Blue Oval Seesaws in February, but Another Good Month for Lincoln

blue oval seesaws in february but another good month for lincoln

Just how much the polar vortex and a chillier than normal February weighed on U.S. vehicle sales is up for debate, but Ford Motor Company felt the buying public’s cold shoulder last month. Actually, make that just the Ford brand. The Blue Oval division saw a 5.1 percent drop in sales, year over year, last month, thought its luxury stablemate continued its strong early 2019 showing.

The good news for Lincoln comes before anyone has a chance to buy what’s widely seen as the brand’s savior: the Aviator midsize crossover.

As Ford no longer issues sales data on a monthly basis, we’re left to grapple with info doled out from a few sources. Don’t worry — there’ll be a monthly sales roundup from Matthew Guy just as soon as all the data falls into place.

The Automotive News Data Center shows the Ford brand underperformed in a market that sank 4.4 percent in February, though how this shakes out in terms of retail/fleet mix is unknown. (In January, sales rose 6.5 percent.)

One thing weighing on the brand is the continuing passenger car cull.

Sales of Ford cars fell 37 percent, year over year, last month, thanks to discontinued production of the Fiesta and Focus and the continued decline of remaining models. The Taurus bites the this month, so get that tombstone-shaped layer cake ready. Not helping matters was a 3.1 percent decline in F-Series truck sales; given the line’s gargantuan volume and fleet popularity, these monthly tallies can be quite variable. Fear not, because the new Ranger added its own volume during its first full month on the market. Some 2,899 Rangers left U.S. lots in February.

Lincoln, which closed 2018 down 6.8 percent (its worst showing in four years), is having a sunny first couple of months of 2019. January’s U.S. tally rose 20.4 percent, year over year, and February’s cold winds didn’t keep buyers away. The brand’s sales rose 15 percent last month. Sales of the full-size Navigator continue to climb more than a year after the current generation’s release, up 33 percent over the previous February. The refreshed and renamed Nautilus (formerly MKX) saw its sales rise 27 percent, year over year, confirming that the uptick seen at the end of 2018 wasn’t a one-month blip. Even the MKZ sedan saw a YoY increase of a paltry 1.4 percent.

Average incentive spend, one should note, rose 1.7 percent in February.

While some Lincolns had a good month, don’t count the Continental among them. The brand’s flagship sedan may have sold out its “coach door” models in a hurry, but sales of the conventional rig sank to their lowest point since the car’s launch.

Lincoln stands to see a volume boost once its swanky Aviator appears in showrooms this summer, and Ford buyers can expect a new Explorer at the same time. Once the Aviator, which dons an optional plug-in hybrid powertrain, makes it to lots, the next new product for Lincoln is the compact Corsair crossover — a successor to the MKC, due out for the 2020 model year.

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

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  • El scotto El scotto on Mar 03, 2019

    Sadly, Lincoln's concierge service isn't enough to save their effort at a large American sedan. Their new SUVs will be a different story.

  • Jeff S Jeff S on Mar 03, 2019

    I like the fact that Lincoln is not pretending to be an alternative to BMWs and that they have gone back to naming vehicles actual names.

    • PrincipalDan PrincipalDan on Mar 03, 2019

      Yes thank God we don't have to hear Lincoln prattle on about Nuremberg Ring times or their latest 3/5/7 series competitor. Just the good ol' American: "Do you want the powerful engine? Let's look at the options list."

  • 285exp I am quite sure that it is a complete coincidence that they have announced a $7k price increase the same week that the current administration has passed legislation extending the $7k tax credit that was set to expire. Yep, not at all related.
  • Syke Is it possible to switch the pure EV drive on and off? Given the wonderful throttle response of an EV, I could see the desirability of this for a serious off-roader. Run straight ICE to get to your off-roading site, switch over the EV drive during the off-road section, then back to ICE for the road trip back home.
  • ToolGuy Historical Perspective Moment:• First-gen Bronco debuted in MY1966• OJ Simpson Bronco chase was in 1994• 1966 to 1994 = 28 years• 1994 to now = 28 yearsFeel old yet?
  • Ronnie Schreiber From where is all that electricity needed to power an EV transportation system going to come? Ironically, the only EV evangelist that I know of who even mentions the fragile nature of our electrical grid is Elon Musk. None of the politicians pushing EVs go anywhere near it, well, unless they are advocating for unreliable renewables like wind and solar.
  • FreedMike I just don’t see the market here - I think about 1.2% of Jeep drivers are going to be sold on the fuel cost savings here. And the fuel cost savings are pretty minimal, per the EPA: fuel costs for this vehicle are $2200 and $2750 for the equivalent base turbo-four model. I don’t get it.