By on January 8, 2008

08sabl_prm34frtdrv.jpgFour vehicles. That’s all you’ll find on Mercury's web site. If you’re as “lucky” as I am, Mercury will respond to your browsing by asking if you want to spend five minutes on a questionnaire. Say what? Asking for five minutes of your customer's time before you even show them your products? That isn’t the smartest thing to do to a spam-weary public. Then again, once you click on the word "No" and return to the actual products, you begin to realize that the entire Mercury product line represents the brand’s not-so-smart existence.

In fact, calling Mercury a “brand” is like calling a sampling of the touch-tone hold music version of Greensleeves a classical music concert. The erstwhile automaker represents nothing to nobody in a fantastically non-descript way. Every vehicle Ford sells as a Mercury is either a drab clone or a dying breed.

Milans are mildly redesigned Fusions that sit on dealer lots for nearly four months. Mariners are half-blinged Escapes sporting fake wood, fake leather and a very large and cheap fake plastic grille. Mountaineers are Explorers who’ve lost contact with base camp (which has given-up and moved further down the slope). The Mercury Sable is so boring and pointless that most full-sized car shoppers don't even know it exists. And the last of the great Panther-platformed sedans, the Grand Marquis (which outsells the Sable), appeals to customers who make Buick buyers feel like spring chickens.

In short, aside from Jill Wagoner’s comely curves, there is nothing compelling about anything Mercury says or does. Of course, Mercury’s non-existence is nothing new. The division hasn't had a competitive product or a compelling raison d’etre for at least 15 years. By the 80’s, Mercury’s model line up was as it is today: a dumping ground for slightly tarted-up Fords.

To wit, when Ford finally took the imports head on with the Taurus (and won), Mercury simply sent in the clones. As time and corporate idiocy went on, the 'non-Ford' Scorpios, XR4Tis, and Cougars flopped with increasingly predictable regularity. (Not to mention the Capri – an Aussie-built shitbox convertible.) Thanks to the “Ford first” culture, scant marketing dollars and limited engineering sources translated into a unique line of one generation wonders that were never improved the next go round. Nothing of any unique value endured in the Mercury division.

For Ford’s not-so-new-anymore CEO, Mercury’s mediocrity is déjà vu all over again. Alan Mulally was keenly aware of the importance of the “branding issue” when he took the reins at Boeing. Mulally knew the aviation Goliath had too many fiefdoms, which translated into too many products, which competed with each other, for no good reason. Big Al worked tirelessly to eliminate pointless redundancy of processes and products. And corrected Boeing’s nosedive.

Mr. Mulally is obviously far less beholden to Ford’s old guard than the gentleman that came before him. He’s been there, done that, killed the extraneous bits. And here’s the truth: when Mulally finally gets around to taking a good hard look at Mercury, Mercury will be toast.

For now, Mercury is merely milquetoast. The company adds zero uniqueness to Ford's product line. Mercury has zero technology, zero differentiation, zero prestige, zero class-leading products and zero long-term priority for the Ford Motor Company. Hundreds of Mercury dealerships, thousands of Ford employees and millions of advertising dollars are wasted trying to counter a counter clockwise death spiral. Every penny that goes into turning a struggling Ford product into an even less competitive Mercury is a penny wasted.

At a time when Ford is struggling to generate a profit anywhere within its North American product portfolio, what value can be had with Mercury? None.

There is but one, obvious solution: kill the brand. While politicians and lobbyists (one and the same) within the Ford fiefdoms will fight for Mercury’s survival– offering Saturn-like visions of imported import fighters– it’s only a matter of time before the death man’s blade swings its inevitable arc. 

Ford is clearly– and rightly– bent on re-focusing its energies on becoming a smaller, faster, better carmaker. Once the corporate cancers known as Jaguar and Land Rover are removed from the body corporate, Mercury is next. I predict that within the next six months Ford will announce the closing of the Mercury division. The consolidation of Lincoln and Mercury dealers is such that the move will not be “another Oldsmobile,” requiring billions in dealer pay-offs.

Most likely Mulally’s minions will announce Mercury’s termination in conjunction with a 'realignment' of the Lincoln division (towards it original luxury roots). Lincoln will once again start building unique vehicles. It will become the anti-Mercury, if you will.

If Ford files for bankruptcy before the man at the top can get Dearborn’s ducks in a row, the end result will be the same for Mercury. It is, and has been, a dead brand walking. It’s time to say goodbye.

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133 Comments on “Ford Death Watch 40: Mercury R.I.P....”


  • avatar
    N85523

    The only thing Mercury has going for it is that it is the only place for the average consumer to go to get a new Panther. Ford and Lincoln Panthers can now only be had through fleet sales.
    Those who really want such a vehicle are advised to find a lightly used 2007 model for thousands less.

  • avatar

    Great article, Steven. But what does Mercury have in terms of infrastructure? Jill Wagner?

    From what I’ve seen, everyone involved with Mercury is jointed at the hip with Lincoln. Its fine to kill this dead brand, but I don’t see the cost reduction…

    …unless they kill Lincoln too.

  • avatar

    Maybe they could save money from the inevitable dealer lawsuits by simply doing what Chrysler did with the Neon. Sell various Ford branded products like Taurus at Ford dealerships and sell Mercury same branded identical products like Taurus at Mercury dealerships. Don’t spend any money on any differences in trim interior or exterior.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Very good question Sajeev. Let me explain.

    Ford’s cost savings (and revenue generation) will primarily come from the ability to focus on building one competitive model instead of two.

    Exterior and interior designing, parts development and testing, purchasing costs, assembly costs and complexity, marketing strategy, transportation logistics, warranty related issues… virtually every step of the development, production and distribution process is reduced when you simply offer one model.

    That money can then be put towards R&D, better quality control, advertising, and even the development of derivations of that specific model over it’s life. For example, Ford could potentially offer an AWD 5-speed Fusion with a turbo V6 and call it the Fusion All-Trac if they decided there was a market for it. The funds and resources would potentially be there, since Mercury would not effect all the other issues already mentioned.

