CHICAGO -- Ford Motor Co. will decide within 12 months whether to replace the Lincoln Town Car with an all-wheel-drive, V-8-powered sedan developed by stretching the platform for the 2005 Ford Five Hundred.
"We have a number of alternatives we are looking at, and that is one of the alternatives," said Paul Mascarenas, executive director for medium and large front-drive and all-wheel-drive platforms.
"We are not scheduled to decide until probably around the third quarter of next year, when we have to have a firm decision and an approved program," Mascarenas said. He was interviewed at a Ford event here.
The mid-sized, fwd 2005 Five Hundred sedan and Ford Freestyle sport wagon, and the 2005 Mercury Montego sedan, are based on Volvo vehicle architecture. All three go on sale next month, and each will offer awd.
Mascarenas did not reveal all of the alternatives. But he said keeping the Panther platform on which the Town Car is assembled is an option. That platform dates to 1978 and is shared by the Ford Crown Victoria and Mercury Grand Marquis.
Suppliers familiar with the company's plans expect the redesigned Town Car, and possibly the LS replacement, to be developed on the platform shared by the Five Hundred, Freestyle and the Montego.
The new Lincolns are expected to be assembled at Ford's Atlanta assembly plant in 2007 or 2008, they say.