Lincoln’s Biggest Strength Is That It’s Not Infiniti
Lincoln, the luxury division of Ford, has occupied a relatively weak and precarious position in the luxury ranks. Many other brands offer more popular models, versatile lineups, and more comprehensive future plans. Not to mention more effective marketing strategies to court potential customers. Still, Lincoln has advantages in the marketplace, most notably, the fact that it isn’t Infiniti.
Why Infiniti is in a weaker position than Lincoln
Though Lincoln is behind the curve against many of its competitors, it is certainly in a better position than rivals Infiniti.
Lincoln is far outpacing Infiniti in sales. Three of Lincoln’s SUVs sold in greater numbers than the best-selling Infiniti, the QX60, in 2022, according to GoodCarBadCar. The full-size Navigator outsold its QX80 competitor by nearly a two-to-one margin in 2022.
Despite serving as the luxury wing of Nissan, which has several hybrids and an EV on sale, Infiniti has still yet to introduce any hybrids of fully-electric models.
Simultaneously, Infiniti’s lineup is showing its age across the board. The Q50 sedan hasn’t been significantly updated since 2014, and the same can be said for the QX80. The QX50, the QX55 fastback, and the QX60 are more modern, but they have still failed to impress overall.
As Infiniti’s models lack leading status in their markets, don’t cater to those seeking a hybrid or EV, and are aged against their rivals, the brand appears to be focusing on the wrong things. The brand recently unveiled a new design philosophy…for its dealerships. An updated dealership experience might serve to benefit those purchasing an Infiniti. However, its models must first get customers in the door. And Infiniti isn’t doing itself any favors in attracting new customers at the moment.
Lincoln’s current lineup and discontinued models
Henry Ford famously wrote in his autobiography that buyers of the Model T could have their car painted in any color they liked, “so long as it’s black.” More than a century later, Lincoln buyers can have any body style they like, so long as it’s an SUV.
Like Ford, Lincoln has discontinued its lineup of sedans. This includes the MKC, Continental and MKZ, retooling the brand to exclusively offer SUVs. While SUVs have certainly become more popular among the general car-buying population, luxury cars remain a stalwart among other brands. BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Acura, and others are popular in this segment. As such, other luxury automakers can offer prospective buyers a range of choices. Lincoln’s lineup is limited to a selection of SUV sizes.
Lincoln currently offers for SUVs – the compact Corsair, mid-size Nautilus and Aviator, and the full-size Navigator. The Navigator and Corsair are a bit aged against their competition. But the Nautilus has been overhauled for 2024, while a revamped Aviator is set to hit the road soon.
You probably didn’t know that Lincoln has hybrid models
If you didn’t know that Lincoln has a lineup of hybrid models, you’re not alone. While its rivals, particularly Lexus and Volvo, have touted their hybrid offerings, Lincoln has quietly (at least from a general car buyer’s perspective) introduced several hybrid SUV models.
The compact Corsair has an optional 2.5-liter four-cylinder plug-in hybrid powertrain developing 266 horsepower and an all-electric range of about 28 miles.
New for 2024, the Nautilus is now available in three hybrid trims with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four and 100kW electric motor combining for 310 total horsepower.
Luxury rivals with better reviews, stronger sales, and more variety
Lincoln was once at the pinnacle of the American luxury market, but rivals like Cadillac, Lexus, Genesis, Volov, and others have added appeal. These brands offer more variety in body styles as all still sell sedans. To boot, these brands have put a stronger emphasis on hybrids, and all have fully electric models available, something Lincoln has yet to offer.
Brands like Cadillac and Lexus have proved more popular among consumers, and Genesis is quickly gaining ground on the more established luxury automakers; Lincoln is no exception.
While reviewers are generally positive about Lincoln’s current lineup, the brand doesn’t particularly stand out in any category in which it competes.
Future plans for the Lincoln brand
The next major step for all automakers is electrifying their lineups, and Lincoln currently trails the pack with only two hybrids and no all-electric models. Lincoln announced in 2021 that it expected half of its models sold to be EVs by mid-decade and that the brand would be fully electric by 2030. So far, Lincoln has only debuted the Star Concept, an EV SUV, but revealed at the time three EVs would be released by 2025.
Meanwhile, the Navigator is set to receive a refresh, purportedly for the 2025 model year.