In a speech this morning at the Chicago auto show, Ford vice president of marketing, sales, and service Mark LaNeve announced that the automaker plans to launch four new global SUVs by 2020. The launch is intended to capitalize on the fact that Millennials, who tend to prefer SUVs to other types of cars, are maturing and beginning to start families, LaNeve said. Ford’s research also shows that baby boomers — generally accepted as the generation born between 1946 and 1964 — grow older, those drivers also prefer SUVs and crossovers.
“As members of the 80-million-strong Millennial age group enter their prime child-rearing years, a leading indicator of more SUV sales, nearly 80 million aging baby boomers continue to prefer their SUVs,” LaNeve said in a statement. “It’s a demographic double whammy.”
The announcement is hardly surprising given that most automakers are seeing crossovers and SUVs rise in popularity. Ford says its research reveals that many drivers prefer sitting higher in cars, and also “feel younger and more active” when they drive a crossover.
Lincoln will also launch a new crossover. The most likely option is a luxurious three-row crossover model to fit between today’s two-row MKX and the large, body-on-frame Navigator. That model could be based on Ford’s next Explorer and, according to some reports, may revive the name Aviator. It could arrive by 2019.
Lincoln could also add a more coupe-like model, following the trend of stylish (if somewhat compromised in terms of interior space) models like the BMW X4 and Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe; or a smaller, luxurious crossover that fits below the MKC.
Stay tuned to see how Ford will expand its offerings in the popular SUV/crossover segment over the next four years.