By on June 15, 2020


Ford’s utility vehicle lineup may grow too crowded to sustain the midsize Edge and its Lincoln Nautilus sibling for much longer. That’s the opinion of AutoForecast Solutions’ Sam Fiorani, who claims the Blue Oval has cancelled next-generation versions of both models.

Introduced for the 2015 model year and facelifted for 2019, the two-row Edge and Nautilus (formerly, the MKX) slot between the compact Escape and three-row Explorer, but the appearance of new models in the coming years might trample these models into the dust. If so, it could spell the end of Ford’s vehicle manufacturing presence north of the border.

The current generation of Edge and Nautilus is expected to run its course by early 2023, and a direct replacement doesn’t seem likely, Fiorani said, as reported by Automotive News Canada.

After last year’s cancellation of the Ford Flex and Lincoln MKT, the Edge and Nautilus are the only models rolling out of Ford’s Oakville, Ontario assembly plant. “Unless Ford decides on a different program to replace the Edge, there’s no future for Oakville,” Fiorani said.

That would leave Ford with just two propulsion plants north of the border. Eager for profits, slimmed-down costs, and a boosted stock price, Ford might see Canada as too expensive a locale for production. The current labor contract with the automaker’s Canadian workforce expires this fall, and you can be sure the continued operation of its sole car plant will be top of mind.

Why would the Edge and Nautilus vanish in the first place, you ask? New additions to the Ford lineup. Among them, the upcoming Bronco and smaller Bronco Sport, as well as the addition of new midsize electric SUVs slated to appear around the same time as the Edge  and Nautilus’ supposed departure. In such a scenario, the middle of the market would simply be too crowded.

While the Edge boasts steady sales in both the U.S. and Canada, European sales haven’t proven healthy, and a considerable measure of the model’s volume can be attributed to less-lucrative fleet sales, Fiorani said. As well, the midsize Nautilus now has a footprint twin in the new, rear-drive Aviator, which better projects the image Lincoln wants buyers to see.

For its part, Ford is staying tight-lipped about the possibility of culling these models, and of vacating Canadian car manufacturing. The first Ford to roll off a Canuck assembly plant emerged from a Windsor, Ontario factory in 1904.

[Images: Ford Motor Company]

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20 Comments on “Ford Edge, Lincoln Nautilus in Danger?...”

  • avatar

    “Ford might see Canada as too expensive a locale for production”

    I guess compared to Mexico, but I wouldn’t think Canada is more expensive than the US, with the weak Canadian dollar and universal healthcare. I suppose Unifor is likely more painful to deal with than the UAW, so there might be that.

  • avatar

    This is a surprise, the Edge has always been a popular mid-size 2-row crossover. I don’t really see the Bronco being able to capture the Edge buyer, but I guess we’ll see

  • avatar

    I could see the Edge getting crowded out of the Ford showroom with the impending arrivals of the Mustang Mach-E, Bronco, Bronco Sport and the “Fusion Outback” wagon, but without the Nautilus, there would be a huge gap between the Corsair and the Aviator in the Lincoln showroom.

  • avatar

    I could see Ford getting out of these models and these factories but the models or similar (larger 5 seat only crossovers with more powerful engines) I have to think will continue.

    Could Ford pull a Honda and shorten down the Explorer/Aviator down to a 5 seat only version?

    Or enlarge the Escape/Corsair?

    This seems like an important market these days. Maybe not quite the compact Escape/RAV4/CRV class or the 3 row Explorer/Highlander/Pilot market. But it seems sales are healthy. On the flip the Fusion and MKZ sell well and they’re going away.

    Am I drawing a blank….does Toyota have a midsize 5 seater? Honda does. Nissan does. VW? Chevrolet does. Jeep does.

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      Apparently the Venza is on it’s way back to fill that niche for Toyota, and the Atlas Cross-Sport does so for VW….

    • 0 avatar

      It makes no sense to me but being Ford they would need to be working on the next generation already, so I guess if these rumors are true they’d pull a Fusion and let these mid sized CUVs wither for years until sales go down, then wondering why they don’t sell as they used to.

      Like someone else said almost all competitors offer midsized CUVs, most of them fresher than the Edge, this only means the segment is healthy enough and the Edge nameplate is one of the oldest around so it can only help sales-wise.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t think Ford will abandon this segment. I expect the replacement will be based on the same platform as the Escape.

    • 0 avatar

      There may be a problem with the Escape/Corsair competing with the Edge and Nautilus for customers. Edge and Nautilus models combined sold about 170k units. The newly redesigned Escape sold nearly a quarter-million in 2019, and the new Escape-based Corsair sold almost 26K in just 4-1/2 months in 2019.

      It may be that the Escape/Corsair is eating the market of the Edge/Nautilus for 5 passenger SUVs. The latest Escape/Corsair design is nearly as roomy as their midsize stablemates, and more maneuverable. Why try to fill a midsize niche that’s being serviced by the compacts?

  • avatar

    “… the midsize Nautilus now has a footprint twin in the new, rear-drive Aviator, which better projects the image Lincoln wants buyers to see.”

    How’s that? The Aviator is about 9″ longer than the Nautilus. That’s at least an entire class difference by today’s standards.

    There had been speculation that the the Nautilus would (and should) move to the Aviator’s CD6 platform, which would make a whole lot of sense to me. Allow it to maintain similar proportions, but make it RWD-based. The Edge would be more likely to move to the C2 platform along with the Fusion/Mondeo, which also makes sense. Moving the models to separate platforms would explain the closure of Oakville without necessarily meaning the cancellation of both models. I presume the Edge would move to Mexico? Can Chicago handle another line on which to build the Nautilus/Aviator Sport?

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah dropping the Nautilus would leave a big hole in the meat of the Lincoln line up. I’d love a shortened Aviator, but I’d more expect it to be an enlarged Corsair.

      • 0 avatar

        Both platforms are modular, so either scenario is possible. It just seems to me that they put all that investment into CD6, it doesn’t make sense not to use it for as many Lincolns as possible. They certainly didn’t go to the trouble of engineering such a flexible platform only to use it for just two models sharing the same wheelbase, right?

        • 0 avatar

          They originally intended it to be used on the 2021 Continental but of course that was stopped mid development.

          I have read that it could be the basis for a future Mustang.

  • avatar

    Ford hurting for cash and profits should a page from FCA by cosmetically up the Edge interior and body. Look no further then the Jeep Grand Cherokee! Costs would be minimum!

  • avatar

    Makes sense. Both are completely pointless. Maybe if they offered something other than what an Escape offers (5 seater, toes 3500 pounds etc) there would be a business case. The Edge has always been redundant and frankly, pointless.

  • avatar

    Didn’t the last Escape get larger? Maybe the next Escape will be even larger yet. For has plenty of platforms to fill the gap that’d create below the Escape.

    I doubt we’ll see a drop in the number of offerings.

  • avatar

    Well, just how many different Ford SUV models does the market support? This all SUVs, all the time game plan is destined for rationalization.

    Small, medium and large. One model of each should be plenty. Add trim and power-train options as needed to hit a broad market.

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