What is in this article?:
- Lincoln Looks to MKX, Continental for Growth
- Chinese Market Alluring to Lincoln
The new MKX CUV is arriving in showrooms as dealers sell down the old model. Next year,’s luxury brand will bring back the nameplate based on a sedan concept that was well-received at auto shows in New York and Shanghai.
Lincoln President Kumar Galhotra says China will have 65 Lincoln showrooms by end of 2016.
DETROIT – From Acura, Audi andto Cadillac, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz, the Lincoln brand is lagging its luxury rivals by a wide margin when it comes to vehicle sales, but Lincoln President Kumar Galhotra remains upbeat about overall prospects for growth in the U.S. and in China.
Speaking here to the Automotive Press Assn., Galhotra says the all-new MKX midsize CUV went on sale in September and has been selling briskly for two months at reasonably high transaction prices. “The MKX is off to a fantastic start,” he says.
Next year,’s luxury brand will bring back the nameplate based on a sedan concept that was well-received at auto shows in New York and Shanghai. It will replace the slow-selling MKS sedan.
Overall, Lincoln sold 8,485 vehicles in October in the U.S., down slightly from year-ago. Year-to-date, Lincoln has delivered 82,449 vehicles, up 7.5% from like-2014, according to WardsAuto data.
For perspective,sold 29,439 vehicles in October, bringing its year-to-date tally to 279,395 units. U.S. sales of luxury vehicles are up 9.3% to 1.6 million units through October, according to WardsAuto data.
When asked if it is difficult selling the MKX as an upscale version of theEdge, Galhotra says there is considerable differentiation between the two.
“It’s a unique Lincoln product. There is no piece of sheet metal that is common with any of the Ford product,” he says.
Still, automakers with both luxury and mainstream brands routinely share vehicle platforms and certain components, and Galhotra has no problem with that if the practice is measured.
“Which technology is important to the customer? We’re trying to design new experiences,” he says. “If a fuel tank is common between two vehicles, is that really important? My argument is it’s not a big deal. Actually it’s great for the business, great for our supplier partners and great for manufacturing. But it’s not a key part of the consumer experience.”
Technology may be shared, but the styling and interiors are completely unique, “and the experiences we are creating for both our customers are unique.”
Production of the Edge in Oakville, ON, Canada, began in February, while MKX output ramped up in September, reaching about 16,000 units to date, Galhotra says. Two shipments of the MKX already have landed in China.
Meanwhile, Lincoln dealers spent much of the year clearing out ’15 MKXs, and Galhotra says that should be completed by year’s end.
In the U.S., Lincoln has 300 dealership in the top 11 urban markets (making up about half of all luxury-vehicle sales) and another 600 stores in rural areas. Galhotra says he is satisfied with the mix.
“We are staying with that 2-tier dealership structure, in urban and rural areas,” he says. “In certain markets, we have some open parts where we’re not well represented.” A new store recently opened in New Jersey, and talks are ongoing for another new showroom on the East Coast and another on the West Coast.