Ford to Relaunch Lincoln Continental in US, China Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Ford to Relaunch Lincoln Continental in US, China

The revived Continental has Venetian leather seats and door panels, laser-assisted head lamps designed to reduce glare and a tinted sunroof that lets passengers control heat from direct sunlight. It employs a V6 engine.

NEW YORK - The Lincoln Continental, the luxury car of celebrities and U.S. presidents from yesteryear, is coming back.

Ford Motor (IW 500/6) Monday unveiled a concept for a new full-sized sedan aimed at the American and Chinese markets and expected to be sold at dealerships starting in 2016. The Continental was last on the market in 2002. 

The revived Continental has Venetian leather seats and door panels, laser-assisted head lamps designed to reduce glare and a tinted sunroof that lets passengers control heat from direct sunlight. It employs a V6 engine.

"Luxury at its best is about simplifying and quietly exceeding expectations, rather than being the loudest statement on the road," said Ford chief executive Mark Fields.

Ford aims the Continental as a rival to the upmarket cars from BMW (IW 1000/31), Mercedes (IW 1000/16) and Audi (IW 1000/59) and Lexus which dominate luxury car markets in the United States and elsewhere.

It will also compete with Cadillac, General Motors' (IW 500/5) high-end brand.

The concept for the Continental will be presented at the New York International Auto Show later this week. A Ford spokesman said there is no pricing estimate yet for the car.

The Continental will initially only be sold in the U.S. and China, and possibly introduced later into other markets, a spokesman said. Ford launched its first Lincoln in China last October as a boost to its offerings in the world's largest auto market.

The new Lincoln Continental will be the tenth generation of the car. For years, the model was identified with U.S. presidents. The car originally dates back to 1939. 

On a macabre note, President John F. Kennedy was riding in a Continental when he was assassinated in 1963.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015

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