  • avatar

    Sajeev Mehta:

    From what I’ve seen, everyone involved with Mercury is jointed at the hip with Lincoln. Its fine to kill this dead brand, but I don’t see the cost reduction…

    You’d be amazed what it costs not to sell cars. I mean, they’ve got to be paying Jill something…

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Sherman… Lincoln-Mercury franchises are in a very bad state at the moment. The overwhelming majority of the dealers would easily welcome a cash infusion into Lincoln given the opportunity for profits and lack of competition from neighboring Ford dealers who usually have stronger market reach.

  • avatar
    zerofoo

    My wife recently commented that she likes the looks of the Lincoln MKX.

    I told her that it really is just a polished up Ford Edge – and she said that’s exactly why she likes it.

    That, in a nutshell, might be Mercury/Lincoln’s entire strategy – sell to people that want a polished up Ford.

    -ted

  • avatar
    Redbarchetta

    Shermin Lin they already have too many dealers, why create more Ford dealers under a different name. Especially since they would have exactly the same product competing for the same customer, like they are doing now but Identical products doesn’t help the situation.

    I totally agreee with this editorial, very good points. But I think it was Sajeev’s editorial a while back about bringing euro-Ford rebadged as Mercury’s might really work. Especially since the brand is doing nothing right now. They could charge a premium, mildly restyle them as Mercury’s and sell the brand as the sporty euro-inspired version to Ford products. It’s worth testing the waters since what they are doing right now is a complete waste of time.

    Had they actually done the global platform sharing and flexible production lines they said they were going to do like 10 years ago they could build them here and ship the excess to europe making a profit on the weak dollar.

  • avatar
    Christopher

    I guess I don’t see the point in getting rid of Mercury, either. I mean, Mercury has always been “not Ford”. Historically, when Mercury has its own unique vehicles, they generally failed. Everyone here gets all uppity about badge engineering but if a different trim level with stylistically different options and a different name sells more cars, why not continue to do it? I don’t know that Mercury poaches sales from other manufactures or if it just sells cars to who-would-be-Ford customer’s anyway, but it still a check in the sales box.

    A co-worker of mine recently bought a Milan over the Fusion because he liked the more “sophisticated” look of the Milan. He also considered getting an Impala. Ultimately he chose the Milan. Would he have gone with the Impala over the Fusion if the Milan wasn’t there? Probably.

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    AM clearly has had a plan since day one to chop FoMoCo down to the essential Ford and Lincoln brands. Volvo may earn a reprieve because 1) they make money and 2) its a true mid level brand between Ford and Lincoln. Once AM fully implements the “One Ford” concept and there is little difference between Fords in NA and other markets, it will be apparent why there was no room for Mercury.

    The end is written in that no new Mercury products are known or predicted. The existing models will run their course and that will be that. They may make the announcement in six months, but the brand may struggle on through 2009 and even 2010 depending on timing of updates to the Escape, Fusion, Taurus and Explorer.

    There won’t be lawsuits (ala Oldsmobile) because there are no stand alone Mercury dealers (the last one closed sometime in 2007). Ford will appease the Lincoln dealers with new, better product like the MKS and MKT (Ford Flex variant). There is money to be saved in those not very different exteriors and adverstising that could be better used to make better Fords and Lincolns.

  • avatar
    86er

    Mercury has been gone in Canada since 2000, with the exception of the GM which is sold at Ford dealerships.

    I’m sure Ford NA is studying the Canadian model to see what effects it’s had.

  • avatar

    If you simply say no more Mercury, then all of those independent companies called dealerships will sue Ford. Its simply cheaper in my opinion to simply call a spade a spade. Since Mercurys are really rebadged Fords anyway, just stop with the rebadging chicanery. Like it or not there is no cheap way of dropping dealers.

  • avatar
    Zarba

    I almost forgot about the Aussie-Capri. Yes, “shitbox” pretty much sums it up.

    Mercury needs to die, and now. They are eating up precious resources, and to no good end. Has anyone actually SEEN an ad for the ’08 Sable?

    Mercury has had some great product over the years (the iconic ’49, Turnpike Cruiser, original Marauder, the original Cougar), but they haven’t had a unique or compelling car for 20+ years.

    It was officially over when they brought out the Panther-platform Marauder, only to find out that an Accord V-6 could easily smoke it. A great concept killed by lousy execution. Why didn’t that car get a 5.4L V-8???

    One good thing is that we’d see more of Jill as she hawks Mustangs and Taurii.

  • avatar
    mrdweeb

    If I’m the wonderful city Milan, I would find the most foul toxic waste dump in northern Italy and name it “Mercury”.

  • avatar
    KatiePuckrik

    If Mr Mulally does axe Mercury and reposition Lincoln as a “Luxury Ford”, then one has to ask, “Won’t Volvo cannibalise Lincoln’s sales in the North American market”?

    I agree that Mercury is pretty much redundant. Any niche markets or car types are pretty much covered by the Ford, Lincoln and Volvo marques (with Mazda acting as the engineering department).

    In fact, if Mr Mulally’s plan is this, then it will be in line with his admiration for Toyota, which is, the “Ford” brand as a global everyday car, Lincoln as a luxury marque for NA and Volvo as a luxury marque for the rest of the world with Mazda providing the know-how to keep the cars well engineered and reliable. Much like Toyota, which uses its “Toyota” brand as its everyday car make and Lexus as its luxury marque. Then, let organic growth do its work in making those brands more valuable.

    The only fly in the ointment is that, although Mr Mulally’s plans is logical, it has one crucial flaw, sales are still dropping. Once Ford get their brands in order, it won’t stem the market share losses. They need new and exciting cars to fix that problem. And what’s his plan in that respect……?

    N.B: I do disagree that Jaguar was a cancer. Jaguar built absolutely stunning cars with superb build quality. Ford had a golden opportunity to position Jaguar against BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz….and WIN! If Ford mismanaged it, well, that’s wasn’t Jaguar’s failing.

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    Is cutting Mercury really going to help? Cutting Plymouth sure didn’t help Chrysler.

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    Sherman:

    They’re not dropping dealers – those existing dealers will just sell Lincolns.

