Lincoln hood ornament (source: flickr user pmarkham)
In 1999 Cadillac admitted that it had "overstated" its 1998 sales in an attempt to keep its 57 year winning streak as the nation's best selling luxury car. This confession lead to a Lincoln victory.
The final numbers were for 1998 were Lincoln: 187,121 and Cadillac: 182, 570. There was much rejoicing at Lincoln's headquarters.
As a side note, a 1999 NY Times article covering the Cadillac/Lincoln story quoted stock prices of $86.94 for GM and $64.38 for Ford.
That moment of victory was probably a high-water mark for the brand. Since that time, Cadillac has surged forward in its attempts to recapture the title "Standard of the world." Meanwhile Lincoln has seen its Navigator, the veritable engine of Lincoln sales, slow to a crawl and its other offering post modest sales numbers. At the end of the 2008, a "just shoot me" year for car sales, Lincoln posted 107,295 sales and Cadillac scored 161,159.
Click to view this slideshow of future Lincolns and a bit of the past.
All that is in the past. Let's look to the future! For 2010 Lincoln is launching its new crossover, the MKT and refreshing its MKZ sedan. The turbocharged EcoBoost engine will be made available in the MKS and MKT. For 2011 the MKX gets the new family snout when it gets a mid-cycle update while the Navigator and Town Car may come to an end. Looking further ahead, Automotive News predicts a possible compact sedan, compact crossover and an MKS refresh for 2012.
The switch towards smaller luxury is quite a departure from the Navigator fueled sales renaissance of the late nineties. Will consumers accept a Ford Focus sized luxry car? There was a lot of interest over the Lincoln C concept at this year's Detroit Auto show, but would that translate in to appreciatable sales? A small, luxury crossover based on the Ford Kuga (see slideshow) would probably fare better.
I have covered Ford's entire 2010 lineup in a three part series. You can read the story by clicking here for Part I, Part II and Part III. I have also written an article on Ford's 2010+ future lineup, you can read it here.
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