DETROIT -- Lincoln's MKS concept car is a sneak peek at a long-awaited full-sized sedan for the struggling luxury brand.
Lincoln calls the MKS a teaser that strongly hints at an upcoming flagship sedan and at the brand's design direction. It is slated to be unveiled Monday, Jan. 9, at the Detroit auto show.
A production version of the car is expected as early as late 2007.
The MKS is one of two full-sized sedans being developed for Lincoln on Ford Motor Co.'s D3 car platform. Derived from Volvo, the platform also underpins the Ford Five Hundred sedan.
"What that concept does for us is say, 'OK, we're not stopping. We are going to be back,'" said Al Giombetti, Ford Motor's vice president of sales. "That's very, very important."
It has been a tough decade for Lincoln. Market share losses and an aging car lineup have taken their toll. The brand finished 2005 with an 11.4 percent sales slide in the United States.
The MKS represents the smaller and sportier of the two Lincoln sedans in development.
Lincoln hasn't said whether the production version will carry the MKS name.
The concept features all-wheel drive. A 4.4-liter V-8 engine producing 315 hp is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.
At one point, Ford Motor was preparing to build the two Lincoln sedans at its Atlanta assembly plant. But with several plants, including Atlanta, being considered for closure, it's unclear where the Lincolns will be built.
Ford's Chicago assembly plant is a possibility. The Five Hundred and other D3-based vehicles already are built there.
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