The Lincoln brand arrived in China eight years ago and FoMoCo has launched a number of products over that time frame including the Lincoln Corsair, Lincoln Nautilus, and Lincoln Aviator, but with little success. Lincoln’s sales in China have long lagged behind its luxurious competition, even as it has earned high marks for dependability and sales satisfaction over that time period. Regardless, things are looking up for the Lincoln brand in that country after it recently launched its first dedicated Chinese product – the all-new Lincoln Zephyr – and its sales grew faster there than in the U.S. for the very first time in 2021, which marks quite the dramatic turnaround, according to the Detroit Press.
“Every automaker needs to be successful in China because it’s the largest auto market in the world by almost double,” market analyst Jon Gabrielsen told the Free Press. “People outside the industry have no idea. For automakers, China is a must-succeed market. If you aren’t successful in China, you’re opting out of nearly half the global auto market.”
Lincoln is certainly doing well in that important market, as 91,000 of the 193,000 vehicles Lincoln sold worldwide last year went to China, versus 83,000 in the U.S. and Canada combined. In addition to the brand’s strong heritage proving appealing in China, its social media campaigns have also drawn in a large number of younger shoppers – which is critical in a country where the average new car buyer is in their 30s. “The growth is really driven by Corsair,” said Lincoln President Joy Falotico. “The age of the consumer for the entire industry is a lot younger in China than in the U.S.”
This growth in China is critical for Lincoln, which has seen its sales in other parts of the world – the U.S. included – fall significantly in recent years. “Lincoln is trying to make their mark. And it’s a significant increase,” said Joe McCabe, CEO of AutoForecast Solutions. “They need a rebirth. You don’t see a lot of youth buying Lincoln in the U.S.” “With the momentum they’ve got from China and growth here, it makes sense for Ford to continue investing in Lincoln as a brand going forward,” added Sam Abuelsamid, principal analyst at Guidehouse Insights.