DETROIT — Lincoln Motor Co.'s residual values have surpassed those of the three biggest German luxury makes, a significant milestone born from a patient, consistent product strategy and an injection of analytics into sales and marketing operations.
According to figures from Cox Automotive, Lincoln's residual values at 36 months topped those of BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz in January. Since 2018, Lincoln's residuals have consistently beaten BMW — the nation's top-selling luxury brand — and often have exceeded or been in line with Audi and Mercedes. The trend, which coincided with the brand adding more crossovers to its lineup, is likely to continue, given last week's news that Lincoln is discontinuing the MKZ sedan and co-developing a luxury electric vehicle with startup Rivian.
Lincoln's U.S. sales, despite an 8.3 percent gain in 2019, still trail many rivals. But strong residual values are a vital metric in the lease-heavy luxury space, allowing automakers to offer customers more attractive monthly payments. And it's a striking contrast to the lifelessness that Lincoln exhibited in the early 2010s, when beating the German luxury juggernauts in any vital metric seemed unthinkable.