By Paul Lienert
DETROIT (Reuters) – Ford Motor Co’s premium Lincoln brand plans to offer hybrid gasoline-electric versions of all its U.S. models by 2022, according to three sources familiar with the plans.
Details could be announced as early as Oct. 3, when Ford Chief Executive Officer Jim Hackett plans to update investors on the automaker’s strategy.
Company officials are also considering whether to introduce one or more all-electric Lincoln models, one source said. The proposed electrification scheme could be critical to Lincoln’s future in China, which will require automakers to make electric vehicles an increasing percentage of their total sales.
The Lincoln hybrids are part of a broader Ford program to offer at least 18 new electric and hybrid models over the next five years, the sources said.
Lincoln aims to follow a path blazed this year by several European premium brands, including Daimler AG, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group’s Volvo Cars [GEELY.UL], BMW and Jaguar Land Rover [TAMOJL.UL], all of which have announced plans to offer more hybrid and all-electric vehicles.
Global luxury brands are responding to competitive pressure from Elon Musk’s Tesla Inc, and proposals by the Chinese government to mandate significantly higher levels of electric vehicle sales in the world’s largest auto market.
The plan to offer a portfolio of Lincoln hybrid models was crafted before Hackett took over in May, the sources said.
Ford said in January 2016 it would spend $4.5 billion to electrify a portion of its U.S. fleet, including hybrid versions of the Mustang and the F-150, and at least 11 other models. The extent of its electrification effort, including details on specific new and redesigned models, has not previously been disclosed.
A Ford spokesman said the company would not comment on future products.
As the Lincoln brand rolls out redesigned versions of its existing models and introduces at least one new model, it is planning to introduce plug-in hybrid versions of those vehicles, beginning with the redesigned MKC crossover and the new Aviator crossover in 2019, the sources said.
The redesigned Lincoln Navigator utility vehicle, which goes on sale this autumn, is expected to add a conventional hybrid version in 2019.
Subsequent redesigned Lincoln models, including the MKZ sedan in 2020 and the Continental sedan and MKX crossover in 2022, are expected to include plug-in hybrid variants, the sources said.
(Reporting by Paul Lienert in Detroit; Editing by Peter Cooney)