- Ford Motor will import its next-generation Lincoln Nautilus from China to the United States, the company said Monday evening.
- The vehicle is currently manufactured for the US at a Canadian facility, where the automaker recently announced it would invest about $1.3 billion to transition the facility to electric cars.
- Importing a vehicle from China to the US is not unprecedented, but can draw public and political criticism.
2024 Lincoln Nautilus
Ford Motor will import its next-generation Lincoln Nautilus from China to the United States, the company said Monday evening.
The mid-size crossover is currently produced for the United States at Ford’s Oakville Assembly Plant in Ontario, Canada. The automaker recently announced it would invest 1.8 billion Canadian dollars (about $1.3 billion) to transition the facility into a new hub for electric vehicles.
This is the first time Lincoln has imported a vehicle into the United States from China.
Importing a vehicle from China to the United States is not unprecedented, but can draw public and political criticism or backlash, especially when tensions between the two countries are high.
Most notably, General Motors has been criticized for importing its Buick Envision crossover from China into the U.S. since 2016. The Detroit automaker has sold more than 200,000 of the Chinese-made vehicles, which U.S. union representatives have called “the invasion” and “a blow in the face.”
2024 Lincoln Nautilus
However, importing a vehicle from abroad into the United States can make good business sense for a company like Ford.
“In this case, it’s a good use of resources,” said Stephanie Brinley, associate director of research at S&P Global Mobility. “Without importing, Lincoln doesn’t get the product, and the brand needs products between now and when the electric cars arrive.”
Brinley said the decision to import the Nautilus does not suggest a fundamental shift for future U.S.-market Lincolns, noting that the company continues to produce most of its U.S.-market vehicles in North America.
“Lincoln is a growing global brand,” a Lincoln spokeswoman said in an email. “As we execute our US manufacturing growth plans, we believe it makes sense to centralize Nautilus production in China for both markets (since we already manufacture Nautilus in China for the local market) which will allow us to achieve manufacturing efficiencies and retool our Oakville facility to get ready to build the next generation of electric cars.”
The news comes a week after Ford released a report that said it was the top automaker in terms of vehicles assembled and hourly auto workers employed in America, as well as vehicles exported from America to other countries.
2024 Lincoln Nautilus
The new Nautilus will have a redesigned exterior and new interior that includes near-door-to-door screens for front-seat passengers. It also offers a new feature called “Lincoln Rejuvenate.”
Ford describes Lincoln Rejuvenate as a “multisensory experience in the cabin including lighting and digital scent.” Lincoln revealed a concept car called the Star last year that included such features, but the Nautilus is the first US production car built with the unique features. The automaker has offered cars with the feature in China.
“Lincoln Rejuvenate, a stationary experience, orchestrates specially curated sensory experiences related to lighting, screens, personal preferences such as seating position and massage options – allowing customers to recharge,” the company said in a release for the vehicle’s unveiling Monday night.
Scent cartridges to fill the vehicle’s cabin are located in the center armrest. The company said fragrances that come with the package include:
- “Mystic Forest, an earthy blend with woody, rich notes of patchouli.”
- “Ozonic Azure, a sharp blend of aromatic patchouli and traces of light violet.”
- “Violet cashmere, exotic white flowers and reliable violet that is crisp and refined like fresh linen.”
Lincoln Star concept electric vehicle
The vehicle will be powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine as well as a hybrid powertrain. The car is expected to go on sale in early 2024, with starting prices between $51,810 and $75,860.
The redesigned Nautilus and “Lincoln Rejuvenate” come as the once prominent American luxury brand attempts to rejuvenate itself.
Sales of Lincoln vehicles fell 4% last year in the US to fewer than 83,500 vehicles. That’s down from a recent peak of more than 112,200 in 2019.