November 13, 2017
Luxury SUVs Have Come Roaring Back
Not that long ago, many were predicting the imminent demise of the SUV. In the dawn of the hybrid subcompact, there just wouldn’t be room on the road for the largest SUVs much longer. Well, we all know how that prediction turned out. After a brief dip, SUVs are back as one of the most popular types of cars on the road.
It’s been a long and interesting road for ultra-luxury SUVs like the ground-breaking Lincoln Navigator. Debuting about 20 years ago, the “first luxury SUV” (at least according to Ford) transformed the automotive market, setting a new bar for what a luxury “car” could be.
In those days, SUVs were heavily depending on the “Utility” to sell their vehicles. Many SUVs rode like trucks and took a beating like old-school Jeeps. But when people got their first look inside the Navigator, with its big, comfortable seats, gorgeous interior, and expansive interior space, consumers definitely did a double-take. It wasn’t very long before just about every major brand had a luxury SUV to call their own.
Today, the top of the line luxury SUVs flirt with six-figure price tags and come with options up to and including automatic fold-down steps. And, while these big, boxy vehicles don’t exactly corner like a sports coupe, you do get that quintessential Lincoln feeling of floating down the highway on a cloud.
Then there’s the Be Seen dynamic. In a world where people once tried shaming SUV drivers for operating unnecessary gas guzzlers, the market segment has come roaring back, continuing to grow. There’s no doubt, people love their SUVs, and Lincoln is one automaker that understands what their customers want and exactly how to deliver it – big, beautiful and over the top.
The Navigator’s chief competition, the Cadillac Escalade offers many of the same amenities and benefits. Choosing which one you prefer has a bit of both the F-150 v. Silverado and Mercedes v. BMW feel about it. No matter who you ask, there is definitely no middle ground.
But, whether the consumers are “Escalade People” or “Navigator People” there’s no doubt that the big, brawny, and beautiful land yachts that were supposed to be on their way out are sticking around for a while longer. Lincoln and Cadillac made this happen with a strong series of targeted PR campaigns that reminded fans why they loved their SUVs in the first place.
The message resonated, and people who had been considering “something smaller” pinched themselves and asked who they were kidding. Go big or go home. The only real decision was which brand to buy.
Ronn Torossian is the Founder and CEO of the New York based public relations firm 5WPR: one of the 20 largest PR Firms in the United States.