DETROIT -- The Lincoln Continental, which Ford Motor Co. is bringing back to life next year to replace the slow-selling MKS sedan, will be assembled in Flat Rock, Mich., Ford said today.
The Flat Rock plant, where the Mustang sports car and Fusion sedan are also assembled, will build the Continental for export to China and other markets, in addition to the U.S., a Ford spokeswoman said.
“Good news for Flat Rock plant — future home of the all-new Lincoln Continental, which will be exported to the world and keep jobs at home!” U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., wrote on Twitter.
The announcement confirms an Automotive News report from June 11 that the Continental would be made in Flat Rock.
The MKS is built at a plant in Chicago, but Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of the Americas, said last month that Lincoln production would end in Chicago when the MKS is discontinued after the 2016 model year.
The news comes a week before Ford formally starts contract talks with the UAW, whose members include 3,100 workers at Flat Rock Assembly, about 25 miles southwest of Detroit. It follows last week’s announcement that Ford’s nearby Michigan Assembly Plant would lose output of the Focus and C-Max when those vehicles are redesigned in 2018, with production likely shifting to Mexico or another country.
Ford has not said what would replace the Focus and C-Max, but UAW officials said they are “extremely confident” Michigan Assembly, which has about 4,000 employees, would receive a new product commitment and “maintain a full production schedule.” Ford had eliminated that plant’s third shift, in response to falling demand for small cars, only a few weeks before telling the union that it would lose the Focus and C-Max entirely.
A concept version of the Continental -- a nameplate Ford discontinued in 2002 -- was unveiled at the New York auto show in April. It’s designed largely with Chinese customers in mind and is expected to share underpinnings with the Fusion, which made Flat Rock a logical site to build it.