Remember How Everyone Thought Lincoln Aviator Would Obliterate Cadillac XT6 Sales?44
The year was 2019, and many automotive enthusiasts, observers and
analysts armchair quarterbacks immediately wrote off the Cadillac XT6 upon its announcement. The reason for the thinking was the new Lincoln Aviator from GM’s cross-town rival, Ford Motor Company. The consensus among the pundits was that the Aviator was a much better product that the XT6, and that it would simply obliterate the Caddy in terms of not only product attributes, but also when it came to sales volume. Now, three years into both vehicles’ lifespans, reality has proven to be very different.
Let’s briefly revisit the reasons that most discarded the XT6 and put their money on the Aviator. It essentially boils down to the architecture that underpins either vehicle, as well as the powertrains that propel them. While the 2020 and newer Aviator rides on all-new, rear-wheel-drive platform called CD6, the XT6 rehashed the existing GM C1 platform – a front-drive-based architecture initially launched with the Cadillac XT5 and second-gen GMC Acadia before making its way to a bevy of other GM crossovers like the Chevy Traverse, Buick Enclave, Chevy Blazer, and others.
The actual platforms don’t mean much. It’s the benefits that they provide each vehicle that can’t be ignored.
The longitudinal powertrain orientation of the Aviator’s architecture enables a long dash-to-axle ratio, creating design proportions that are more in line with luxury vehicles. More benefits delivered by Lincoln’s rear-drive platform are a more powerful standard engine – with the Aviator’s twin-turbo 3.0L V6 (400 horsepower, 415 pound-feet of torque) putting the XT6’s atmospheric 3.6L V6 LGX (310 horsepower, 217 pound-feet of torque) to absolute shame. Linc’s rear-drive benefits don’t stop there, since the platform also allows Lincoln to offer an even more impressive 494 horsepower and 630 pound-feet of torque thanks to its available plug-in hybrid drivetrain. Finally, the Aviator’s rear-drive roots also enable more natural handling as a result of more natural front-rear weight distribution.
The Cadillac XT6 doesn’t enjoy any of these benefits due to its front-drive bones and transverse engine orientation, which deliver more plebeian proportions (a short dash-to-axle ratio, for starters) and a more nose-heavy weight distro. And, as if to rub it in, GM introduced a new engine for the 2021 model year that was even weaker than the aforementioned not-so-powerful six. This came in the form of the turbocharged 2.0L I-4 LSY, which is rated at 235 horses and 258 pound-feet of torque. The outcry from the armchair CEOs reached roughly the same fever pitch as it did back when GM announced the XT6.
But despite all that, the doom and gloom for the XT6 was greatly exaggerated. The actual sales numbers show that the XT6 and Aviator have remained roughly even in the segment since becoming available.
In 2019, the year that both models launched, the XT6 actually outsold the Aviator by over 3,000 units, delivering 11,559 units in the U.S. market to the Aviator’s 8,323. One could make the argument that this isn’t exactly an apples-to-apples comparison due to initial availability and rollout-related items, so let’s take a look at the subsequent year.
Sales Numbers - XT6 vs Aviator Sales - 2019 - USA
|MODEL||YTD 19 / YTD 18||YTD 19||YTD 18||YTD 19 SHARE||YTD 18 SHARE|
Both models enjoyed a full year of sales during the 2020 calendar year. During this time, the Aviator gained some ground, outselling the XT6 by less than 500 units for the entire year. The 500 unit difference between the two is exactly one percent of the sales volume of both models combined – essentially a rounding error.
Sales Numbers - XT6 vs Aviator Sales - 2020 - USA
|MODEL||YTD 20 / YTD 19||YTD 20||YTD 19||YTD 20 SHARE||YTD 19 SHARE|
In 2021, the Aviator only outsold the XT6 by less than 300 units, with the models moving nearly 42K units on a combined basis – another month of neck-and-neck results, with the difference essentially being a rounding error.
Sales Numbers - XT6 vs Aviator Sales - 2021 - USA
|MODEL||YTD 21 / YTD 20||YTD 21||YTD 20||YTD 21 SHARE||YTD 20 SHARE|
And during the first half of 2022, the Aviator has pulled ahead of the XT6, posting a 1,571 unit advantage. However, it’s worth noting that GM didn’t produce the XT6 for a substantial amount of time during 2021 as a result of ongoing supply-level shortages, including but not limited to the well-publicized microchip shortage. As such, the numbers are far from a like comparison.
Sales Numbers - XT6 vs Aviator Sales - H1 2022 - USA
|MODEL||YTD 22 / YTD 21||YTD 22||YTD 21||YTD 22 SHARE||YTD 21 SHARE|
In any event, the XT6 and Aviator have essentially been seeing the same levels of sales success, despite all those early predictions to the contrary. Interestingly, it would seem that two wildly different approaches by GM/Cadillac and Ford/Lincoln have paid off for both automakers in equal measure. It also goes to show that power levels and drivetrain is not the highest priority for shoppers of luxury utility vehicles.
