Despite the addition of a corporate split grill a few years ago, there’s no denying Lincoln’s outgoing Navigator is one old piece of kit. As such, the glitzy premiere of the new-for-2018 Navigator heralded greater full-size Lincoln SUV sales not just from new buyers, but returning ones.
Having seen what Dearborn was up to, it seems some inhabitants of the Renaissance Center decided to try and spoil Lincoln’s fun. If you’re the owner of a 1999 or newer Lincoln vehicle who’s thinking of maybe getting into a new Navigator, Cadillac would like you to know there’s 5,000 smackeroos waiting for you on the hood of your nearest Escalade.
A memo detailing the month-long, nationwide discount was just uncovered by Bloomberg, with GM confirming its authenticity.
With the revamped Escalade currently rolling into dealerships, Cadillac’s venerable Escalade is no longer the new kid on the lot. As tarted-up versions of lesser models, the Escalade and Navigator’s high MSRP represents big profits for both companies. It seems Cadillac wants to lure a few would-be Navigator buyers away.
The $5,000 discount on the purchase or lease of a 2018 Escalade can be combined with other GM offers. (Cadillac’s website now shows the offer, targeted at “customers with a Lincoln in the household.”) A base 2018 Navigator carries an MSRP of $73,250, including destination. Ford Motor Company has also applied a $1,000 lease incentive. The Escalade, on the other hand, starts at $75,290 after delivery.
With standard wheelbase, rear-drive Escalades now cheaper than a comparable Navigator (at least to Lincoln owners), what’s left for consideration is styling and content. Both models carry a jointly developed 10-speed automatic. The Cadillac, dressed in a sharp, slab-sided body that’s aging well, carries the revered 6.2-liter V8 under its hood, making 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque. Its Lincoln rival, wearing a newly angular and imposing Ford Expedition-derived body, receives a massaged version of Ford’s 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, tuned for 450 hp and 510 lb-ft.
Will the gambit work? GM must feel it’s worth it, and a representative couldn’t resist the chance to kick some sand in Lincoln’s face.
Speaking to Bloomberg, GM spokesman Jim Cain remarked, “I don’t know that this will hurt their launch. But it is a way for Lincoln customers step up into something more meaningfully luxurious.”
Ouch. The Navigator’s decline in status, which Cain alludes to, is something Lincoln hopes to address with its new model. In any given year since the recession, Lincoln has sold roughly one-quarter to one-third of the Navigators it unloaded at the beginning of the century. Meanwhile, Cadillac regularly sells more than twice as many Escalades in a year. In October, the outgoing Navigator sold 656 units to the Escalade’s 2,079.
A version of this story originally appeared on The Truth About Cars.