By on October 21, 2019

Image: Ford

Plagued by reports of manufacturing defects and post-production emergency surgery at Flat Rock Assembly, Ford’s Chicago-built 2020 Explorer and Lincoln Aviator platform mate are a weight placed on the shoulders (and career) of CEO Jim Hackett. It’s also weighing down the company’s stock, analysts claim.

While the automaker said earlier this month that Explorer supply was on the upswing, with new vehicles now shipping directly to dealers, it seems Bill Shatner hasn’t shot all of the gremlins off the wing of this flight. (Read More…)

By on October 4, 2019

Image: Ford

Ford Motor Company may have sidelined thousands of 2020 Ford Explorers and Lincoln Aviators due to hazy manufacturing issues, but it seems many vehicles slipped through the quality dragnet and into the hands of consumers.

You saw a eyebrow-raising walkaround of a dealer-fresh Aviator here the other week. Owners, however, get to slip behind the wheel and, in some cases, experience a bewildering array of symptoms. (Read More…)

By on October 2, 2019

Sales figures are now rolling in from the Detroit Three automakers, with Ford now reporting third-quarter volumes. While Matthew Guy will have a roundup for you later today, we can share that Ford’s most recent sales quarter was not a stellar affair, made worse by the bungled launch of a high-profile model.

As we’ve told you already, a myriad of quality issues kept thousands of Chicago-built Explorers and Lincoln Aviators from reaching dealers this summer, with the afflicted rides instead travelling by truck to Michigan’s Flat Rock Assembly for fixing before buyers could take delivery. As you’d expect, this impacted the Explorer’s sales performance and further weighed down a brand that saw its sales fall 5.6 percent in the last quarter. (Read More…)

By on September 17, 2019

Image: Mike Freed

You read all about Ford’s midsize crossover issues last week, perhaps with great dismay. According to an extensive report, serious and sometimes hazy quality defects have kept thousands of 2020 Ford Explorers and Lincoln Aviators away from dealer lots.

It seems the automaker is hauling vehicles directly from Chicago Assembly to a hastily-arranged fix-it space at Flat Rock Assembly in Michigan — a stopover for quality control and repair on the way to the dealer. Some vehicles reportedly wait up to a month for a fix.

Bad news for Ford, but is it also bad news for those awaiting these two critically important models? Surely having these issues remedied before delivery to dealer lots is better than no fix at all? Certainly, it’s a better outcome for the automaker and buyer than the alternative. And yet, after visiting his local Ford dealer, one reader walked away shaking his head. (Read More…)

By on September 13, 2019

There’s no doubt the next-generation Ford Explorer and reborn Lincoln Aviator are very important vehicles for Ford Motor Company. Advanced, stylish, and packing lofty MSRPs and projected volume that’s sure to make the Blue Oval tons of cash, the worst thing that could occur to these vehicles is a botched rollout served with a side of quality-related stigma.

It seems that’s exactly what’s happening.

While the two platform mates, just now appearing on dealer lots, have already been subject to recalls related to manually-adjusted seatbacks, missing manual park release covers, and instrument panel issues, a number of other problems is keeping Explorers and Aviators away from buyers. Ford is reportedly working overtime to fix the unspecified defects. (Read More…)

By on August 12, 2019

Image: Lincoln

Got your eye on Lincoln’s upcoming Aviator? You’ll be pleased to learn the brand’s premium midsize crossover will enter your driveway with more bragging rights than previously thought. Specifically, more power for the same price.

As Lincoln doles out a small fleet of 2020 Aviators to a cabal of shrimp-loving auto scribes, the provided spec sheet held a surprise. The model’s certified power figures are not the same figures listed during the Aviator’s 2018 LA Auto Show reveal. (Read More…)

By on June 12, 2019

Today’s post is not meant to convince you that any particular crossover ranks super high on my personal Top Forty. Indeed, I would prefer if the Lincoln Motor Company was still cranking out Town Cars and Versailles (ok, maybe not the Versailles) than a myriad of tall wagons. However, market conditions rule the roost and here we are.

Longtime readers (thanks, both of you) know my unreasonable Stockholm Syndrome relationship with the Lincoln brand. This helps explain today’s choice, but you know what also helps its selection? That’s right — this platform’s return to rear-drive architecture.

(Read More…)

By on February 7, 2019

Ahead of production of its all-new 2020 Ford Explorer, Police Interceptor Utility, and Lincoln Aviator at the Chicago Assembly plant, Ford is greasing the wheels with a $1 billion cash injection, adding 500 jobs in the process.

