Lincoln to build new Corsair small SUV in China

The China-built Corsair will serve the local market.

Lincoln has announced plans to build its all-new Corsair small crossover in China. The Corsair will be the first ever Lincoln built in China for the local market.

Introduced last week at the New York auto show, the Corsair represents an important new product for Lincoln in the world's largest auto market. The Corsair's predecessor, the MKC, is currently Lincoln's best-selling model in China.

Building the Corsair in China will free up production space at Lincoln's Louisville, Kentucky production facility. Corsair models destined for the U.S. market will be built in Kentucky.

The move should also safeguard Lincoln against import tariffs. China and the United States have been involved in a trade spat for the last several months and, should things turn sour between the two nations, the locally built Corsair would avoid any kind of import taxes.

Lincoln has been steadily adding new utility vehicles to its portfolio to spearhead its turnaround, and the plan appears to be working. Lincoln's overall sales were up by 11 percent during the first quarter, with that growth largely fueled by double-digit increases for all of the company's SUV models.

"Slow and steady wins the race, and cranking out a stable of stylish SUVs with actual names shoppers can identify isn't a bad way to build a brand right now," Jessica Caldwell, executive director of industry analysis at Edmunds, told Automotive News. "If Lincoln continues to build the types of vehicles shoppers want with a focus on style and quality, it has a real shot at a comeback.”

Lincoln plans to begin building the Corsair in China later this year.

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