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Lincoln Now Sells More Vehicles in China Than in the U.S.

The Chinese market might yet save Lincoln the way it helped Buick survive Automotive columnist: , Updated:

Lincoln has been courting the Chinese market for years, but until now, the American premium automaker had not really succeeded in establishing itself there. Until now, the brand continued to sell more on its home turf than on the other side of the world.

Until now. In 2021, the company founded by Henry Ford passed a significant milestone. For the first time in history, Lincoln sold more vehicles in China than in the United States.

In all, Lincoln’s figures show it delivered more than 91,000 vehicles to China in 2021, which represents a 48 percent increase over 2020. But there’s another edge to the sword, of course. Lincoln also saw its sale drop in North America last year, to a total of only 86,929 units last year. This is Lincoln's worst performance in more than a decade, but admittedly its results have struggled to gain ground – or even maintain it - since the late 1990s.

Prior to 2008, Ford's luxury division relied on sales that exceeded 100,000 units each year in the United States. No more, and that's why s the news about the results in China is so significant.

Automotive News reports that the growth in China relative to the U.S. market is actually good news for the company’s finances as well. In 2014, former Ford CEO Mark Fields estimated that Asia would help Lincoln eventually sell 300,000 vehicles worldwide by 2020. That hasn't happened yet, but there’s movement in that direction at least., 100% online, shop for your next car, buy online and get it delivered to you anywhere in Quebec!

Lincoln Zephyr
Lincoln Zephyr
Photo: Lincoln

To achieve its gain, Lincoln has deliberately adapted to the Chinese market. Among other things, the automaker called on Eight Inc, the firm behind the designs of the first Apple stores, and it has set up sales outlets that are welcoming to customers, right down to teat rooms.  Lincoln models on display literally sit on pedestals with unique, flattering lighting.

In other words, selling a customer experience comes first... and it seems to work. Lincoln has also taken care to keep producing models it knows are popular tin China, like the Continental sedan and a certain Zephyr.  

In an oversimplified nutshell, what happened with Buick several years ago is happening now with Lincoln. This is a good sign for Lincoln - Buick continues to enjoy a strong presence in China.