Ford's luxury brand boasts younger buyers for its flagship SUV.
The image you have of Lincoln in your head is likely wrong. While Ford's luxury brand has sold to a decidedly older audience for decades, the automaker's clientele is skewing younger as time goes on. The Navigator, Lincoln's flagship SUV, is especially exciting, with buyers trending well below the retirement age.
We get it. After decades of cars like the Mark VIII and the frumpy early versions of the Navigator, it's easy to believe that Lincoln only sells mothball-scented cars to silver-haired snowbirds in Florida and Arizona. However, as it turns out, that's not entirely true.
As Ford Authority reports, Lincoln Navigator Marketing Manager Laura Clark noted that the full-size luxury SUV attracts people in their late 40s and early 50s. The standard Navigator draws buyers with an average age of 52, while the top Black Label trim sees buyers with an average age of 48.
Younger buyers are good news for any company, but it's not just the Navigator bringing reasons to celebrate for Lincoln. The Lincoln Aviator, the brand's second-largest SUV, trended even younger, with 22 percent of buyers between the ages of 35 and 44 years old.
What's behind the shift? Part of the change comes from Lincoln's popularity in China, where the average car buyer is in their 30s. Almost half of the automaker's sales come from China, tallying more than the U.S. and Canada together. The locally-produced Corsair SUV is a significant driver of that growth in China, but others, such as the Aviator, are also home-grown success stories.
That success makes China easily one of Lincoln's most important markets, but the automaker has to stay on top of infotainment and safety features to remain relevant. The Navigator just got a refresh for 2022 that brought updates to its tech and design elements. The new SUV features ActiveGlide, a hands-free adaptive cruise control system capable of piloting the Navigator on designated North Ameican highways. It also gets SYNC 4, Ford and Lincoln's latest infotainment software with over-the-air updates, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa functionality.
Even with younger demographics showing up for Lincoln, the Navigator has ground to make up to catch the Cadillac Escalade. GM's full-size luxury ute commanded 54 percent of the market in 2021, compared to just 21 percent for the Navigator. Even though Lincoln moved fewer than half the number of Navigators than Cadillac sold Escalades, the SUV is comfortably in second place in its segment.