    However, if nothing else, drop the Milan, Sable, Mariner and Mountaineer and just sell the GM as a “Mercury” like in Canada.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    Volvo is the new Mercury.

    There isn’t room for both in a logically structured Ford of the future.

  • avatar

    <paul Niedermeyer :

    Volvo is the new Mercury.

    There isn’t room for both in a logically structured Ford of the future.

    Agreed. Volvo’s next to go. As its currently profitable, the cash infusion will help Ford keep the lights on a lot longer than Jag and Landie’s fire sale income.

  • avatar
    geeber

    Steven Lang: I predict that within the next six months Ford will announce the closing of the Mercury division. The consolidation of Lincoln and Mercury dealers is such that the move will not be “another Oldsmobile,” requiring billions in dealer pay-offs.

    Yes and no.

    I agree with the main thrust of the article – that Mercury is a superfluous brand that is ultimately fated to join Kasier, Frazer, Packard, Studebaker, Rambler, AMC, Eagle, Imperial, Plymouth and Oldsmobile in that big garage in the sky.

    But – Lincoln Mercury dealers cannot survive on just Lincoln alone. And nothing scheduled to be introduced within the next year is going to change that. The Lincoln MKS and Flex derivative are not going to provide the volume necessary to make up for the loss of Mercury and declines in sales of older Lincolns (Navigator, Town Car).

    Ford needs to do more to get Lincoln back on its feet before it can phase out Mercury. If it makes this announcement within the next six months, it will be faced with lawsuits from dealers whose franchises are no longer viable, not to mention a large number of dealers defecting to other brands to stay in business.

    I wouldn’t expect an announcement before 2010 at the earliest.

  • avatar
    97escort

    I agree with mrdweeb. Having a car named after a toxic metal like mercury is lethal. Oldsmobile had the same problem. Who wants to buy a new car named Oldsmobile? The sooner such are put out of their misery the better.

  • avatar

    Steven Lang: good points. I agree, killing Mercury could make better Fords, but wonder if the extra money would be spent buying out Lincoln-Mercury dealership contracts. (or fighting their lawsuits)

    Mercury doesn’t poach Ford buyers, they help move metal (can’t afford a MKZ, buy a Milan!) in Lincoln dealers. I wonder how many LM dealers can survive on Lincolns alone. I expect the land value of their lots will be worth more than their profit margins.

    Robert Farago: give Jill a little black dress and make her sell MK-whatevers. Lincoln advertising is terrible.

  • avatar
    KatiePuckrik
  • avatar

    RF: Agreed. Volvo’s next to go. As its currently profitable, the cash infusion will help Ford keep the lights on a lot longer than Jag and Landie’s fire sale income.

    Bingo. Volvo is a salable asset, Mercury is a liability that’ll explode if you cross it.

    I imagine a dealer revolt if it disappears. L-M dealers can’t afford to lose their entry-level/fleet models. Many are on the verge of closing up shop anyway, this will set them off, and I doubt Ford wants to mess with them right now. Unless they go for Chapter 11.

  • avatar
    William C Montgomery

    KatiePuckrik: (Poor taste alert) What about renaming “Mercury” to “Wilkes-Booth” and positioning it behind “Lincoln”?

    Unfortunately I was drinking a soda when I read this comment. My drink nearly diverted from its proper straw-to-stomach course and burst over the nasal spillway onto my keyboard. Katie, please be careful when you write such things. Your poor taste disclaimer wasn’t enough.

  • avatar
    durailer

    Mecury’s been gone for quite some time here in Canada. You can still get a Grand Marquis here (it’s not eating advertising dollars anyway), in fact many Canadian Ford dealers sell Lincolns too.

    It’d be interesting to analyze Canadian sales figures and determine if the marque’s demise coincided with an increase in Ford and Lincoln sales. Somehow, I doubt it.

    Still, I agree with the editorial… I’m sure AM would like to redirect Merc’s r&d and marketing dollars to strengthen core Ford & Lincoln products.

  • avatar
    willbodine

    Actually, the Mercury experience says a lot about the FoMoCo corporate structure. At its peak in the mid 20s, the Model T had over 70% total market share…from one model! When the Depression killed sales of the large custom-built Lincolns, introducing the mass-produced, medium priced Zephyr saved Lincoln’s bacon (too bad history isn’t repeating itself, hehe.) That success was what led to the creation of Mercury in 1939 as a super Ford (a la Pontiac’s super Chevy) as a way of keeping customers intent on moving up from “entry level” within the Ford Rotunda. After the death of Henry Ford I in 1947 the new professional management team made the decision to mimic GM’s brand hierarchy, adding a top luxury Continental (1956) and mid-luxury Edsel (1958.) After the early failure of both of these, Mercury was constantly “adjusted” between the Ford and Lincoln markets. In 1970, Lincoln, which had been using its own body, engine, engineering, became Ford based just like Mercury.
    And that pretty much ended Mercury’s raison d’etre. I’m amazed it’s lasted this long.

  • avatar
    William C Montgomery

    Volvo is the new Mercury.

    That is precisely word-for-word what I was going to say. Still, I would hope that Ford not kill the styling. Across the board the Mercury cars and SUVs are much better looking than their Ford counterparts.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    Mulally has said Volvo stays. Obviously, that’s subject to revision, like any other decision. But Volvo and Ford are pretty heavily intertwined platform wise, as is Mazda.

  • avatar
    umterp85

    Net, Mercury moves 168K vehicles per year—not a small amount—especially from a dealer perspective. Note: Grand Marquis (51K), Milan (37K), and Mariner (35K) make up the bulk of sales.

    I think Ford has at least 2 options.

    Option 1: Combine Ford-Lincoln dealers and dump Mercury. Don’t see this as a real option as it presents the dealer lawsuit issue as well as branding issues for Lincoln—do Lincoln buyers really want to be next to Fords (yes I know that this is already the case in some rural areas)

    Option 2: See how the new Lincoln line-up does over the next two years to justify a Lexus only approach and then dump Mercury in 2010. The MkS and Lincoln version of the Flex will be truly incremental sales to the Lincoln brand. The MkZ will be refreshed by ’09 and better differentiated from its Ford sibling–the MkX and Navigator will soldier on for 2 years with only minor changes as they were new for ’07.

