Ford said sales of its struggling Lincoln luxury brand are improving after the company ended an arrangement to ship its newest model through a second plant.
Ford’s plant in Hermosillo, Mexico, this month began sending MKZ sedans directly to dealers, said Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of the Americas.
Ford had been sending some MKZs to a plant in Michigan for additional quality inspections and to be equipped with missing parts.
“We’ll be certainly at normal levels in April. You’ll see a more normal sales rate of the MKZ starting in April,” Hinrichs said.
Lincoln U.S. sales plunged 25 percent during the first two months of the year. Ford is counting on the MKZ, which features a chrome grille inspired by eagle wings and an optional retractable glass roof, to help increase demand for its luxury line and contribute more to results in North America, where the company had record 2012 profit margins.
Ford is relying on its home market amid widening losses in Europe and break-even results in Asia, where the automaker is investing billions on new plants to take on General Motors and Volkswagen.
The MKZ is the first of four new models Lincoln has coming over four years. Lincoln began selling the restyled MKZ in January at a starting price of $35,925.
Ford initiated an advertising push in December to reintroduce the “Lincoln Motor Co.”