DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. is considering making a Mustang-based sporty Lincoln coupe this decade, possibly in 2009, insiders say.
The proposal, still in its early stages, would give Lincoln its first rear-drive coupe since the Mark VIII was killed in 1998.
Ford has acknowledged studying a Mustang-based Mercury. A company insider says the Lincoln proposal is more serious.
The Lincoln would have a unique interior and exterior. But it would share underpinnings with the Mustang, which was redesigned for the 2005 model year to great fanfare.
Ford has said it expects to produce at least 192,000 Mustangs this year at its Mazda joint-venture plant in Flat Rock, Mich. The highest Mustang production in recent years was 191,432 units in 1999. But that was at a different plant in Dearborn, Mich., that only produced Mustangs. In addition to the redesigned Mustang, the Flat Rock plant also is expected to build about 75,000 Mazda6 sedans, five-doors and wagons this year.
Over time, production of the Mustang and Mazda6 is likely to dip. That could free space for the Lincoln.
Lincoln spokeswoman Sara Tatchio wouldn't confirm the coupe. But she said that reviving the luxury brand's bread-and-butter large-car business takes precedence. Two new sedans are expected beginning in 2007.
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