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Lincoln Nautilus Production Could End After 2023: Report

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2019 Lincoln Nautilus
Production of the Lincoln Nautilus may end by 2023
Photo: Lincoln

Lincoln Motor Company recently confirmed that its focus is on “a strong SUV portfolio,” which currently sits at four models. The uncertain fate of Ford Canada’s Oakville plant could see that number fall to three by spelling the demise of the stylish new Lincoln Nautilus.

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Per Automotive News Canada, Lincoln parent company Ford is considering cutting the next-generation Ford Edge from production plans. That rumor stems from AutoForecast Solutions Vice President Sam Fiorani, who claims multiple sources have come forward confirming that cutting the five-passenger midsize SUV is very much at the table.

The Edge shares a platform with the Lincoln Nautilus, and both SUVs are built at the Oakville Assembly Complex in Ontario. The Nautilus and Edge are the only two products built at the plant following last year’s cancelation of the Ford Flex and Lincoln MKT. Killing off the Lincoln Nautilus and Ford Edge would likely lead to the closure of Oakville Assembly unless contract negotiations this fall lead to a new product being built there after 2023.

Unifor Local 707 President Mark Sciberras told Auto News Canada that the union is heading into its upcoming negotiations knowing that it needs to fight for a new product program, which is not unfamiliar territory. In 2006, as production of the Ford Windstar wound down, Unifor got Ford for a $1 billion investment. This helped create several new jobs and ultimately paved the way for production of the Edge and Nautilus.

Ford’s Oakville Assembly Plant employs approximately 4,200 people.

What could the future hold for Lincoln and the Nautilus?

2019 Lincoln Nautilus
Photo: Lincoln

When asked by Motor 1 about the Nautilus potentially getting the ax, a Lincoln spokesperson responded: “The Nautilus plays and will continue to play an important role in Lincoln’s growing SUV portfolio, which includes the Corsair, Aviator, and Navigator. Lincoln is investing in growth segments like SUVs and we have no plans to exit the segment.”

Lincoln could extend production of the Nautilus past 2023 with a second generation or replace it with a new product at the end of its life cycle, but whatever comes next could ride on a new platform altogether. Back in 2018, Chief Product Development & Purchasing Officer Hau Thai-Tang said that Ford will cut the number of global platforms from nine to five. This would include a body-on-frame platform for rear-wheel and all-wheel drive, a unibody platform for front-wheel and all-wheel drive, a unibody platform for RWD/AWD, a unibody platform for commercial vans, and a unibody platform for battery-electric vehicles.

The current-gen Lincoln Nautilus and Ford Edge use Ford’s CD4 platform, which has been in use since 2012. Two Lincoln vehicles that ride on this same platform, the Lincoln MKZ and Lincoln Continental, are being discontinued. All other current products that use the platform — the Ford Mondeo, Galaxy, S-MAX, and Taurus — are not sold in North America.

Nautilus remains a sales leader for Lincoln

Lincoln would almost certainly need to replace the Nautilus with either a next-generation version or a new vehicle in the same class. In Canada, the Nautilus was the luxury brand’s top seller in 2019 with 3,236 vehicles delivered. The Nautilus also was also the brand’s bestselling vehicle in the United States last year and remains at the top of Lincoln sales through the first six months of the year.

Lincoln will also add a new fully electric SUV to its lineup sometime in the future. It was originally developing an EV based on Rivian’s skateboard platform, but it canceled that project earlier this spring to focus on a clean-sheet electric vehicle.

Whatever the fate of the Nautilus, Lincoln has earned its rep for delivering high-quality luxury SUVs. Earlier this year, Lincoln was named Canada’s top luxury SUV brand in Vincentric’s Best Value in Canada awards.

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