NEW YORK -- Ford Motor Co.'s effort to take the Ford brand upscale creates a challenge in revamping the Lincoln brand, a Ford design executive says. The solution may require spending more on Lincoln product development.
"We are trying to give Ford the perception of premiumness," says Moray Callum, executive director of Ford Americas design. "That gives us an increased challenge with Lincoln."
Ford may have to spend more on materials and craftsmanship to differentiate future Lincoln products as premium luxury, Callum says.
When Ford showed the restyled 2013 Taurus sedan at the New York auto show, it touted luxury features such as large wheels for a European luxury car look and active park assist. Ford benchmarked the Audi A7 sedan when it designed the Taurus interior.
Derrick Kuzak, Ford's group vice president of global product development, said, "We have a strategy to refine and enhance the Ford products. That delivers better revenue for us.
"Lincoln will have a totally different DNA. It won't be a Ford. It'll be a Lincoln."
Kuzak says Lincoln will blend luxury design with driving "refinement." Callum adds that Lincoln's design will have its own "attitude." Neither gave details, but in an earlier interview, Kuzak said that fully retractable roofs will be exclusive to Lincoln.
Ford is expected to show a future Lincoln vehicle later this year, likely in November at the Los Angeles auto show, a source familiar with Lincoln says.
Callum says Ford has learned a lesson from General Motors' revival of the Cadillac division: End badge engineering and give luxury vehicles a distinctive design. Already, the company has split a separate Lincoln product team off from the Ford-brand product team.
"We'll have a much more dedicated Lincoln design language," Callum says. "We're treating Lincoln as a whole different brand much more so than we did in the past."c
Rick Kranz contributed to this report