Ford Motor Co. outlined plans Tuesday to make the Lincoln brand more distinct for North America, and to concentrate on inexpensive Ford brand vehicles for China and India.
The outlook was presented to an audience of analysts during the North American International Auto Show.
Lincoln will have seven new or significantly refreshed vehicles over the next four years, including a compact car, said Derrick Kuzak, head of global product development.
The vehicles will be fully differentiated from Ford brand vehicles with unique sheet metal, powertrains, interiors and technology such as suspension control for Lincoln only.
"We will have truly unique Lincoln DNA from the Ford brand," Kuzak said, by taking existing vehicle platforms to the next level.
The company also is developing a distinct distribution network for the brand, said Chief Financial Officer Lewis Booth.
"We're building an organization within the company of dedicated people," Booth said. "We're reteaching ourselves to think of Lincoln as a brand we have to drive."
CEO Alan Mulally said the brand fell from its former status as a top luxury marque because it did not have adequate resources. "We did not tarnish the brand," he said. "We just didn't invest in it."
The automaker will also continue its current pace of refreshing products for the Ford brand, Kuzak said.
That includes a focus on vehicles for Asia-Pacific, which accounts for 40 percent of the market, Mulally said.
"We made a commitment four years ago to be in every market," he said.
To do so, Ford is developing global platforms to reduce costs.
A further $1,000 to $2,000 in cost can be removed in material costs for markets such as India and China, where consumers aren't bothered by hard plastic surfaces.
In China, 70 percent of the sales volume is vehicles priced $14,500 or below, Kuzak said.
In India, the bulk of cars purchased cost less than $8,500.
With a single vehicle, the Figo, Ford's market share in India has grown to 3 percent in a year, he said.
As Ford expands its product offerings in India, four of five planned vehicles will be "value vehicles" targeted at the heart of the market.