Ford Motor Co is spending $1 billion in an effort to develop a new generation of vehicles for its struggling Lincoln brand, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday, citing dealers briefed on the plan.

Ford is working on seven all-new or significantly upgraded vehicles that Lincoln will roll out over the next four years.

During a presentation to dealers two weeks ago, Ford Americas President Mark Fields said the auto maker sees the effort as the last chance for Lincoln to re-establish itself as a leading competitor in the luxury-car segment, according to the report. The Journal cited three dealers who attended the invitation-only event.

At the meeting, Ford executives said they expect Lincoln sales to fall to 78,000 vehicles this year, and then climb to 162,000 in 2015, with the seven new models providing a lift, the report said.

Representatives for Ford could not immediately be reached for comment outside regular business hours.

(Reporting by Soyoung Kim; Editing by Matthew Driskill)