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Lincoln’s lineup is comprised solely of SUVs, with the luxury automaker following in the footsteps of its parent, Ford Motor Company, in slashing sedans. As such, the brand’s small catalog has made it a niche brand catering to those who want an upmarket but SUV-only experience. While most of Lincoln’s lineup is selling better than ever this year, one Lincoln’s sales figures are dragging down the overall growth of the entire brand.

The Lincoln Corsair, Navigator, and Nautilus have strong 2024 sales so far

According to sales statistics from GoodCarBadCar, the first half of 2023 has proved to be a solid year for three of the brand’s models.

The full-sized flagship of Lincoln’s lineup, the Navigator, has been the sales growth champion for the brand through July of this year. Sales of the luxuriously appointed, 440-hp V6-powered large SUV were up 41% through July in year-over-year sales versus 2022.

The midsize Nautilus was revamped for 2023 and is now highlighted by an available hybrid powertrain and a 48-inch screen nearly running the length of A-pillar to A-pillar with plenty of upmarket luxury features like massaging seats and a 28-speaker sound system. Nautilus sales were up 40 percent in July and six percent in year-over-year sales. The Nautilus is Lincoln’s best-selling model through the first seven months of the year, with 14,420 models sold.

The compact Corsair, powered by a nearly ubiquitous turbocharged 2.0-liter engine, is the entry-level Lincoln with prices starting just north of $40,000. Sales of the Corsair were down 24 percent through July, but a strong month in which sales were up nearly 29 percent over July 2022 signaled the model coming out of its relative slump, undoubtedly helped by its facelift for the 2023 model year.

Though these three models underscore Lincoln is finding general favor among luxury SUV buyers, the Aviator is struggling to attract customers.

The Lincoln Aviator is in the middle of a notable sales slump

The Lincoln Aviator slots between the full-size Navigator and the smaller Nautilus. The Aviator provides seating for up to seven passengers, a powerful twin-turbo V6 delivering 400 hp and plenty of upscale amenities. The top model also features an electric motor upping the power to 494 hp with an all-electric drive mode good for about 18 miles on purely electric driving.

Though the Aviator has its appeal on paper, Lincoln sales are dismal for the midsize SUV so far this year. Just 164 models were sold in July, down from nearly 2,000 sold during July 2022 – a drop of 91 percent. Year-to-date sales are down 35 percent through July, with 8,377 models sold so far this year compared to nearly 13,000 this time last year.

Why is the Aviator struggling to find buyers?

It may be difficult to pinpoint the Lincoln Aviator’s sales struggles. The model isn’t generally heralded by critics, but neither is it condemned. A few other factors could be at play, though. For starters, the Aviator is a bit aged compared to the rest of the Lincoln lineup. It was last redesigned in 2020, while the rest of the automaker’s SUVs have been updated since 2022.

The Aviator also competes in the ultra-competitive midsize class, where it must compete with the likes of the venerable BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE class, Audi Q7, and Volvo XC90. One of the Aviator’s strong suits was it cost less than those models, but the Genesis GV80 is now in the fray. Though the GV80 costs about $4,000 more than the Lincoln, it is far better equipped in its standard guise.

But even those who want their next ride to come from a Lincoln dealership could be swayed by the brand’s other models. The Nautilus, though a compact SUV, is still quite spacious and offers a more modern and upscale cabin for those who don’t require a third row of seats. It’s also worth considering some buyers may be willing to pay the added premium for the palatial accommodations offered by the Navigator.

Although Lincoln’s largest SUV starts at a staggering $30,000 more than the Aviator, midrange and upper Aviator trims are near the Navigator’s $84,000 starting price. Buyers simply may be willing to dish out more dough for a larger, more modern, and more luxuriously equipped Navigator than to save on an Aviator.

Of course, this is speculatory, but sales figures show the Aviator is bringing down Lincoln’s overall sales beyond the year’s first half.


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