"I think of us more as a luxury boutique than a luxury shopping mall," Joy Falotico, Lincoln's president, told Automotive News. "We certainly want to grow volume, especially in China. But it's all about doing it in a healthy way."
Along the way, Lincoln backed off a commitment made under former Ford Motor Co. CEO Mark Fields that its global sales would hit 300,000 by 2020, and a sales strategy that included reducing fleet deliveries and company cars to improve profitability last year contributed to its biggest U.S. sales decline since 2009. But in the first quarter of 2019, sales jumped 11 per cent thanks in large part to a wave of fresh product that includes the redesigned Navigator SUV and the Nautilus midsize crossover that replaced the MKX. The next wave comprises the Aviator large crossover arriving this summer and the Corsair in the fall. Canadian sales are 2.2 per cent through the first quarter of 2019.
Executives have been mum on plans for the MKZ and Continental sedans, although analysts expect those vehicles to be dropped in North America as Lincoln leans into utilities, much like the Ford brand has done.
"It appears they've accepted who they are," Jeff Schuster, president of global forecasting at LMC Automotive, said in an interview. "They're not a volume premium brand that's going to be everything for everyone. That's OK; you don't have to be everything to everyone to still be successful."
Executives say Lincoln is built around the idea of "quiet flight." While other brands focus on performance, Lincoln wants to stress tranquility and the idea of the vehicle as a sanctuary.
The Corsair, for example, features a dual-wall dashboard in the engine compartment to reduce vibrations and sound, and it has a brand-specific rear suspension to improve driving feel.
"It's more about seduction than attack," Lincoln's design director, David Woodhouse, told reporters.