In August, Automotive News published a report stating that Lincoln plans to launch the Aviator Electric (formally confirmed in May 2021) in 2023. An update from Automotive News then suggested that sales would not begin at least till December 2024.
The first report stated that the production of the Lincoln Aviator EV will take place alongside the Ford Explorer EV at the Ford Cuautitlan Stamping and Assembly Plant. The Mexican facility currently builds the Mustang Mach-E, which went on sale in the U.S. in December 2020.
Aviator EV to give up its production capacity to the Mach-E?
Automotive News then said that Ford had decided to postpone production from mid-2023 to December 2024, and relocate production. The reason behind the production relocation is explained by the overwhelming demand for the Mustang Mach-E globally.
James Farley Jr., President and CEO, Ford, has said in a post on Twitter that the company is increasing the Mustang Mach-E production and expects to manufacture more than 200,000 units annually for North America and Europe by 2023. The three-fold growth in the Mustang Mach-E production perhaps required the Explorer EV and Aviator EV to give up their capacity at the Cuautitlan plant. Lisa Drake, COO, Ford (North America), has said that the company plans to make the Mexican factory a dedicated Mustang Mach-E production site.
A more recent article from Automotive News Canada suggests that Ford could make the Explorer EV and Aviator EV at the Oakville Assembly Plant in Canada. If the U.S. government offers a chunky incentive on EVs built locally at a unionized factory, the company could consider U.S. production instead, possibly the underused Flat Rock Assembly Plant or the Ohio Assembly Plant. If not, the Oakville plant could be the final production site.
The Ford Edge and Lincoln Nautilus gasoline-powered models made at the Oakville factory currently could cease to exist in a few years. Ford has confirmed that it’s bringing seven EVs to this Canadian plant and investing USD 1.8 billion by 2027. The company wants to roll out approximately 100,000 units of the Explorer EV and Aviator EV combined annually. Sales, production, and powertrain forecasting agency LMC Automotive expects the factory to have an annual EV production capacity of about 200,000 units.
Is the Aviator EV Lincoln’s first all-electric car?
Two weeks after Ford disclosed that it will launch a Lincoln Aviator EV at the 2021 Capital Markets Day on May 26, 2021, Lincoln announced on June 16, 2021, that it will unveil its global EV in 2022, and released a teaser showing that model’s front-end. Reports suggested this could be a Nautilus-sized ‘Lincoln Mark E.’ However, Automotive News says that Lincoln will reveal the Aviator EV as its first pure electric vehicle.
Hau Thai-Tang Chief Product Platform & Operations Officer, Ford, has said that a new rear-wheel drive/all-wheel drive BEV flexible architecture will underpin the Lincoln Aviator EV. In addition to family SUVs, the platform will be fit for active lifestyle vehicles with excellent driving dynamics, tough mid-size pickups, rugged SUVs, and cargo vans.
Lincoln Aviator sales plateau in 2021
Sales of the Lincoln Aviator in the U.S. have remained flat this year, and the Chicago-built SUV suffered due to the shortage of semiconductor chips which caused frequent plant shutdowns, as pointed out by BizJournals in September 2021. Year-to-date (January-November 2021) sales of the second-gen Aviator stand at 19,284 units. That’s a small decline of 3.2% from the same period in 2020 (19,926 units). In November 2021, 1,676 units of the Aviator went to dealers, marking a 13.7% year-over-year drop (November 2020: 1,942 units). The Lincoln Aviator is now in its third model year – MY2022.
Lincoln EV strategy
Lincoln aims to convert half of its global sales to ZEVs by the middle of the decade and plans to electrify its entire line-up by 2030. The new RWD/AWD BEV flexible architecture will underpin three EVs that follow the Aviator EV.
Featured Image Source: Lincoln