By on December 18, 2014

Lincoln MKCAfter increasing sales of the brand’s new Escape-related small crossover in five consecutive months, Lincoln MKC volume levelled off in November 2014 at 2152 units. This represents a 2% drop from the total achieved by the MKC in its best month, October, when 2197 were sold. America’s new vehicle market was 2% larger in November than it was during the prior month.

Have we therefore reached the MKC’s maximum monthly volume? Dealers have plenty of copies to sell: there was a 116-day supply at the beginning of November. 2150 sales per month would put the MKC in the same territory as the much larger and more costly Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, ahead of the smaller BMW X1 and also-ex-PAG Volvo XC60, but well back of class leaders like the Acura RDX, Audi Q5, Mercedes-Benz GLK, and BMW X3. This year, the latter four are generating 3610, 3443, 3013, and 2820 average monthly sales, respectively.

We don’t yet know how strong the full force of Lexus’s NX will be. The first 22 NXs were sold at the end of November. It’s also far too early to label the MKC as a hit or miss, regardless of what the mainstream media coverage of Matthew McConaughey advertisements said. (We fully expected to see more and more MKCs on the road as the launch took hold, and thus more Lincolns overall, regardless of whether it was marketed by McConaughey or Megan Mullally.) And if we were going to say the McConaughey ads worked, shouldn’t we now say they stopped working?

Of greater interest to the Ford Motor Company may be the MKC’s ability to generate a good deal extra volume even as the Ford Escape reports improved sales, as well. 2013 was a record sales year for the Escape, and after falling 3% through the first one-third of 2014, Escape sales have increased 7% over the last seven months, the time period in which the Lincoln MKC has been available.

Lincoln sales chartAs for the Lincoln brand itself, sales were up 21% to 8113 units in November 2014. Non-MKC volume was down 11%, however, as the Navigator’s 88% increase was more than offset by a 29% drop in car sales, the consistent decline of the MKT, and the gradual disappearance of the first-generation MKX, a vehicle which will soon be replaced.

Total Lincoln volume through the first eleven months of 2014 is up 15%, an 11,074-unit improvement. The MKC has added 10,767 of those extra sales. MKZ sales are up 6% to 31,373 units – the MKZ and MKS (down 26%) account for 46% of Lincoln’s year-to-date volume – and the MKX’s 4% improvement is accompanied by a 13% boost in Navigator volume.

Obviously the MKC is more than capable of bringing more buyers into Lincoln showrooms. Reigniting interesting in the brand’s other vehicles may be too great an ask. After recording year-over-year increases in 13 of the 14 months leading up to the MKC’s release, MKZ sales decreased in June, July, August, September, and October before falling to a 21-month low in November. Is the MKC stealing some sales from the Cadillac SRX? Perhaps. But it may be impacting the MKZ, as well, just as many a small crossover is disrupting many a midsize car.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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56 Comments on “Peak MKC? Lincoln’s MKC Sales Growth Finally Suspended In November...”


  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    I’m going to just say it, even if it causes Derek & Tim to then assault me with pie charts proving that the compact CUV, whether economy, midprice, premium or luxury accoutrement, is the “space” to be in (from a manufacturer’s POV):

    The MKC is too small even considering it’s an openly admitted compact CUV, given its price (very high) & mission (lofty).

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I think what you’ve neglected to acknowledge is that with the new Edge/MKX just around the corner that this might have some impact on current sales of existing models

  • avatar
    energetik9

    Wait, so this analysis is telling me that the sales of a new car leveled off in numbers in November with the approach of winter and the slow car sales months. A whole 2% drop. Seriously? A bit premature to make any analysis at all don’t you think?

