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Lincoln May Axe MKZ Sedan in 2019 in Favor of Zephyr

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The 2017 Lincoln MKZ is one of only a few 2017 model year vehicles to have earned an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating

2017 Lincoln MKZ

The Lincoln Motor Company has thus far enjoyed significant growth in the first two months of 2017, but the same cannot be said for its MKZ sedan. Though sales of the next-generation MKZ are up 2.2% through February, the sedan saw its sales fall 2.5% year-over-year last month, falling  firmly behind the MKX crossover as the brand’s volume leader. Where Lincoln brand sales were up 10.4% in 2016, sales of the MKZ were down 1.2% overall–despite the launch of the next-gen model.

With the tide increasingly turning to favor SUVs and crossovers, Autoline Daily reports that the MKZ could be cut from the lineup by the end of its life cycle in 2019. Citing information from AutoForecast Solutions, host John McElroy says that shifting Ford Focus production to the plant in Mexico where the MKZ is currently built will ostensibly leave the four-door midsize sedan without a home. Where plans once called for the MKZ to be shifted to Flat Rock Assembly, that plant is undergoing conversion that will see it become Ford’s hub for electric and autonomous car production.

The segment regarding the MKZ begins at 1:49 in the video below:

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While McElroy says with something approaching certainty that Lincoln will instead focus on SUVs and crossovers, AutoPacific Vice President Ed Kim is not so sure. Speaking with Motor Authority, Kim says “the MKZ name will be put out to pasture, but something functional will replace it and it will have a real name.” This would be consistent with the long-standing idea that Lincoln will replace the MKZ with the returning Zephyr namebadge.

Kim notes that the retention of a mid-size sedan is plausible because of the brand’s appeal to “older and traditional customers…[who] prefer sedans to crossovers and SUVs.” Also substantiating this is the fact that, despite its 1.2% sales downturn in 2016, the MKZ accounted for 30,534 sales in the United States, only 433 units fewer than the MKX.

Lincoln is also expected to launch a revamped Navigator SUV before year’s end and add a new crossover—likely a replacement for the MKT—by 2019.

AutoPacific anticipates that the inevitable MKZ replacement will be built on Ford’s modular D6 platform.

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News Sources: Motor Authority, Autoline Daily