Sales Numbers - Luxury E-Segment Utilities - H1 2022 - USA
|MODEL||YTD 22 / YTD 21||YTD 22||YTD 21||YTD 22 SHARE||YTD 21 SHARE|
|LAND ROVER RANGE ROVER SPORT||-38.48%||6,269||10,190||4%||5%|
Despite the XT6 hanging with the Aviator in terms of sales volume, both models are far from the leaders in their overall segment – moving roughly a third of the segment best-sellers from BMW and Mercedes-Benz. That might seem like a failure at first, until we consider that Cadillac is a brand new entry in this space, having been absent from the segment from the very start. From that standpoint, it’s making up for lost time, and doing so relatively quickly. If only GM could produce more.
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Notes & Resources
- Running Cadillac sales
- Running Cadillac XT6 sales
- Running Lincoln sales
- Running Lincoln Aviator sales
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The XT6 still feels like a re-badged Chevy Traverse. I own one, and it’s meh at best. I enjoy driving my ATS much more. The ATS seats are a lot more comfortable. The final build quality of my XT6 is poor. It seems like there is no quality department at Spring Hill. The paint job is ugly, lots of dirt in the paint, trim pieces have large gaps or are not fully clipped into position. Overall a low quality build.
If it’s so nasty, why did you buy it?
Did you inspect it before signing for delivery? i’d have walked away. And, any self-respecting dealer would have shoved it right back on the transporter and refused it.
Interestingly, the XT6 was originally slated to be built on the CT6’s Omega RWD platform. GM decided to put it on the Traverse platform instead, as they wanted to save the development costs for the Lyriq and other future electric SUVs, including the XT6’s eventual EV successor.
As it happened, once the “Omega XT6″ died, so did the full-size CT8/”Escala” that was also due to use that platform…the XT6 volume to justify Omega’s existence were no longer there. And with no XT6 or CT8, the CT6 was a platform orphan…it wasn’t worth keeping Omega for one low-volume car.
I wonder what would have happened had GM developed V-SSR well before EVs became mainstream…I bet we’d have seen way more RWD GM’s.
JT for my money I will just stick with my wife’s 2019 Buick Enclave it’s just as nice and sweet as the XT6 and Aviator and had more room then both of them plus the price is cheaper. One last thing unless it’s a typeo why does the Caddy V6 only have 217 pound feet of torque and our Enclave with the same V6 has 277 pound feet.
I agree. I own a 2020 Buick Enclave and absolutely love it. I did price shop the XT6 and felt the Buick was much better in design and comfort. Plus, for some reason the XT6 seats are way to firm. The Enclave are plush and comfortable.
Buick often outshines Cadillac in CUV/SUV space. Envision and Envision + are prime examples but Emclave, too. Cadillac makes great sedans (screw interiors) but can’t do anything but an upmarket GMC SUV.
Sometimes I think an upmarket Buick aimed squarely at Lexus would be GM’s best bet because GMC brings so much traffic to dealers.
Can’t believe Volvo & Acura are besting Lexus, Rover, Audi.
i’m gonna have to disagree on that one. the enclave has gotten old and the envision is decent at best.
My only reason for not buying an Aviator is my local Ford agency is the sole Lincoln dealer in this area. They completely ignored me the two times I have been in their store; not so much as a how do you do.
As for the Caddie, it was uncomfortable, and I didn’t feel it offered a good value.
Thank you Gentle Grizzly.
I had a similar experience at the Ford/Lincoln store. They really need to step-up their dealership customer service.
As for the Caddy, we couldn’t even see one!! The dealership had nothing in stock.
Mine had no less than 5 in stock, one even in a color I liked. I climbed in, and promptly climbed out. Cramped with the huge console, none of the controls fell to hand in a way that was intuitive.
Regarding interiors this message is for ALL manufacturers. STOP hiring interior decorators and start hiring interior DESIGNERS.
my 23 enclave essence is practical/quiet/smooth/ large,better to have and not need than to need and not have. beautiful ebony and grey inside 310hp 266 lb ft torque. a bit expensive but pretty much everything now is over 50 grand,many large suvs are in the 80s- 90s and over 100. today what the new breed of people like is speed,tech and compete with each other to see which has more. ,at 70 i only care about safety,quiet,comfort,practicality. i cant picture anything other than a BMW-X7 or Mercedez GLS Aamong the few that could surpass the buicks quiet,and that costing more than double.