The money, destined for both Chicago Assembly and a nearby stamping plant, will ensure three crucial products make it to showrooms and law enforcement fleets by summer. As Ford plays Santa Claus, another important product — one which went on sale just last month — is now under recall. (Read More…)

By on January 23, 2019

Image: Lincoln

Big base power and upscale skin? Check. Available hybrid powertrain for added punch and elevated virtuousness? Affirmative. A price scale that tops the $90k mark on the high end? Also correct.

Lincoln’s 2020 Aviator, which rolls onto the lots of jubilant dealers this summer, gives brand faithful and new recruits another midsize option in the hot luxury SUV segment. It also gives Lincoln an opportunity to energize flagging sales while growing the brand’s margins.

So, where does the Aviator start, price-wise, and what can you expect to get? (Read More…)

By on November 28, 2018

2020 Lincoln Aviator

LOS ANGELES – A press release full of flying puns heralded the new 2020 Lincoln Aviator.

Tech is the key with this SUV – literally. One available feature is the ability to use your smartphone to unlock the doors and start the engine. Yes, that’s a very 2018 type of thing for an OEM to do.

(Read More…)

By on November 5, 2018

Image: Ford

Great things can happen when you combine something that’s already good with a symphony orchestra. Procol Harum’s 1971 live recording of Conquistador is proof of that. For Lincoln Motor Company, a marque which just suffered another disappointing sales month, the vehicle on which it has placed so much hope isn’t leaving any luxury stone unturned.

Next year’s Aviator, a rear-biased midsize SUV that makes the MKX look like a minivan, plans to woo buyers by taking them out on the town. You won’t be able to avoid a night at the symphony in this vehicle. (Read More…)

By on June 5, 2018

Image: Ford

May brought happier sales number for Ford Motor Company compared to the lackluster month that preceded it, though the same can’t be said for the Lincoln brand. Despite a 0.7 percent overall sales gain last month, Ford’s 1 percent year-over-year uptick in volume was countered by Lincoln’s 5.2 percent sales drop.

It’s the 11th consecutive month of year-over-year volume loss for the premium brand once described as “resurgent.” True, Lincoln’s sailing in far calmer waters that it was a decade ago (or even a handful of years back), but its engines seem to be set to slow astern. After achieving a post-recession sales peak of 111,724 vehicles in 2016, Lincoln’s sales slipped ever so slightly in 2017. It’s now down 13.4 percent over the first 5 months of 2018.

Lincoln’s upcoming Aviator can’t arrive soon enough. (Read More…)

By on March 28, 2018

Image: Ford

Remember that scene where a severally obsessive-compulsive Howard Hughes (played by the boy from Titanic) can’t stop repeating the same phrase in the movie The Aviator? I suspect a similar phrase hung in the minds of Ford Motor Company executives while signing off on this model.

A large-ish, rear-wheel-drive, three-row crossover (SUV, according to Lincoln) is surely just the ticket to make up for declining passenger car sales —  after all, is there any evidence to the contrary? The way of the future, indeed.

What’s amusing is that, in this case, Lincoln’s future success appears to rest partially on a model resurrected from the past. The first Lincoln Aviator graced our landscape for just three model years, 2003 to 2005, and looked very much like a shrunken Navigator. Well, the second-generation model is clearly cut from the same cloth as its larger sibling, but differences abound. (Read More…)

By on March 17, 2018

Image: Ford Motor Company

Given the direction Lincoln is headed, it’s unlikely we’ll see a return of the Town Car name anytime soon. The Town Coupe, on the other hand, seems ripe for a resurrection (as a sporty four-door SUV, of course).

Speculation aside, model names are back at Lincoln Motor Company, and the first of a series of all-new utility models will bear a short-lived moniker that disappeared after 2005: Aviator. The original Aviator, resembling a Navigator washed in too-warm water, served as the brand’s second SUV from 2003 to 2005. A 2004 concept vehicle of the same name heralded the design of the 2007 MKX.

What does the new Aviator mean for the brand? Sales, hopefully, as the brand’s suddenly flagging fortunes would leave any automaker rattled. (Read More…)

By on March 16, 2018

2018 Ford Expedition, Image: [Ford Motor Company]

The future is electric, industry leaders tell us, but it will also have room for cargo. Lots and lots of it.

In announcing its near-future product plans on Thursday, Ford Motor Company promised the replacement of “more than 75 percent of its current portfolio” by 2020, with sport utility vehicles filling the sales void created by declining car volume. By the start of the next decade, only 14 percent of sales will come from cars, Ford predicts.

Meanwhile, at Lincoln, there’s good reason to believe the automaker’s luxury brand might enter the coming decade completely carless. (Read More…)

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