    Will all of this new Lincoln stuff be enough to make up for 169K Mercury’s that you would dump with the brand death? From a top-line perspective—probably not. From transaction profit perspective—perhaps.

  • avatar

    If I was Mulally, I’d say that too. Don’t want to tell the investment community that Volvo’s gonna go for a song.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Pretty much everything said here about Mercury and Ford can also be said about the GM line.

    My Dad alternated Buicks and Mercurys back in the 50s, depending on which struck his fancy and the deal available. He gave up on Buicks when they discontinued the Straight-8 and Dynaflow transmission.

  • avatar
    supremebrougham

    From my perspective I find it rather amazing that things have gotten so bad for Mercury. I say that because in 1996 and again in 2000 I worked in the service department of a large Lincoln-Mercury dealership in Ypsilanti, MI, and that place sold cars like there was no tomorrow! Granted this was SE Michigan so I know a lot of cars were sold to Ford employees, but I also know that a lot of well-to-do people from Ann Arbor also bought them. Many of those people said they liked the upscale image that the cars projected. (I asked)

    And on a different note, a poster asked “Who wants to buy a new car with the name Oldsmobile?” Well, when I bought my new Olds back in ’04, I was excited about having a new car that wore the storied Olds name. I don’t know, to me it just sounds kind of classy to say, “I drive an Oldsmobile”. It could be because I remember as a kid in the late 80’s when I was taken to school in my parent’s Olds, the other kids gave me that look that said, your family is classy and cool. Oh, and I had friends then whose parents owned Mercurys, Grand Marquis in fact, and the other kids gave them respect for them too.

    My how the times have changed…

  • avatar
    Steve-O

    supremebrougham: My how the times have changed…

    Agreed! When I was a kid back in the mid-1980’s, Cougars were a very nice ride (with either the 2.3L Turbo or 5.0L V8), Sables were the most radical looking designs on the road, and the Grand Marquis said ‘Old Money.’ Overall, it was a pretty respectable lineup.

    It’s unfortunate that our domestic auto industry have left some of the most storied nameplates to rust.

    Today, I still think there can be a viable Mercury, but only with unique and compelling designs. It does not need to be a full lineup, nor does it need to mimic Ford or Lincoln. For the sake of argument, lets say 3 models, all sold on the Lincoln dealer show floor. Now imagine a new Cougar that is as plush as a Lincoln and as muscular as a Mustang, a Sable that takes the design chances that the D3 team were too afraid to make with the Taurus/500, and a Comet (Caliente?) that uses the Euro-Focus platform and gives new meaning to the term ‘Premium Small Car.’

    But alas, neither the will nor the capital exists to make such a comeback a reality…

  • avatar
    William C Montgomery

    Steve-O:

    What, no love for the Lynx?

  • avatar
    Kevin

    I hate to confess it but I like the Milan. It’s the only American car I’d even think about buying. I really dislike the look of Fusion’s headlights and taillights, but I think Milan does it OK.

    I agree with killing off the redundant Mercury brand, but replace the Fusion with the Milan.

  • avatar
    Steve-O

    William C Montgomery:

    More than you know! If you must ask, I had a 1986 Lynx as my college car (beater) and it did a wonderful job costing me almost NO money to keep running.
    Plus, I always got a kick out of seeing the puzzled look when I would tell people, “I Drive A Lynx.” (Especially as a pickup-line in a bar…) ;)

  • avatar
    detroit1701

    Mazda – Ford – Volvo – Lincoln

    Cars:

    (1) Mazda2 / Ford Fiesta
    (2) Mazda3 / Ford Focus & Kuga / Volvo C30 & S40 (C2)
    (3) Mazda6 / Ford Fusion & Mondeo / S60 & XC60 / MKZ (EUCD)
    (4) Ford Taurus / Volvo S80 & XC70 / MKS

    Share platforms, engines, and under-the-hood tech across the categories. Who needs Mercury?

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    I nominate Steve-O for a high ranking job within Ford. I’d gladly pay a dealer markup for an S197 based Cougar with hideaway headlights….especially an XR-7 version with the GT500’s blown 5.4. Drool!

  • avatar
    50merc

    Getting dealers to accept whatever Ford plans for Mercury will be the big hurdle. Ford can’t afford to just buy them out.

    If Mullaly concludes the Mercury brand must stay, Mazeda could be the solution. It could supply distinctive “Mercury” vehicles. Mazda already has the Mazda8 minivan and a small pickup that aren’t currently sold in the US. A new entry-level luxury sedan (like the old 929 or Millenia) could go up against Acuras and Avalons. A Miata-based coupe might appeal to women who spurn macho Mustangs. Further variations on the Mazda6 platform could be produced at Flat Rock, if the dollar/yen ratio is a problem.

    Even without new Mazda-sourced Mercs, Mazda could help even if the Mercury brand goes. There must be many dealers, especially those in smaller cities, that would like to switch to a Mazda franchise. That would leave a smaller number of stores to be dealt with.

  • avatar
    Wunsch

    As far as I can tell, Mercury disappeared several years ago up here in Canada. The local Mercury dealer silently transformed into a Ford dealer, and that was that. I was quite surprised when I saw a Mercury Mariner from the States driving around, and realized that they were still making new vehicles.

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    I always figured Mercury would get the axe about 3 days after Plymouth got it.

    Back when Ford had $ they could have differentiated the brand and made something of it (Which would also have entailed making something of Lincoln) Now they probably don’t have the option. It’s just a waste of money making Plymouths -er, I mean Mercurys, when they are nearly identical to Fords.

    My guess is Merc will be around for as long as Ford stays out of CH-11. Ford can’t afford the lawsuits. Cheaper to design a new grill and slap it on every 20th car that comes down the line.

  • avatar
    PeakVT

    Could Ford move all fleet sales over onto the Mercury brand so as to up the resale value of Fords, yet not concede that whole market to the Koreans or whoever has been filling it?

    If that isn’t viable, then Mercury should go.

  • avatar

    My guess is Merc will be around for as long as Ford stays out of CH-11. Ford can’t afford the lawsuits. Cheaper to design a new grill and slap it on every 20th car that comes down the line.

