Lincoln plans to build five new vehicles in China by 2022. The plans are in an effort for Ford Motor Company’s luxury brand to catch up to rivals in the world’s largest auto market.
Thus far Ford has only confirmed plans to produce a new SUV in China under the Lincoln brand by the end of 2019. Although the nameplate of the SUV has not been confirmed, it is widely expected to be the all-new Lincoln Aviator, which is expected to launch next year.
Beyond the Aviator, sources have confirmed to Reuters Lincoln is planning local production of at least four other models. Production of the replacement for the MKC and MKZ are expected to follow the Aviator in early 2020, while the next-generation Lincoln Nautilus is slated to commence Chinese production in 2021.
The fifth model is rumored to be a coupe-like crossover that begins production in China in 2022. All five of these models are expected to offer hybrid variants to assist Lincoln in reaching China’s stringent emissions standards.
Localizing production is a critical element of Lincoln’s success in the Chinese market. Today all Lincoln vehicles sold in China are imported from North America, meaning they are subject to a near 25-percent tariff. The situation is stifling the brand’s ability to achieve sales volumes comparable to rivals such as General Motors’ Cadillac, who manufactures some of its models in China.
Chinese President Xi Jinping promised earlier this week to reduce the country’s stiff tariff on imported vehicles, but details of the reduction have not been offered. Local production will remove the uncertainties of trade between the U.S. and China.
Ford Motor Company was slow to launch the Lincoln brand in China, which just arrived four years ago. Since then the company has been attempting to catch up to luxury rivals in the Chinese market. The company is aiming to greatly increase sales volumes with its upcoming five new vehicles.
Last year Lincoln sold just over 54,000 vehicles in China.