A Lofty Goal for Lincoln

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
a lofty goal for lincoln

Despite the reborn Aviator stumbling out of the gate this past summer, the Lincoln brand otherwise had a good year. Sales rose 8.3 percent in 2019, making it the best year for the resurgent brand since 2007.

Lincoln brass see an even better year ahead, projecting a retail sales bump of 20 percent.

That figure comes by way of Automotive News and the recent NADA dealer-palooza in Las Vegas. There, Lincoln dealers expressed discontent over the looming eradication of sedans from the brand’s lineup. Executives seem nonplussed by the impending death of the faltering MKZ and Continental, however, claiming the strength of its crossover and SUV lineup will propel the brand to even greater heights in 2020.

It’s definitely where the market’s heading, and it’s where Lincoln’s strength now lies. The thinking is that the Aviator, with kinks ironed out and a full year of sales under its belt, will garner significant volume for the company, joined by the new-for-2020 Corsair (formely MKC) and the plug-in variant arriving later this year. The Corsair Grand Touring goes on sale this summer.

There’s reason for both optimism and concern. While Lincoln cars are indeed losing popularity (combined sales of the MKZ and Continental fell 15 percent in 2019), they still make up 22 percent of the brand’s sales. Come 2021 and thereafter, that volume will need to be replaced by utility vehicles.

Lincoln’s CUV/SUV growth was an impressive 17.2 percent last year, and hard not to see that number growing in 2020. Nautilus (née MKX) sales rose 11 percent in 2019, the model’s best showing since its first full year on the market (2007). The Aviator, though slow to make it to customers, still managed 6,424 sales in the final quarter of 2019 — more volume than the MKZ and Continental combined.

The MKT, a darling of livery stables everywhere, ended production late last year, though the model’s fleet-only nature means its death won’t weigh on Lincoln’s retail projections.

Meanwhile, the range-topping Navigator posted a 4.6-percent gain for the year, enjoying its best annual tally since 2007. A threat arises, however, in the form of the 2021 Cadillac Escalade due out later this year. All-new, with a independent rear suspension and an optional six-cylinder diesel, the upcoming Escalade boasts a gigantic dash screen and significantly improved interior volume.

Lincoln will no longer be the new kid on the block in that segment.

[Images: Lincoln]

Join the conversation
2 of 25 comments
  • Buickman Buickman on Feb 19, 2020

    ditching alpha numerics for actual names has been a big plus. no one aspires to a XTanything.

  • SWFLTEXAN SWFLTEXAN on Feb 19, 2020

    I looked at buying a Navigator Black Label at dealerships in two different states, and I visited one of the Lincoln Experience Centers. The dealers are completely unprepared to deliver service at luxury brand standards. The incompetence at all three places had me running away. As much as I liked the vehicle, I saw only aggravation ahead if I bought one.

  • Jeff S Some of us don't care either way we are not into this type of car. Most of these will be stored in garages waiting for their value to go up. As someone above noted this is an old body style which is retro 70s Challenger which after researching it came out in the 2008 MY which means a long run for a model that is in its 16th year. I have always liked these but if I bought one I would not spend this kind of money on one probably get the V-6 version and use it as a family car but then I am not into drag racing or muscle cars. For the type of car it is it has a decent rear seat and not too bad of a trunk. Most of us are not going to spend 100k for any vehicle at least currently so its not something most of us will buy and stick in a garage waiting for its value to increase. I am glad that these editions came out for those who can afford them and it keeps a little more color into what has become a very dull vehicle market but then with age I pick the dull appliance like reliable vehicle because that's what I need. Impressive car but not for me.
  • Jonathan The Germans. So organized they can appear disorganized. I agree with some others, classic names like Thunderbird, Imperial, Grand Prix, Ambassador etc. just have more appeal.
  • Bobbysirhan A friend had one when they first came out. He was CFO of some green California company and could charge the Volt at work. At home, the PHEV gave him an excuse to make his wife park her nicer car outdoors while the Volt get their condo's one-car garage. He liked the Volt, and he spent very little on energy during the 'first one's free!' era of EV ownership. Of course, the green company went bust soon after, and he wound up with a job that involved far more driving and ultimately the need for a more substantial car. I drove the Volt once after his wife had made a return trip to Los Angeles, depleting the battery. I don't know what a first gen Volt drives like with a charged battery, but it was really gutless with two adults, a yellow lab, and a dead battery. My other memory of it was that it had a really cramped back seat for a car that was about as large as a Civic. My friend who bought it liked it though, and that's not always been the case for GM vehicles.
  • MrIcky I think the Shakedown is more my speed of the last call editions- but this is impressive.
  • Dukeisduke I tried watching the live reveal last night, but after 15 minutes of jawing by MT+ personalities (and yes, I like Chris Jacobs and Alex Taylor), I turned it off.