    Kinda throws a monkey wrench in this (excellent) discussion, but its quite believable.

  • avatar
    guyincognito

    The cost of Mercury is much higher than you might think. Despite their similarity to their Ford bretheren, the subtle tweaks require lots of development work, testing, and proveout as well as special low volume tooling in some cases, and all the marketing dollars they pour into it. If Mercury gets the axe, I would have to ask, why now and not 15 years ago? What has Mercury added to Ford during that time? Dealerships are not going to sue over the loss of their 1.5 Mercury sales a month, I promise.

    The very fact that Mercury still exists makes me lack confidence in Mullaly. What do you mean, ‘when he gets to it’? Killing Mercury is the easiest thing he could have done, what are they waiting for?

  • avatar
    Steve-O

    guyincognito:

    I suspect Mullaly is not ready to kiss the volume goodbye at this point, low as it may be. If killing Mercury is indeed the plan, then the prudent thing to do is wait until the Lincoln MKS, MKT and MKR are online before you take the Mercury volume out of the L-M stores…

  • avatar
    Redbarchetta

    How many average sales does a Mercury dealer make a month? How many Lincoln/Mercury dealers are there nationally?

  • avatar
    P71_CrownVic

    Wanna know something VERY funny? The Grand Marquis outsells the Sable every damn month. And, even if you take out the fleet sales…it STILL outsells the Sable.

    And, for the year, Mercury shifted MORE Montegos…a car that is not made anymore…than the new Sable.

    Ford really screwed up the Taurus/Sable cars.

  • avatar
    NoSubstitute

    “Four vehicles. That’s all you’ll find on Mercury’s web site.”

    Milan, Mariner, Mountaineer, Sable, Grand Marquis.

    Isn’t that five?

    Just askin.’

  • avatar
    jcp2

    supremebrougham :
    January 8th, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    From my perspective I find it rather amazing that things have gotten so bad for Mercury. I say that because in 1996 and again in 2000 I worked in the service department of a large Lincoln-Mercury dealership in Ypsilanti, MI, and that place sold cars like there was no tomorrow!

    Ah, but now SESI Lincoln-Mercury also sells Mazdas at that location, and their other location in Scio Township is Lincoln-Mercury Volvo. Maybe they know more than they let on…

  • avatar
    BlisterInTheSun

    RE: “Mountaineers are Explorers who’ve lost contact with base camp (which has given-up and moved further down the slope).”

    That’s funny as hell.

    The new Milan looks awesome, BTW.

    I want to get a Grand Marq before they’re all gone just to do J- and bootleg-turns all day long.

  • avatar

    jcp2, in 1999 Mercury sold 438,000 vehicles. Last year they were down to 168,422.

  • avatar
    210delray

    I bought a new Sable in 1990. I chose it over the comparable Taurus because it had real head restraints in the outboard rear seats, a longer, swoopier look, and more trunk space.

    But that first generation Sable was arguably the last Mercury that had some substantive differences from the corresponding Ford model.

    I’ll say this though: there are clearly no more Mercurys in my future (nor Volvos for that matter).

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    guyincognito : “The very fact that Mercury still exists makes me lack confidence in Mullaly.”

    Actually, I think its Mullaly that is finally putting the end of Mercury on the table, whereas previous Ford leaders, including Wm. C. Ford Jr, have not been able to defeat the internal Ford bureaucracy.

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    I’m joining this string late… but here are some random thoughts:

    – First, I have to admit that, while I do like the Fusion, I like the Milan a bit more. The car appears a bit more sophisticated and European to my eyes. I just wish there was a two-door coupe version offered. With a V6 and manual transmission, of course.

    – I’m not so sure Ford plans to kill Mercury yet. But re: the problem how to handle all those dealerships – I’m seeing quite a few Lincoln-Mercury outlets add Mazda to their offerings. Problem solved.

    – I think Ford is wise to hang onto Volvo. Not only does the brand fill a market niche, but the Swedes (like their Japanese counterparts at Mazda) have some serious engineering chops and have contributed their fair share of platform technology across the Ford empire. The 500/Taurus is based on the Volvo S80 platform, not the other way around. And while the 500/Taurus has some pretty boring styling, I’ve yet to read a single review that called it a bad car.

    – Them’s my two cents’ worth anyway. Mr. Mulally… are you listening? A two-door Fusion and Milan with a V6 and manual transmission!

  • avatar
    IronEagle

    Zarba The 5.4 Liter V8 would supposedly not fit in with the Panther manufacturing. It would have taken some hard point redesigns to fit the big DOHC 5.4 heads IIRC. Which is funny because you’d think you could fit a big block side oiler under there.

    The platform is really funny. A big ol’ full size car with IMHO not nearly enough front legroom or headroom.

    Also Mercury did have a unique desirable car in the past two decades for us enthusiasts. The 1990-1991 Supercharged Cougar XR-7 was a fat ass but a truly world class machine for the money.

  • avatar
    supremebrougham

    JCP2
    “Ah, but now SESI Lincoln-Mercury also sells Mazdas at that location, and their other location in Scio Township is Lincoln-Mercury Volvo. Maybe they know more than they let on…”

    Very true. But I do know that when Joe Sesi inherited the business from his uncle back in ’96, he wanted to class up the joint. The perfect opportunity came when Ford formed PAG, so he acquired the Mazda/Volvo franchise from Mrs. Dunning across town and well, the rest is history. It may well play out okay for him, especially at the Ann Arbor store, but let’s face it, the larger Ypsi store seems to cater to more of a traditional customer base (read L-M), so it’s hard to say what might happen there.

    FWIW, Old Mr. Sesi was such a charming man. I felt lucky to get acquainted with him in his final years. He was brought out to the lot once in a while and some of us would get to push him around in his wheelchair and visit with him.

    Sorry, I guess I was taking a trip down Memory Lane…

    Oh, and one more thing, IF I was to buy another FoMoCo product, I’d go for the Milan too. Granted it’s just a Fusion with more flash, but I guess that’s why I like it :P

  • avatar
    ionosphere

    Huh? What’s the original poster talking about? Mercury’s website has the same number of vehicles as it’s had: 5, not 4. Also, what questionairre? I’m at the site and there’s no such thing. This guy smoking something?

