
Matt VanDyke, global head of marketing, sales and service for Lincoln, says the segment holds real promise for Lincoln.
"It's something we can get into and get a strong toehold," he said.
Tom Libby, forecaster for Polk, said: "It's still a small segment, but a lot of growth is anticipated" with new entries from Lincoln and Lexus.
On first glance, the cream-white MKC Concept calls to mind the Range Rover Evoque with its raked rear window and liftgate.
"This approach eliminates the traditional vertical cutline on the rear seen on utilities," Murat Gueler, MKC Concept exterior designer, said in a statement. The liftgate is dominated by an LED taillamp that runs the width of the rear end.
The MKC features a new version of the "split-wing" grille that debuted on the MKZ.
Raj Nair, Ford Motor Co.'s product development chief, said designers had to sculpt "multiple iterations" of the front end to get the proportions right.
The vehicle also has a full-length panoramic glass sunroof similar to that of the MKZ Concept. On the MKZ sedan, the optional sunroof slides over the rear window. Lincoln designers haven't said how the roof might work on the production MKC.
The interior, adorned with playful, customized accents, was designed by Lincoln interior design chief Soo Kang and her team. It features the same push-button gear selector introduced on the MKZ.
Lincoln's redesigned logo, known as a star lattice, is embossed in clusters in the leather of the seats and the floormats. Lincoln hasn't said whether such touches will be carried over to the production version.
The MKC Concept has four seats with a center console running from the front to the rear cargo area between both seats.
The MKC is the second vehicle in a new generation of Lincolns designed to lure a new generation of younger, wealthier luxury customers. The first was the MKZ sedan, which is going on sale this month. The MKZ debuted in concept form at last year's Detroit show, followed by a production debut at the New York auto show. Lincoln is likely to follow the same dual-debut strategy with the MKC, with the crossover going on sale early next year.
The MKC is built on Ford's global C platform, which is also the basis of the Focus sedan and the 2013 Ford Escape crossover.
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