DETROIT -- Lincoln vehicles will be dramatically different from Ford brand products, Ford Motor Co. executives said last week.
"The strategy isn't just new products, but full differentiation from the Ford brand in not only design but in technology," Derrick Kuzak, Ford's group vice president of global product development, told a group of auto analysts at the Detroit auto show.
Kuzak said Lincoln vehicles will get some of their own powertrains.
Meanwhile, Lincoln plans to eliminate at least 200 dealership franchises in the top 130 U.S. markets. Dealers who want to stay must agree to facility upgrades and other changes.
Many Lincoln dealers want to know details about Lincoln's future lineup before making that decision.
Kuzak said Ford can tweak existing Ford platforms for Lincoln. For example, he said, consider Ford's power steering or chassis electronic control. "Imagine adding suspension control to that and what would happen to the platform if you did that on Lincoln only," he said.
Ford's plans for Lincoln products also include newly designed interiors, more V-6s, and upgraded features such as paddle shifters and all-wheel drive, Scott Tobin, Lincoln's director of product development, told Automotive News.
But a rear-wheel-drive Lincoln is not in the plans, Tobin said.
It's unclear what will happen to the waterfall grille.
"I love the waterfall grille," Tobin said. "We'll continue to evolve the front end, though. It'll evolve."
Ford discontinued its Mercury brand on Dec. 31. Earlier, Ford sold Volvo, Jaguar and Land Rover. Ford said it now has more money to rebuild its remaining luxury brand, Lincoln.
Ford CEO Alan Mulally told auto analysts Ford won't make Lincoln a global brand any time soon.
"Our focus right now is in the United States because we have a lot of brand equity," Mulally said. "And we didn't tarnish the brand. We just didn't invest in it."