    And this “spring chicken” of 48 has on order a brand new Grand Marquis. In your face all you Japanese and European car wannabes (like Lincoln has now become ;-(). Give me a big American cruiser anyday!!!! Bring back the glorious cars this country used to make: the big rear-wheel drive land yachts!!

  • avatar
    Johnster

    It really seems to me that Lincoln is in the process of moving down into the middle-priced market that used to be Mercury. I really don’t see Lincoln as being at the same level of luxury as say, Cadillac, anymore. They’re evolving into being a competitor to Buick, Chrysler, Acura and the lower-priced models from Lexus and Infiniti.

    I think Ford missed a great opportunity, not coming out with a new luxury Cougar with a formal-roofed coupe and a convertible based on the Mustang chassis and power-trains.

    And until Ford can get some better product out there, a rebadged Mazda 3, and even a Mazda 5, in the Mercury line would be a good short-term solution. After all, the first Mercury Tracers were just rebadged versions of the Mazda GLC/323.

    Jill Wagner? VW’s Helga could take Jill Wagner.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    I don’t see how Ford saves much money killing Mercury. It’s current product require no more special engineering and parts support than does having a few different trim levels of a “Ford”. Lincoln Mercury dealers cannot survive on the absurdly small sales level of Lincolns, and Ford doesn’t appear to have anything amazing enough in the pipeline to spike Lincoln into a new sales strata.

    GM is actually worse off this way because it’s various Pontiac, Saturn and Buick versions of the various corporate platforms are indeed unique in terms of sheetmetal and interiors, yet they still sell next to nothing.

    You can see the Ford corporate sales breakdown here:

    http://media.ford.com/article_display.cfm?article_id=27379

    Mercury outsells Volvo, Jaguar & Land Rover combined and is at about the same volume as Lincoln.

    I couldn’t find similar data for GM’s brands in the US. I wonder where Mercury ranks visa-vis Pontiac, Buick and Saturn.

  • avatar

    jthorner:
    I couldn’t find similar data for GM’s brands in the US. I wonder where Mercury ranks visa-vis Pontiac, Buick and Saturn.

    Total sales in 2007:

    Mercury – 168,422
    Pontiac – 358,022
    Buick – 185,791
    Saturn – 240,091

  • avatar
    taxman100

    I’m another huge fan of Mercury, if nothing else because the dealership experience is so much better.

    Ford caters to trucks and younger people – Mercury more to middle class professionals (at least in the past).

    The Grand Marquis is a great car – it could be even better if Ford had half a brain. There is no way I’m buying warmed over Japanese cars – if I want those, I’ll go straight to the source.

  • avatar
    guyincognito

    @ jthorner,

    “It’s current product require no more special engineering and parts support than does having a few different trim levels of a “Ford”. ”

    Not true. Mercury gets its own brand DNA dynamic and NVH tuning.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    I hope Ford doesn’t kill off Mercury, What Will Jill Do? Seriously, you got to put Mercury on your list. you don’t have to buy them, but if it keeps Ms. Wagner employed it might be the right thing to do.

  • avatar
    Mud

    The Grand Marquis is a great car – it could be even better if Ford had half a brain. There is no way I’m buying warmed over Japanese cars – if I want those, I’ll go straight to the source.

    +1 with Taxman on the GM and CV. Just think if Ford had actually done something with that line instead of relegating it all away.

    For me, after sampling a cross range of what’s out there, I STILL like my Vic. Oh forgot – that’s too old-fashioned isn’t it …..

  • avatar
    jurisb

    Steven lang- You are completely right about mercury brand!No real products for a manufacturing division! Relentless pursuit of rebadge and vapourware!If we had to close detroit 3 units that have no real products at all, we would need to close half of big three brands. problem is not in too many brands, the problem is that there is nothing behind each brand. no tangible cars! Nissan without infinity has 36 models, Gm combined has 27 models( rebadges and Koreans and germans excluded). Chrysler including jeep, dodge has 16 models! detroit models are not competing against each other, or cannibalizing sales because of similar category. They are being methodically wiped out by japanese adding and adding new models, and compete against nobody. And Mullaly cleaned out boeing`s product portfolio, because there were too many products competing with each other? like what? A museum -like 737 versus rebdged mdd80 as boeing 717? boeing today has superpoor diversity and obsolete model range. All their hopes are in 787. One model for the whole USA civil aircraft industry!! tell me about competing with Airbus or Russians!It is nationwide desease in manufacturing, whether boeing, Harley, Ford, or Apple!!! Mediocrities of hi-tech, diversity and quality!!!!
    Actually i have question- Has mercury brand during her history ever had a single model whose front doors or windshield wouldn`t be swappable with a Ford model? ( exclude those concepts!)

  • avatar

    GS650G :
    I hope Ford doesn’t kill off Mercury, What Will Jill Do? Seriously, you got to put Mercury on your list. you don’t have to buy them, but if it keeps Ms. Wagner employed it might be the right thing to do.

    She’s showing up in TV shows. She’s been on Stargate:Atlantis twice and they’ve left it open for her character to reappear from time to time so we may be seeing more of her there.

  • avatar
    86er

    IronEagle: The 5.4 Liter V8 would supposedly not fit in with the Panther manufacturing. It would have taken some hard point redesigns to fit the big DOHC 5.4 heads IIRC. Which is funny because you’d think you could fit a big block side oiler under there.

    It’s the modular design that’s the problem. Some modifiers have put the 425 Buick in the CV/GM engine bay and it was swallowed with ease.

    Johnster: I think Ford missed a great opportunity, not coming out with a new luxury Cougar with a formal-roofed coupe and a convertible based on the Mustang chassis and power-trains.

    You mean to say Ford, the iconic American car company, should actually build a few uniquely American cars? That’s crazy talk.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Well, a few quick responses while I have the time.