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      The approach of winter and slow auto sales months have little to do with November, which, in keeping with 2012 and 2013, was a stronger auto sales month than October. The MKC’s newness, combined with increasing availability, would lead one to think it could increase volume month-over-month even if the market hadn’t grown significantly. Which it did. (Premium brand SUV/CUVs which sold more often in Nov. than Oct.: Q3, X1, RDX, Q5, X3, X5, QX50, Evoque, Macan, Q7, X5, QX60, QX70, RR Sport, GX, RX, MKT, M-Class, Cayenne.) So the question is asked, is this what we can expect from the MKC, a decent 2100/month avg.?

  • avatar
    deanst

    Just toured the edge/flex/mkt/mkx factory. There were a few edge prototypes driving around, with launch expected early next year. The new mkx seems to be a bit further down the road. With the new edge platform, they will be building 3 different platforms at the same time – quite impressive!

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    From Ford’s perspective, the sales are worth it, since it’s an Escape underneath. From Lincoln’s perspective, the sales could be better, and Lincoln brass might be thinking that the MKC isn’t unique enough to differentiate it from the Escape. A name instead of letters might have helped: I saw a MKZ recently with the letters removed and replaced by a custom plastic logo called “Mickey-Z”.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      They could have at least found a Zephyr badge.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        LMC

        Lincoln Mall Crawler

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Where’s your MKC review? It’s been long enough that I get to ask again.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I’ll send it to Derek next week. We actually had another MKC for a week. A rare one that had no options. My wife drove it too so I got more input.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Good!

            Is it because your Fords are breaking down that you have these rentals?

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            No. The last one was because I needed an oil change, replace a road hazard damaged tire, and the dealership owed me a full detail. They didn’t get to it as soon as they had hoped, I told them there was no hurry, and I had the rental for a week.

            The other time I had one was right when the MKC came out and I was given one by a dealership for a four day weekend.

            Per Lincoln’s requirements of dealers, they are supposed to be giving me a MKT or Navigator as a rental (like vehicle), but I always take a chance with something new.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Your wayward driving is damaging your tires!

            I’d probably take the Navigator, I always end up picking the largest option.

            When someone crashed into my old I30 (while it was parked) and it was out of commission for a week, the insurance woman on the phone apparently didn’t know what Infiniti or I30 meant, so they gave me a mid-level new Murano.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            It’s my wife’s wayward driving. Plus, I think that tire has had a slow leak in it since we purchased the vehicle. Whenever the temperature changed, that would be the only tire that was low. I bought the tire/wheel warranty, even though I usually don’t. A new tire for the MkT was more than the warranty cost me.

            There is never a Navigator there. I think they hide them for people that actually own Navigators (not busted 2001 Navigators either). I’ve driven the new one and I’m not bringing it home. My wife would want to keep it and not let me turn it back in.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            LOL

            You don’t want more car payment!? I mean it would only be like $750/mo.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            That’s more than both of our car payments combined.

            I want to get 200K miles out of the MkFlex, but a CPO Navigator/Expedition will surely catch my eye once the ground up redesign is done. The current generation will depreciate enough that I won’t be able to resist.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Oh, you were talking with whoever the other day, and he had mentioned he had (two) car payments of about $550, and you said something like you had a similar situation.

            So I was thinking you spent over $1000/mo on them currently.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I meant I had a similar percentage of my income going to car payments. Chris’ income is higher than mine. My pyschological threshold is $400/month on a loan and $300/month on a $0 down lease. The MkT was a screaming deal at around $24K with all taxes and fees included. Go go Lincoln depreciation!

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Ahh, okay.

            I have never had a car payment, so I dunno what that would do to me psychologically! On this car, I did get a small loan of about $6k from my grandfather, which I paid back varying amounts each month ($300 being lowest I did one month), and paid it off in a little under a year.

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      I remain convinced that Lincoln will never make significant sales gains as long as they persist in using meaningless alpha codes as product names. Even as someone who follows the car business, I can’t keep the MK? models straight in my head. Branding is about image, and humans need language for those images, not random collections of letters. Between Lincoln and Mercury IP, they have a pool of good names in their possession. Use them!

