Lincoln Milks Navigator Success With Higher Prices

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But will a $3,500 price hike on Reserve models scare away some potential buyers?

Since the launch of Lincoln's redesigned 2018 Navigator, the big SUV has been a on a roll, posting consistent sales gains while winning over critics and consumers alike. The Navigator has a way to go to match the Cadillac Escalade for sales, but at its current pace, it will be the best year for Navigator sales since 2007, a ray of light for a brand that has struggled for many years but recently is showing promising signs of returning to form. With some good momentum going, is now really the time for a price hike?

The brain trust at Lincoln seems to think so, as CarsDirect has found out that the 2019 Navigator will see its price bumped across the lineup. Base models will jump $650 from $73,850 (all prices listed include the $1,295 destination fee) to $74,500, but it's rare for anyone to order a purely base model. The Select, the first of three trim level upgrades, also takes a relatively modest thousand-dollar leap from $77,850 to $78,850.

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The Reserve trim gets hit the hardest, the 2019 price of $86,500 representing an increase of $3,500 over the current price, but it's at lest offset by the inclusion of the popular $2,640 Technology package, which Lincoln previously said is selected by over 80 percent of Navigator shoppers. With features like adaptive cruise, lane departure warning with lane keeping aid, head-up display, and pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection, it's no surprise that luxury shoppers opted for this package almost universally.

Finally, the ultra-luxurious Black Label trim rises $2,190 to $97,690, that price easier to accept knowing it comes with Lincoln's 30-way power adjustable seats. Long-wheelbase Navigator L versions will see the prices increase in lockstep with the regular models, meaning the starting point for the biggest, fanciest Navigator crosses that psychological barrier of a hundred grand to $100,890. Though it was easy enough to reach that barrier previously by selecting one of the premium paint options or rear-seat entertainment system.

Price increases are a regular part of a vehicle's lifecycle, and while these represent barely a percentage point in some cases, they do eat into the Navigator's value quotient when compared to the more popular Cadillac Escalade. Considering the profit margins already in play on large luxury SUVs, it seems a bit premature for Lincoln to raise prices and risk stalling sales rather than continue to ride the Navigator's popularity and cash in on its rising star.

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