    When I first entered the ‘merucryvehicles.com’ site, I actually saw four vehicles. I believe the Grand Marquis isn’t actually pictured there (neglect you think?) and the five minute survey request is indeed there. Once you click ‘no’ to the survey you get to the primary site. However this site has a cookie and so when you revisit the site you get re-routed to the non-survey site. No need to ask the folks to fill out a survey again when they have already declined the offer.

    The Milan is actually the one viable offering in Mercury’s lineup. When folks ask me for a new midsized sedan in the sub 20k range I usually refer them to either the Sonata (if they’re import oriented) or the Fusion/Milan. The Milan is a more mature design than the Fusion and given how sports oriented the current gen Fusion is, I can see the justification for the Milan. I still think it’s the wrong move for the long run… but I understand it.

    I just bought a 2003 Police Interceptor for the princely sum of $2000. Now granted that vehicle has a totally different environemnt than the Grand Marquis. But the excessive number of abused and older Panther models out there, coupled with the utter lack of updates, makes the Grand Marquis a non-starter for most full-sized car buyers. This model actually cheapens the overall perception of the Mercury name and I simply don’t see why Ford should waste money on it when they already have a Sable in desperate need of a redesign.

    The Mariner is pointless. It’s as pointless as the three Saab 9-7’s that currently hibernate in the back lot of the nearby Saab dealership.

    What else is there? Oh, the Mountaineer. I never understood how this model ever came to being without the probable existence of a Mercury fiefdom within Ford that demanded it for the L-M dealer network. The Explorer is one of the very few Ford models that can command a high price tag these days. A less popular, lesser known Explorer clone is simply not needed.

    Volvo is an excellent fit for Ford…. but a few of their models will need a better focus. Other than the C30 and V70 models, Volvo really doesn’t have anything that would be described as class leading. Still I absolutely love the company (brick enthusiast here) and I can easily see Volvo becoming a stronger brand in the marketplace. Great interiors, world class safety, a reputation for durability, all of these are strong selling points to families and conservative folks. Unfortunately the Euro hasn’t been cooperating with Volvo either which is the other big reason why the company has experienced such a continuous sales slide over the past five years.

  • avatar
    jdv

    “an Aussie-built shitbox convertible”

    Oh that had me laughing!

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    jthorner: Does Mercury outsell Volvo world wide or just in the US?

  • avatar
    willbodine

    jurisb :
    Actually i have question- Has mercury brand during her history ever had a single model whose front doors or windshield wouldn`t be swappable with a Ford model? ( exclude those concepts!)

    Yes, from 1949 thru ’51, Mercurys shared bodies with the junior Lincolns, not Fords. And the ’57 and ’58 Mercurys had unique doors and windshields not shared with Ford (but were also used on senior Edsels in ’58). The ’59 and ’60 Mercurys were truly unique and not-Ford based. That windshied may have been the largest ever for a mass-produced car.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    @ Lichtronamo: Mercury outsells Volvo in the US, 168,422 in 2007 for Mercury to 106,213. I’m not sure what Volvo’s 2007 worldwide sales were, but I recall that historically the US has been Volvos single largest market.

    @ guyincognito: As far as Mercury’s having “its own brand DNA dynamic and NVH tuning”…. yikes, sounds like nonsense from a press release. Perhaps they have some unique suspension calibrations but that is still consistent with my options package definition.

    When I use Edmunds’ vehicle comparison feature to match up a 2008 Ford Taurus against a 2008 Mercury Sable the gross vehicles weight is the exact same 3814 lbs. for both. If the Mercury version had extra sound deadening to improve NVH it would weigh more.

    Brand DNA for Mercury? I don’t care what the advertising implies, but you don’t get any of Jill’s DNA by buying a Mercury. A Mercury is a nicely trimmed Ford just like it has been for most of it’s years.

  • avatar
    Geotpf

    Mercury ONLY makes sense these days if their cars are merely tarted up Fords than sell for a grand more each. They don’t move enough volume to give them their own products, but without the volume they do have, half of the Lincoln dealers in the country would go out of business. The net result is that it’s profitable for Ford to leave Mercury in the Ford-clone status quo limbo, and not profitable for them to kill it or give them unique product.

  • avatar
    50merc

    An ’03 Interceptor for $2,000? I think I saw that car on “Cops.” It was doing a PIT maneuver during a high speed chase.

    OK, back on topic: I think Mercury would pick up some sales if they had better designers for interior trim. Two-tone seats may have their fans, but my guess is that it turns away more potential customers. They should ask Volvo for help. I’d also like to see something beside tan and gray. How about leather in dark blue or burgundy? No contrasting stitching, please.

  • avatar
    CarShark

    Mercury can’t succeed only targeting women. The only thing they’ll succeed at is gaining a “chick car” image and driving away all their male customers.

    I don’t like mid-market brands in general. They just seem to be too low-volume and low-profit for the amount of investment it takes.

  • avatar
    86er

    Carshark: Mercury can’t succeed only targeting women. The only thing they’ll succeed at is gaining a “chick car” image and driving away all their male customers.

    Products marketed this way don’t sell to men OR women.

  • avatar
    egg man

    OK, so I’ve always been against model sharing, especially at Ford/Lincoln and Mercury, but given the circumstances, I could suggest one that has not yet been discussed.

    Maybe Jill could speak on Lincoln’s behalf after Mercury is blown away?

    At least you’re keeping the one redeeming element that still resonates with the customers?

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    “Mercury” doesn’t have any designers (or engineers for that matter) as its essentially a marketing arm.

  • avatar
    jurisb

    Shouldn`t you guys make a global car voting site , where each country could vote for their favorite car or brand, something like whowouldtheworldelect.com. Actually I was mega -shocked what a big support one specific person has there, and what a suspiciously meager vote count he gets in NH. I believe faking numbers goes far beyond Detroit bookkkeping.I support any honest hard working enterprise, whether a child sweeping the floor, hyundai building genesis on their own designed new platform or A heartbreaking truthteller whose voice doesn`t reach sheep audience. Another 100 -wars -in- iraq doesn`t get my vote, neather does Mercury for faking its existence. Don`t delete my comments!

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    The first Merc, in ’39 had a wheelbase that was 4 inches longer than a Ford, and and engine that was slightly larger, giving it an extra 10 horsepower. The interior was a little nicer too.