Did you notice that nobody in the market really cares besides the handful of people that work for the UAW that can afford one of these or people at the OEM
I love the XT6 it’s a great truck I just hope they change the interior and make it look more like the Escalade and hopefully they can make a V model
Sir, let’s not tarnish the V sub-brand!
Tarnish? The CT4-V uses a modified truck engine. And it doesn’t even matter, because it’s a blast to drive.
I always wished that Cadillac put the old transversely-mounted twin-turbo V6 from the XTS Vsport into the XT6…if only to give it a power boost.
No matter how you try to justify it, the XT6 doesn’t belong in Cadillac’s lineup.
(…and if we are being 110% honest, NONE OF THE XT’s are Cadillac worthy.) Nice for a Buick but unacceptable as a Cadillac. Especially for where Cadillac wants their brand image.
i hate to agree but i do seeing what all the competition has to offer,they need to step up and offer better interiors and more powerful drivetrains,even if price increases. they are still good quality.
I test drove all 3 mentioned and settled with the 2019 Traverse Premier since it was in my budget. The XT6 had vibrating seats…only added feature over my Traverse. The Enclaves dash was to big for my liking vs the Travere and features were the same for less so I choose the Traverse and saved close to 10k and got all the safety options, features, and engine, 305 hp 267 fl lbs, which turns out to be very capable…beat a newer Dodge Ram…lol He was being an ass. He now knows less weight/less hp can beat a fat truck with a fat man behind the wheel …idiot.
I didn’t look at the Aviator, assumed cost was more than Cadillac so I didn’t bother. I did test drive the K twins and was nice but when I asked 5 salespeople to attend my test drive the twins failed IMO compared to gm. Slower and slouchy turns with more left to right movement so I walked away.
I still have my Traverse. I live in the burbs and that human alert pops up on my dash is cool as runners, bikers, kids, and people walking their dogs are alerted, especially at night.
Traverse is really the best buy in this segment. Tahoe space for the price of a Telluride, with superior build quality.
If one is comfortable enough in their own skin to not care about brands, the Traverse is a perfect balance of price, power and technology.
Yes ; but its not a CADILLAC.
People don’t buy one , for purely practical purposes.
Cadillacs ALWAYS have more comfort & swag .
putting on the ritz
I think the Palisade is #1 for value, but in the luxury 3-row segment, it comes down to the X7 and the Aviator.
Big Papa obviously has never seen a Buick Enclave in top trim… It’s just as nice if not better then Cadillac and Lincoln and the Palisades yuck if you like driving a bull dog face around all day… Oh yeah how about Hyundais child labor and catching fire of engines, faulty transmissions, garbage electronics… I will stick with my 2010 Equinox LTZ V6 and my wife’s 2019 Buick Enclave if I need something new I will shop GM again I have had a great time with these vehicles I really can’t complain nothing major wrong just normal maintenance!
I say a choice between the XT4,XT5 and XT6 ,the XT5 is their winner. I also say if they had changed the body and dash in it for the 2023 year ,as previously planned ,the sales for it would have gone up.
My wife has been driving SRX’s and XT5’s since 2010. She’s loved everyone of them, and they’ve all been great trouble free vehicles. Personally I like the larger XT6 from a looks standpoint, but if it was my choice, she’d be driving an Escalade (she says both are to big).
While the rear drive layout may offer performance advantages over the XT6’s front drive/all wheel drive layout, very few people buy crossovers for their driving prowess, or thinking they’re performance vehicles. Most are bought as utilitarian people movers, where the most important handling factor, is how easy they are to drive and park.
GM cars in general have been at the top of all the quality ratings, and the XT6 is number one on the JD Power ratings for their segment, followed by the BMW X5 and X6, with the Lincoln, like most other Ford products farther down the list. This means as much to most SUV/CUV buyers, then how well they corner at speed.
First the imports took (or were given) the compact and midsize car market by Ford and gm
Then they were handed the full size car market….
Now they are taking over the compact and midsize CUV market as well as the luxury CUV market….
Right now the only markets where gm and Ford dominate are in full size trucks, SUVs and sports cars.
We can only hope that gm and Ford fight for whatever is left of the market segments that they dominate.
Lincoln and Cadillac are disgraces in the sense they were the number one and two luxury brands in the US and are now also rans. I personally feel that Lincoln is a dead brand with their “robust” four product offering and even those don’t sell worth crap.
I was never concerned that the Aviator would eat the XT6’s lunch, but I had a sense that the XT6 forgot to pack one. It’s nice in the context of the vacuum that is the GM/Cadillac showroom, but there’s not much to elevate it above the crowd in its class.
I purchased a new 2022 XT6 specifically because I wanted Super Cruise.
I really like the Super Cruise and use it on every road the Super Cruise indicator light says it is available.
