DETROIT -- The fastest-growing luxury brand in the U.S. last year was not BMW, Lexus or Audi.
It was -- believe it or not -- Lincoln, a marque synonymous with big, barge-like sedans that's now staking its comeback hopes mostly on utility vehicles.
In its first eight months on the market, the MKC crossover singlehandedly propelled Lincoln sales 16 percent higher in 2014. That's more than double the average increase for luxury makers, though Lincoln ranked as just the eighth largest of those brands, for a fifth consecutive year.
Lincoln aims to build on its momentum this fall with a redesigned MKX, which it unveiled at last month's Detroit auto show.
After its U.S. sales fell to a 32-year low in 2013, Lincoln's one-two punch in a hot corner of the industry has given long-suffering dealers reason to feel optimistic again.