Lincoln Appears to Be off to a Rough Start This Year
The Lincoln brand has been full of ups and downs over the years. It’s been fully committed to being an SUV brand in the U.S. since the Continental and MKZ were discontinued in 2020. This makes sense since SUVs are so dominant in the luxury car world. Despite that, the brand seems to be struggling with sales so far in 2023.
Lincoln sales are slow in 2023
With the exception of the Navigator, the sales numbers for every Lincoln model are in decline, according to GoodCarBadCar. Compared to the same period in 2022, Navigator sales are up 77% so far in 2023. However, the Nautilus is down 5%, the Aviator is down 3%, and the Corsair is down a significant 50%.
We can’t really blame those declines on slumping sales in those segments. In the same period, the midsize Lexus RX is up 1%, and compact Lexus NX sales are up 62%. The Acura MDX is a direct rival to the Lincoln Aviator, and its sales are up 14%.
Lincoln’s plan to sell SUVs exclusively in popular segments sounds great on paper. However, the brand’s sales numbers show that it will take more than that to win more market share from competitors like Lexus, Acura, and its old cross-town rival, Cadillac.
A lack of excitement in the lineup
While everyone knows and loves the Lincoln Navigator as the brand’s long-time halo SUV, there isn’t much else to get excited about in the Lincoln lineup. The Aviator Grand Touring plug-in hybrid is interesting, but potential buyers might be confused by the fact that it’s a hybrid luxury SUV engineered for performance more than efficiency. It’s cool, but apparently not enough to generate much excitement about the Aviator.
Then there’s the Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring. We wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t know there was a PHEV variant of the Corsair; Lincoln doesn’t seem to be doing much to get the word out. This is an interesting proposition since it earns an impressive 78 combined MPGe rating and is capable of a 28-mile all-electric range. However, a compact Lincoln SUV starting at $53,885 is a tough sell.
Lincoln needs its own V-Series
Cadillac has done an excellent job fostering the V-Series as a performance subbrand. The non-Blackwing V-Series models of the CT4 and CT5 understandably have their naysayers, but the “V” badge has become desirable. It creates more excitement and appeal for the Cadillac brand.
In case anyone from Lincoln is reading this, we think the 700-horsepower supercharged V8 in the upcoming Ford F-150 Raptor R would fit nicely under the hood of a Navigator as a competitor to the incredible Cadillac Escalade V. It would certainly get people talking about Lincoln.
The new Nautilus should help
The midsize 2-row Lincoln Nautilus is entering an all-new generation for the 2024 model year. This is a stylish and high-tech SUV. It’s available with the BlueCruise hands-free driving system, the luxurious Black Label package, and a display spanning the whole dash that reminds us of the Hyperscreen available in Mercedes-EQ EVs.
The new Nautilus could breathe some new life into the Lincoln brand. A greater focus on futuristic technology like BlueCruise and that massive screen could make buyers think of Lincoln as a more high-end brand, yielding more sales and higher transaction prices.