Lincoln is debuting a new US ad campaign called Smarter Than Luxury "with a new look and feel, designed to shine a spotlight on the technology and craftsmanship that differentiates the new Lincoln products, including the 2011 MKX and MKZ Hybrid," the automaker said

Lincoln is debuting a new US ad campaign called 'Smarter Than Luxury' "with a new look and feel, designed to shine a spotlight on the technology and craftsmanship that differentiates the new Lincoln products, including the 2011 MKX and MKZ Hybrid," the automaker said

Ford could take Lincoln beyond North America to international markets within five years once it has re-established the long-neglected luxury brand in the United States, chief executive Alan Mulally said at the Paris show.

"Our primary focus is going to be the United States, as you well know, but I have been looking at and driving the new Lincoln lineup and they are fantastic," Mulally told Reuters.

"I can imagine that after we have re-established the luxury brand Lincoln in the United States that there is going to be a lot of customer demand to move those vehicles around the world."

Ford has recently sold off Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin and Volvo to focus on its mass market Ford brand and is also axing long running US brand Mercury to concentrate on Lincoln.

"Lincoln is still a really good brand," Mulally said. "When we bought the other brands we just didn't invest much in Lincoln. It is still considered to be really a luxury brand."

During Jac Nasser's tenure as Ford CEO, Lincoln was placed with Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin and Volvo under the Premier Auto Group (PAG) umbrella and its headquarters relocated from Detroit to Irvine, south of Los Angeles, where Mazda North America was also based. After Nasser left, Lincoln HQ returned to Michigan, the European brands were gradually sold off and PAG no longer exists.

Ford plans to introduce seven new Lincoln vehicles over the next five years as part of the rebuilding process for the brand, which was long neglected as Ford concentrated on other brands. Most recently, Volvo was sold to China's Geely last month.

"I think it will be over this next four to five years, but based on the strength of the product," Mulally told Reuters of the US rebuilding of Lincoln.

The Asia-Pacific region represents a "tremendous opportunity" for the Ford and Lincoln brands, Mulally said. Ford would consider adding it to all regions, he said.

Mulally said Ford was "cautiously optimistic" that the economic recovery will continue, calling the recent slowing around the world "typical" of a recovery following a recession.

"This is a slower recovery than we have had from past recessions, but is also the worst recession we have ever had and we are fixing some fundamental issues," he said.

Auto market intelligence
from just-auto

• Auto component fitment forecasts
• OEM & tier 1 profiles & factory finder
• Analysis of 30+ auto technologies & more