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Is Lincoln designing a new pickup truck?

Lincoln has made two pickup trucks but neither reached any level of tremendous commercial success.

Photo courtesy of Lincoln Motor Company

Before luxury pickup trucks became the staple that they are today on America's roadways, there was one company willing to attempt to capitalize on the premium buyer. Unfortunately for that company, they were too early. But they had the right concept. That company is Lincoln.

The Lincoln Blackwood was the company's first attempt at a proper luxury pickup. It was built for the 2002 model year and was based on Ford's F-150 platform. It shared the F-150's 5.4-liter V8 that made 300 horsepower and was only available in rear-wheel drive. It had luxury features like a power tonneau cover and a wood-lined bed.

2006 Lincoln Mark LTThe Mark LT was a luxury level take on a traditional pickup but it may have been a little ahead of its time.Photo courtesy of Lincoln Motor Company

That truck made the way for the company's second attempt; the Lincoln Mark LT. That truck received the updated Triton V8 and was available with four-wheel drive. It was also a more practical truck, having a useful bed and other amenities. It was in production from 2005 until 2008 in the United States (yet carried on until 2014 in Mexico).

Nowadays, the F-150 Limited is nearly a $70,000 USD pickup truck – more than the Mark LT ever was – and people are buying them at a steady pace. It begs the question; is the Mark LT or other Lincoln pickup truck ready to make a return to the United States?

The answer is complicated. Officially, Lincoln is leaving the pickup trucks to Ford. They have their own things to worry about, such as a completely refreshed product line and paying Matthew McConaughey to not say his trademark phrase in commercials.

Unofficially sources have told AutomotiveMap that they aren't sure what a Lincoln pickup truck would even look like. How do you get more luxurious than the F-150 Limited that is already on sale?

That is, indeed, a fair question. The F-150 Limited has premium seats that are both heated and cooled. They have a massage function. The only thing that Lincoln offers above that in their vehicles is something they call "Perfect Position" front seats in the Navigator with dozens of different adjustment options.

The F-150 would benefit from a larger infotainment screen and a more attractive instrument cluster, which Lincoln could offer. But these upgrades are also likely to be attached to a refreshed F-150 that might debut as early as this year for the 2021 model year. That would negate the Lincoln benefit.

Lincoln could offer the truck with a plug-in hybrid, and we know Ford is working on electrification options for the F-150. Combine that with some other unique Lincoln features, like the Revel audio system and Phone as a Key and you might have something that stands out from the best Ford offering.

But would it be enough? The price ceiling on pickup trucks hasn't been reached, which is why manufacturers are able to charge $70,000 for a full-size, half-ton pickup truck. Globally, Mercedes-Benz built a luxury-minded pickup on the Nissan Navara platform but didn't see any sales success. Though the rest of the world does view the pickup truck differently than the United States. What we consider a midsize truck is about as large as they sell globally.

Ultimately, a Lincoln pickup truck revival is unlikely to happen due to differentiation. It's important for Lincoln to set itself from Ford, and like the Mark LT that came before, that is unlikely to happen. Yes, it'd be a different truck, but it wouldn't be different enough. Nor would it be a compelling enough reason for loyal truck buyers to buy a Lincoln instead of a Ford, even if they'd be built on the same assembly line.

There's space in the market for even more expensive trucks, but from Ford they'll likely carry the Ford Blue Oval on them.

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Lincoln will not make a performance variant to compete with Cadillac.

Lincoln

TheLincoln Navigator and Cadillac Escalade have been duking it out at the top of luxury SUV rankings for decades, but there’s one area of the Caddy’s development that Lincoln won’t touch. In a recent interview, a company executive told Ford Authority that it has no plans to create a performance variant of the Navigator to compete with the upcoming Escalade V from Cadillac.

2022 Lincoln NavigatorThe new Navigator features several upscale touches and excellent tech. Lincoln

That means the Navigator will stick with the powertrain it’s carried for years, which is a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine that makes 440 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with a smooth ten-speed automatic and either rear- or four-wheel drive. While there’s more than enough power to get the hulking Lincoln moving, it’s not a powertrain that inspires excitement or engagement, and though beefy, it’s tuned much more for comfort and quietness than drama.

Though more than adequate, those specs are a far cry from the numbers we expect from the Escalade V. The full-size bruiser from Cadillac is expected to get a supercharged 6.2-liter V8, similar to the unit seen in the CT5-V Blackwing and Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. We don’t know power numbers yet, but the engine should deliver horsepower and torque numbers in the high 600s.

Cadillac Escalade VThe Escalade V will be massively powerful. Cadillac

That Lincoln is taking a different approach isn’t surprising. The automaker has already announced its intention to go all-electric, so pouring more time and resources into creating a performance gas-powered SUV isn’t in line with its goals. Company executives have also expressed a desire to avoid imitating rivals, so the decision to leave a performance Navigator behind is not surprising.

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First-year Ford F-150 Lightning production numbers doubled
Ford

Ford has begun serial production of the new F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck, marking what could be one of the most important days in recent automotive history. The first trucks rolled off the assembly line at Ford's Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Michigan today, so America's best-selling truck has finally gone electric. Ford wants to sell two million EVs per year by 2026 and have half of its global sales volume to be electric by 2030.

Ford F-150 LightningPast meets future: Ford's new electric pickup will be the F-150 Lightningautomotivemap.com

Ford has seen extreme demand for the trucks, with 200,000 reservations since the books opened. To deliver, the automaker plans to increase production to an annual rate of 150,000 units by next year, which involved huge investments in the Rouge Center and created hundreds of jobs. Ford's total investment for the F-150 Lightning crests $1 billion across Michigan alone, and has created 1,700 jobs across various facilities in the state.

Ford F-150 LightningThe first production trucks left the factory today.
Ford Motor Company

Though the Lightning starts around $40,000, the most mainstream models will cost much more than that. The F-150 Lightning Pro, while affordable, is a stripped-down truck intended for commercial buyers. It's still a forward-looking electric truck with amazing capabilities, but it lacks much of the creature comforts and features that everyday drivers expect. Higher trims get the latest driver assistance features, including BlueCruise, which is Ford's semi-autonomous hands-free driving assistant. A 12-inch touchscreen is standard, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, navigation, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and more.

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