Ford Motor Co (F.N) is expected to announce Friday that it will build a new seven-passenger luxury crossover, the Wall Street Journal said, citing two people familiar with the automaker's plans.
The three-row Lincoln MKT crossover, which is due to go into production next year, will share the same architecture as the new Ford Flex, but will feature a much sleeker design compared with the boxy Flex, the Journal said.
The Acura MDX, the Audi Q7 and the Mercedes R class would be among the competitors for the new luxury crossover, the paper said, citing people familiar with the matter.
MKT is not designed to be a large production run and the company expects annual sales in the range of the mid-20,000 vehicles, the paper said.
The new luxury crossover will mostly likely be manufactured at Ford's Oakville, Ontario plant, the Journal said. People familiar with the plans could not confirm the production schedule there, it added.
Recognizing consumer demand for fuel economy, the MKT will come only with a V-6 engine, and not the more powerful V-8. Eventually, Ford's new, more powerful Eco-Boost engine is also expected to be an option, the Journal said.
Ford did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Earlier this year, Ford abandoned a longstanding goal of returning to profitability in 2009 and accelerated plans to restructure its North American operations to produce more cars and cut back on slower-selling trucks and SUVs as fuel prices climbed.
(Reporting by Tenzin Pema in Bangalore; Editing by Kim Coghill)