DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. won't build the 2017 Lincoln Continental at the same plant that currently makes the Lincoln MKS sedan, freeing up some capacity to build more of the hot-selling Ford Explorer.
Ford hasn't said where it will make the Continental, but industry sources said they expect it to be assembled in Flat Rock, Mich., alongside the Ford Fusion. The Continental will be built on an extended version of the Fusion platform, the sources said, whereas the MKS shares its underpinnings with the Ford Taurus.
"Chicago Assembly Plant is vital to our global manufacturing footprint and will continue to manufacture the Ford Taurus, Ford Explorer and Police Interceptor vehicles even after we phase out production of the MKS in 2016," Ford said in a statement last week. "We will continue to match production to demand."
Explorer sales are up 15 percent this year through May, compared with declines of 30 percent for the Taurus and 19 percent for the MKS.
Ford built 8,324 of the MKS in Chicago last year, vs. 284,993 of the Explorer and 73,355 of the Taurus.
A Ford spokesman declined to comment on production plans for the Continental, saying the plant location would be revealed closer to the vehicle's launch next year.