Lincoln Motor Company is the luxury division of Ford Motor Company. Under Ford, the Lincoln brand is part of the Big Three American auto manufacturers. Lincoln passenger vehicle models, including Lincoln sport utility vehicles, are usually based on Ford models, but offer a more luxurious style and more upscale and high tech features. Lincoln vehicles are sold mostly in North America, although Ford has plans to expand to new markets, including China. As of December of 2012, though, Ford Motor Company implemented a plan to help the Lincoln Motor Company look and feel more distinct from the Ford counterparts. Part of this change was to bring in separate design, development, and sales departments, so Lincoln could operate more independently and with less oversight than Ford. Ford also announced that Lincoln had new, distinctive vehicles in development.
The first Lincoln sport utility vehicle, the Lincoln Navigator, was introduced for the 1998 model year. The Lincoln Navigator was a more luxurious version of the Ford Expedition full size sport utility vehicle. It was one of the first luxury SUVs from a domestic brand, beating its main competitor, the Cadillac Escalade, to market by five years. The Navigator is Lincoln’s biggest vehicle, and depending on the way each vehicle is configured when it’s ordered, the Navigator has capacity for seven or eight occupants. It has only ever been sold equipped with Ford’s 5.4-liter V8 engine. This Lincoln SUV is still available, and it is produced in Wayne, Michigan and Louisville, Kentucky. Lincoln followed up the Navigator with the Lincoln Aviator, a slightly smaller, mid size sport utility vehicle that was based on the Ford Explorer but styled very much like the Navigator. The Aviator, which was introduced for the 2003 model year, was discontinued in 2005 because it was not priced competitively enough for the market, and may have ended up competing with Ford’s own Expedition and the Mountaineer from Ford’s Mercury brand.
In addition to traditional Lincoln sport utility vehicles, Lincoln has also added some crossover SUVs to the brand’s portfolio. The Lincoln MKX crossover, which would pave the way for others, was revealed, in concept car form, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in 2004. The concept MKX was smaller than the production version, which was introduced in late 2006 as a 2007 model year vehicle. The finished Lincoln MKX that went into production was a restyled version of the Ford Edge crossover. Like Ford, Lincoln views its crossover vehicles as a good way to round out the model lineup.