GM Leads Ford in Luxury as Cadillac Outpaces Lincoln
During the month, Cadillac sales rose 21% to 13,417. For the first seven months, Cadillac sales fell 13% to 76,229, about 5% of total GM sales.
Meanwhile, Lincoln's July sales fell 11% to 6,975. For the first seven months, Lincoln sales were down 2% to 48,937, partially due to discontinuation of the Town Car, which sold about 6,000 more cars in 2011 than in 2012. For the first seven months, Lincoln accounted for about 3% of Ford sales.
"We have transformed Cadillac," proclaimed Kurt McNeil, vice president for sales operations, on GM's July sales conference call. GM can "now compete outside of the traditional sweet spot of large trucks and utility vehicles," McNeil said. Cadillac sales included 1,739 new XTS luxury large sedans, while the first Cadillac ATS, a small luxury sedan expected to lead the brand's transformation, rolled off the assembly line in Lansing, Mich., on July 26. It is now starting to show up at dealerships.
Edmunds.com analyst Jessica Caldwell said Cadillac's July sales benefited from incentives averaging around $5,200, the highest for any brand.
"Cadillac is making strides, trying to shake things up and get aggressive," Caldwell told reporters on a conference call. She said the auto industry is now focused on the ATS challenge to BMW. "We haven't seen that delivery yet from Lincoln," she added. "They are going into a tough market as well."
Lincoln awaits the first delivery of its transformation vehicle, the MKZ, which is scheduled to arrive in showrooms late this year."That's going to be our turning point," said Ford sales analyst Erich Merkle, in an interview. "The MKZ is really the start of the new Lincoln." Merkle said the decline in Lincoln sales reflects an effort to diminish the brand's fleet sales. "Retail sales at Lincoln are in line with last year," he said.
Looking ahead, Lincoln will introduce seven new or significantly refreshed models by 2015.