Ford’s Lincoln brand, long ago left behind in sales by Mercedes, Audi, BMW, and Lexus, can’t recover in the US, at least based on sales in the first five months of 2023. Sales are down 10.8% to 32,120. If the massive luxury SUV Navigator sales were not up 69% to 7,184, the overall number would be much worse.
Lincoln lost its luster as a luxury brand long ago. The Germans were the first to eat into its market share. Mercedes, BMW, and Audi simply sold brands considered much better. Lincoln’s sales were further damaged when Japanese manufacturers launched Lexus Infiniti and Acura.
Lincoln’s ongoing problem, which keeps it out of the luxury brand competition, is that it does not make sedans and sports cars. Its entire lineup includes SUVs and crossovers, each a smaller and less expensive sibling to the Navigator, Lincoln’s only reputable brand. These are the Aviator and Nautilus. These allow Lincoln to offer three price points. Nevertheless, the expensive Navigator sales are growing, although it can cost as much as $115,000.
By comparison, BMW sells over 20 models. These include sedans, coupes, crossovers, SUVs, and EV models. Mercedes has a similarly broad lineup.
Ford has made it clear in the last decade-plus that it will not invest in Lincoln. Creating a broad lineup to compete with BMW and Mercedes would take billions of dollars. Short of that, Lincoln will always be a niche brand flailing to be even that.
The open question for Ford is whether it should have the Lincoln brand at all, or at least in America. Ford exited the sedan business in the US. GM has closed brands which include Pontiac.
It is time for Lincoln to go.
Also check out: the least reliable new cars in America.
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