  • avatar

    It IS a really good looking CUV.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I’m personally amazed how high the Navigator ranks in Lincoln’s sales, only because I don’t feel like I see that many of them even having to drive up and down the interstates to Albuquerque and back on a monthly basis.

    Finally saw my first refreshed Expedition EL, Platinum of course.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I guess that’s what happens when you don’t sell that many vehicles. At least those Navigators are nothing but pure profit. Lincoln dealers have been like a man praying for rain in the desert when it comes to the Navigator. The new one is one of the winter storms, but the ground up Navigator will be a monsoon.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      They need to sell more of MKS so the numbers can be shored up when I buy one in seven years for 30% of msrp.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Buy one in Florida, Arizona, or one of the two Lincoln mega-dealers in the Detroit area. I think those sales number are exclusively made up of Ford retirees. That is where the Michigan snowbirds go. I also found the dealer out here to be cheaper than private party. You go to auctions though, right?

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          @bball

          I have access to those through favors, yes although I haven’t been licensed myself for years.

          @CoreyDL

          The AWD craze with transverse motors is just asking for trouble long term, IMO. Since I routinely buy things at the ten year or older mark long term problems concern me. I already see a number of early Cross Country V70s with the AWD system inoperable (there is a half shaft which breaks or something to this effect). Somehow though the mileage doesn’t seem to improve when you go FWD only from what I am told. I see MKS as a continuation of the Tauri derived Conti with styling to p*ss off the traditional demographic by looking “cool”.

          • 0 avatar
            slance66

            My 2000 XC70 went through 2 CVs and finally had the half shaft break. All before it was 6-7 years old. I think the electronic systems with Haldex are ok, but the old mechanical one in that car was crap.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I really want to drive an MKS to see what’s what. Needs AWD and all options though, and dark woods.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          I remember a few years ago driving a GTDI MKS that was bought back from a customer because they didn’t like how it would squeal the tires and torque the steering wheel when she mashed the accelerator. I wanted to buy that car for myself.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            My wife’s uncle was trying to get Ford to buy back his SuperDuty with the 6.7L Scorpion because it eats tires when he stomps on the accelerator. I will gladly take his truck.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            Haha, yep. There was a TSB for that believe it or not. It basically said, “FYI, 800 ft-lbs of torque and aggressive driving eats tires, dummy.”

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I have seen that TSB. It is one of my favorites. He certainly shredded a rear set of scorpions.

            He gets better wear out of the tires when he carts a 5th wheel or boat around because he doesn’t drive like a clown. He is currently on a trip of the the lower 48 states towing the 5th wheel and has had no problems.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        28, your comment was here and I came to reply – is not here.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Now you see me, and now you don’t.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I might add that nobody expects old Volvos to be reliable anymore, so might not be the best sample on the transverse AWD bit!

            Do Subarus count?

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I wouldn’t worry too much about the MKS AWD. If it was one of the early ones with PTU problems, it’s probably been fixed. If it doesn’t have that problem and you buy one with over 50K miles, do yourself a favor and have the transmission fluid and PTU fluid changed. On the MkT, I had it done at 50K miles, and I’m going to do it every 50K miles. I think it only set me back $150 or so.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            What means PTU…

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            Power Takeoff Unit. Kinda like a transfer case. Bolts to the transmission and transfers power to the rear driveshaft.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Interesting! Why does Ford use this instead of a transfer box?

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            On AWD (Ford at least) vehicles, the Power Transfer Unit (PTU) is responsible for transferring power from the output shaft of the transmission to the front wheels and also to the rear drive shaft. It is technically a “lifetime fill” unit. However, it only holds 18 oz of gear lube. If it overheats too many times, it is bad news bears. It thickens up and smells like vomit. Then it can mess everything up. Ford did have problems with some of the seals (that has been fixed).

            Danio knows more than me about the Ford PTU. He is a good source for anything related to the Ford 6F transmission.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    I still have yet to see one down here in Florida.
    It seems the newer cars get a boost once they get seen driving around.
    Nothing so far here.


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