The first Lincoln Mark LT pickups will coast off the state-of-the-art Dearborn Truck Plant assembly line today as a new era begins for the Lincoln brand. The Mark LT luxury truck joins the most popular pickup in history, the Ford F-150, as the plant broadens its production portfolio.
The new truck plant opened in April 2004 as part of the $2 billion revitalization of the historic Rouge Center and is Ford's most flexibly capable plant worldwide, able to produce up to nine different models off three platforms.
"We're pleased to add another great product at Dearborn Truck Plant," said Matt DeMars, vice president, North America Vehicle Operations. "The Lincoln Mark LT will be in good company being produced alongside the world's best-selling Ford F-150 truck."
More than 200 employees - all sporting Lincoln Mark LT caps - will gather for a special ceremony to mark the occasion of the award-winning facility's second product unveiling and the start of a renaissance for the legendary Lincoln brand.
"This is a time of change for Lincoln," said Phil Martens, group vice president of Product Creation and a principal architect of the brand's resurgence. "We're introducing new products that are more relevant to today's consumer - but we're amplifying Lincoln's heritage of elegant design and leading amenities."
The Lincoln Mark LT is a key part of Lincoln Mercury's overall plans to broaden the showroom and build momentum and profitable growth by introducing 11 new products in six segments within the next four years. The expanded lineups will literally double the combined brands' product offerings from only seven vehicles two years ago to a whopping 14 models less than three years from now.
"We're aiming to boost current sales of 300,000 cars and trucks to 500,000 units by the end of the decade," said Darryl Hazel, president of Lincoln Mercury. "And the Mark LT will contribute by filling a niche for discerning buyers who didn't believe current pickups offered a true luxury choice and didn't find so-called 'luxury' trucks to be authentic."
At last: An elegant entry in the truck market
The Lincoln Mark LT is designed for customers who want equal amounts of luxury and capability. With outstanding payload and towing capacity, the Mark LT has indisputable truck credentials and adds to it Lincoln style and sophistication. The Mark LT offers four full doors and a full rear seat, providing ample comfort for five adults.
Although the Mark LT is an authentic pickup with superior power and driving dynamics, what makes it a true fit for Lincoln is its unique elegance. The exterior design sets the truck apart from other pickups by offering the refined appearance cues of the Lincoln family of vehicles.
Mark LT's bold exterior features a theme of chrome accents that wrap around the vehicle. Its dominant signature waterfall grille, wide taillamps and thick-spoked wheels give it an unmistakable family resemblance to today's Lincoln Aviator and Navigator SUVs.
The litmus test for a true luxury vehicle is a serene interior, and the Mark LT offers an exceptionally quiet, comfortable cabin, thanks to its solid foundation - the Ford F-150 chassis, body design, and sound insulation - which translate well into a luxury vehicle.
The signature Lincoln style also is reflected in the elegant interior enhancements: real Ebony wood accents, soft Nudo leather seating surfaces and an indulgent level of standard equipment.
Under the hood, the 5.4-liter, 3-valve Triton V-8 engine has ample low-end torque, and the sophisticated electronic throttle control is designed to provide seamless, instant response and consistent transmission shift quality. In addition to its exceptional performance, the Mark LT can tow 8,900 pounds and boasts a payload capacity of 1,620 pounds.
Dearborn Truck Plant: Ford's flagship of 21st century manufacturing
It's no coincidence that the Lincoln Mark LT, a groundbreaking entry in a segment the legendary brand is establishing, is being built at the Dearborn Truck Plant, the symbol for Ford's flexible manufacturing prowess and progress.
The plant is a key part of the company's commitment to become a lean, flexible and green manufacturer and is a model of manufacturing sustainability. It showcases state-of-the-art production in a setting that emphasizes quality, flexibility, lean processes, worker safety, comfort and unprecedented environmental enhancements. These include a smartly engineered, natural storm-water management system, porous pavement, natural retention ponds, numerous plantings and the World's Largest Living Roof, as designated by Guinness World Records .
At full production, the truck plant will produce approximately 250,000 vehicles each year.
"Our volume plans for the Lincoln Mark LT are pretty conservative," said Martens. "But we're ready to let the market drive those numbers higher, and we know this plant can handle it. In fact, we think Mark LT will be the first Lincoln in some time where demand will exceed supply."
His prediction is based on Lincoln customer research that predicts continued growth in the high end of both the truck and SUV segments. Annual volume in the traditional pickup truck category has more than doubled during the past decade from 1.1 million to 2.3 million units.