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Ford prices key Lincoln MKC crossover below rivals

DETROIT (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co said on Monday that its upcoming Lincoln MKC crossover will start at $33,995, thousands of dollars cheaper than competing models as the No. 2 U.S. automaker attempts to shore up its flagging premium brand.

The 2015 Lincoln MKC, which goes on sale next summer, will have "the most accessible starting price point in the segment," Ford said in a news release.

The price includes destination and delivery charges.

The MKC is key to reviving consumer interest in the Lincoln brand, which saw its U.S. sales slip 1.4 percent through the first 11 months of 2013. Overall sales grew 8.4 percent and Ford brand sales rose 12.3 percent during that period.

Ford tried to relaunch the Lincoln brand late last year with the MKZ sedan, but supply shortages as well as fit and finish problems delayed the MKZ's launch until the spring of 2013.

The MKC allows Lincoln to compete for the first time in the growing market for upscale crossovers. Rivals include the Acura RDX, made by Honda Motor Co <7267.T>, which starts at $34,520, excluding taxes and a $895 delivery and handling charge.

The Audi Q5 and the Mercedes-Benz GLK crossovers start at more than $37,000, while the entry-level BMW X3 costs around $38,850.

(Reporting by Deepa Seetharaman; editing by Matthew Lewis)

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