Assembly Plant Shuffle Signals End of Lincoln Continental

While Lincoln has been coy about its plans for future Continentals, the assembly plant news announced today by parent company Ford signals the end of Continental production–at least in the US.

From Automotive News comes word that Ford plans on building two midsize electric crossovers at its Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Michigan. The crossovers with code names CDX746 and CDX747 will be similar to Ford’s current Edge and Lincoln Nautilus, and will be built on Ford’s battery-electric platform. Assembly is to begin in 2022 as 2023 models with production estimated at 65,000 units.

Though Ford is mum about these plans, it has stated in the past that the Flat Rock plant will build EVs sometime in the future. New beginnings sometimes means the end of older models. Currently, both the Mustang and Continental are built at Flat Rock. While plans have been set for future Mustangs, without any commitment from Lincoln about future Continentals it would seem that 2021 will be the last year for the storied model. That is unless Ford plans on killing it off sooner.

A Chinese Version?

There are rumors that Continental production will continue in China, but that has not been confirmed by Ford. With the looming Trump tariffs killing imported products from China like the Focus Active wagon which was cancelled based on the tariff’s added costs, it is unlikely any Chinese-assembled Continental would end up on US shores.

What About Mustang

As for the Mustang, we know that the Mustang-inspired crossover Ford recently announced will be manufactured in Cuautitlan, Mexico. Currently, the Fiesta is built there with production ending this month. Will the Mustang join its crossover cousin in Mexico? Would something as all-American as the Mustang ever be built in Mexico? Ford is very aware of the optics of such a move, but business is business…

Right now Ford and the United Auto Workers are negotiating new contracts, so some of these pending plant decisions could be tied up in those discussions. 

Ford’s EV Hub

It was announced in March that Flat Rock would be Ford’s home for all electric cars including self-driving offshoots, while continuing to produce the Mustang, including the new seventh-gen which is due in 2021. Ford has also slated 2021 as the launch of their first-ever self-driving vehicles. These won’t be for general consumption as they are planned for vehicles to move people and goods only.

Not Good Numbers

Continental production has been on the downslide from a high of 12,000 examples in 2017. Last year those numbers fell to 8,758, and this year they are markedly down from 2018 with only 2,800 built in the first six months. 

At the end of last year it was announced a very limited amount of 80th Anniversary Coach Door Continentals would be built. These feature rear suicide-opening doors and six-inches added length. 80 were built at a list price of $110,000 and they sold out quickly. For 2020 Lincoln said it will lift the limit on coach doors, but at the pace Continentals are selling any version will be relatively rare.