My XT6 is comfortable, quiet and I enjoy all of the features.
I would buy again.
Super Cruise is a must have feature, like Adaptive Cruise was before Super Cruise. I’m looking forward to getting a GM vehicle with Ultra Cruise
Even though the Aviator appears to be the better vehicle to car enthusiasts and critics in general, it just goes to show that we enthusiast make up a very small market in sales volume.
By the end of the day, it is the everyday consumer who vote with their wallets and purses that matters the most regardless the strengths and weaknesses of the model.
Sales are still pathetic compared to the real competition in the luxury category. Constructed on an alpha+ platform would have made a formidable vehicle able meet the Europeans head on.
When the two together barely supass a Volvo, the verdict is they both lost. Not a fan of the XT6. No doubt the Aviator is a step up, and more expensive, but neither one delivers its basic brand promise in my view.
I’ve had a couple of car services of late pick me up in Aviators…ithey’re ok, but that V6 makes a load of noise that would turn me turn off as a buyer. It’s like they’re trying too hard to make a V6 engine in an SUV sound sporty and present. Same in a Navigator. I find it off-putting and off-brand…it sure isn’t the “power of sanctuary” that they promise. Lincoln is supposed to be understated and quiet and confident…that engine is the furthest thing from it. Cadillac is brash and needs to be seen….the XT6 could be a Renault.
An X5 seems like it delivers on the sporty feel a BMW, and a GLE delivers the smooth/silky promise of a Mercedes. Pretty elementary stuff. Do you think this has anything to do with them being 1st and 2nd in sales?
Stop justifying a subpar product with “Phew, Lincoln didn’t beat us (most of the time).” Here’s hoping that the 3-row Lyriq is the XT6’s replacement and keep aiming high if the Celestiq is your new brand mission. That the 7-year-old XC90 has remained around 3rd/4th place and 10-11% market share IS the definition of “Sales Obliteration.”
I love the front end of the Lincoln but any time I see one of them in person the long slope towards the rear of the vehicle always just makes it look weird to me. It almost looks like a station wagon. Wagons are just not my thing. The XT6 looks much more like an SUV to me. I think it’s the best looking of the XT line.
XT6 sole purpose is to go against Lincoln as stated in other posts and is a non factor against the other premium models. As a V owner, I wanted to like the XT6 and think it has the look to be a winner but that’s about it. It has nothing else worth paying extra for…so for me I’ll stick with my X5 turbo V8!
Comparing sales figures between the two is like doing it for apples and oranges. Looking at overall Lincoln vs. Cadillac sales figures, the Aviator is doing very well for Lincoln, while the XT6 is doing much less so for Cadillac. And Cadillac has more dealers than Lincoln which further shows how well the Aviator is doing vs. XT6.
Volvo has, from what I have read, less than half the number of dealership (282) as Lincoln (663) and Cadillac (900+) . Yet somehow Volvo manages to sell 70% more in this category than either Cadillac or Lincoln. BMW has 367 dealerships yet sells 3x the volume. Clearly this is about product not dealerships.
Yeah, I remember that. I also remember- and continue to observe- the 4-year-old Volvo XC90 at the time eat their lunch to the tune of (almost) surpassing COMBINED sales of XT6/Aviator. Again, it’s the product, stupid, not # of dealerships, lack of microchips, covid, blah, blah, excuses, excuses. And again, here’s hoping that the 3-row Lyriq replaces the XT6.
Craig these are not excuses microchips make up all of the systems in modern cars and it’s been an ongoing problem even Toyota is having trouble now. Oh Volvo have you read about their awful reliability lately they are not what they used to be when Volvo its own car company… To be honest the aviator and XT6 don’t really get me going like the new traverse or enclave.
Agree…it’s hard to accept how painfully out of touch your product planners need to be in order to fail badly against an unreliable Volvo.
Chevy, I’m a conundrum within the world of GMA. Huge Cadillac fan since the 2003 CTS and proud owner of a trouble-free 2016 Volvo XC90. Unreliability these days is usually focused on electronics and not durability or whether your vehicle will start in the winter. The major unreliable feature of the XC90 is the questionable software vendor for the GPS. It will take you around the world to get down the street. Road trips require my Garmin or smartphone, otherwise, pushing 80K glorious miles. Clean, good-looking timeless looks, timeless interior design. Solid as a rock all around. Agree that the folks at Buick make more beautiful vehicles, including the Enclave.
Craig I own a 2010 Chevy equinox ltz V6 and now has 110,00 miles and counting the only things I did where wheel speed sensors on the front wheels because of a GM service bulletins, a tune up, new shocks and struts and normal maintenance and it’s still running strong… As far as our 2019 Enclave it has 54,000 miles on it with no problems at all… I will buy GM again.