    Today you get the nicer interior, but the same wheelbase and horsepower.

  • avatar
    RGS920

    The division hasn’t had a competitive product or a compelling raison d’etre for at least 15 years.

    If I am not mistaken, the 1999 Mercury Cougar was the best selling sports coupe that year. In fact I would say that Mercury had a class leader of a product. So I do not think that the above statement is correct and should be removed or correctly stated.

    Yes, the old hardliners hated the New Edge Mercury Cougar. Regardless, the Cougar had a 170HP 2.5L DOHC V6 Engine (Very competative for its class back then, notice that the BMW 325 had a 2.5L engine as well that made the same power), completely original styling (Whether you liked the styling or not, it was at least original) and amazing fit and finish for its interior for under $18,000. And the way it drove was sensational for a GT car. The steering was perfectly weighted and the thing felt like it drove on rails with the sports package (The sport package took suspension, brakes, and wheels from the SVT Contour.

    What put a stop to the Cougar was Ford’s neglect. In 2000 Toyota and Mitsubishi redisgned the celica and eclipse and surpassed the cougar in performance. Not to mention soon after the RSX and WRX came on the scene. I dare say that the Cougar would still be here today if Mercury had went ahead with its plan to impliment the Cougar S. I actually went down to a dealership after Ford took off the Cougar S from there website and asked what happened. The manager said that he had recieved 15 deposits for the Cougar S before Ford axed it and they had no idea why Ford removed it.

    Here is a link to the concept car for the Cougar S complete with specs and pictures. http://www.scottgrundfor.com/forsale/1999cougarS.html#

    The point of this is that regardless of taste or what traditional Mercury Cougar buyers thought of the new edge cougar, in 1999 Mercury had a very competative product that outsold and outperformed the competition in its price range. It looked nothing like anything on the market and Mercury deserves credit for trying something different. However, they deserve scorn for their neglect.

  • avatar

    Actually i have question- Has mercury brand during her history ever had a single model whose front doors or windshield wouldn`t be swappable with a Ford model? ( exclude those concepts!)

    1967 Cougar, early 70s Cougars, 1980s Tracer, non foxbody Capris…

    And again, the 1999 Cougar…it only shared switchgear with the Contour/Mistake, headlight stuff with the Ford GT and trip computer from Aston Martin. (seriously) It was a great seller intially and was Mercury’s future. Of course, the Ford 2000/cost cutting iniatives pretty much sent that euro-transplant off to its funeral. They planned for a hotter version with a 3.0L duratec, it was even in the owner’s manual. And its interior was like other Euro-Fords…its closer to a Lincoln Zephyr than a Taurus.

    And since we’re on the subject, I have a little bone to pick with the 1986 Taurus/clone reference in the article: the 1986 Sable only shared its windshield and doors with the bull. That family sedan was absolutely stunning: full length lightbar grille and fender skirts were a postmodern rendition of a ’49 Merc Led Sled.

    And the pillar-less floating C-pillar? Nice touch!

    And the proof is in the pudding: the Sable stole many a Chrysler, Buick and Pontiac buyer. A friend of ours bought it over a Volvo back then. The sales numbers proved it, and the Pontiac Grand Prix’s copycat light bar grille was even more obvious.

  • avatar
    Redbarchetta

    That Cougar S concept looks a lot like ’96-98 Eagle Talon. Cool looking but practically a carbon copy of the Talon with blacked out lights.

  • avatar
    RGS920

    And again, the 1999 Cougar…it only shared switchgear with the Contour/Mistake, headlight stuff with the Ford GT and trip computer from Aston Martin. (seriously)

    Thanks for that tid-bit Sajeev. 5 years as a member of the New Edge Cougar Forums and I never knew that the trip computer was sourced from Aston Martin. That trip computer to this day remains one the nicest and easiest to use computers I have seen in a car. It didn’t dominate the dash but it was perfectly positioned if you wanted to throw a quick glance to check your MPG or how much gas you had left down to the very mile. Three no nonsense buttons let you shift through all the vitals.

    Another interesting tid bit I found out 2 years ago from a book on American Sports Cars I saw in Barnes and Nobles. Why the 99+ Cougar was in such a book… i have no clue. However, the section on the New cougar included a discussion with the engineers responsible for the Cougar’s development. What was interesting was the discussion on the rear suspension which was truly top of the line according to the book. Most interestingly the Cougar included a passive rear wheel steering system. The book mentioned that the system was first implemented by Porsche in its 928 and was used by Ford’s engineers on the Cougar to help combat the understeer problems due to its front heavy weight distribution.

  • avatar
    IronEagle

    Wasn’t the last Cougar designed originally to be the third generation Ford Probe? I wonder if it was Mercury or just Ford Execs who gave the car to Mercury to get more people in the showrooms. I like what they did with the name and the styling even today is still brilliant IMO.

  • avatar
    IronEagle

    RGS920

    That passive rear steer helped sell me on the 95 Contour SE. What a brilliant package that was (before they watered down the SE). It was truly BMW 2-series badge worthy. I put some 18″ rims and sticky gumball Yokohama AVS tires on it and freed up the exhaust. She would pull some serious G’s. The “Duratec” V6 was anything but durable for me. Blew two of them in less than 40k. Like rod through the oil pan blew. Also had a gearbox that would never stay in 2nd gear. IIRC that was the first year for the drivetrain but I was done with Fords after that.

    [rant]By the way, fark Ford. They developed the awesome 1st generation Probe GT that to this day is still one of the most interesting cars ever to me. Turbo 4 with loads of torque, cockpit adjustable suspension, speed sensitive steering etc. Ford had a prototype all wheel drive 1st gen (1991) Probe SHO ready to go but cancelled it. Whoever made that decision is a sissy.

    Then the 2nd gen Probe brought its super smooth limp wristed V6 (yes it was a beautiful package but the midrange of the turbo 4 was twice as fun to me). Then the Cougar also had a FWD V6 drivetrain.

    Needless to say we got the 2000 Eclipse that turned into a V6 FWD pig. So I blame Ford. I can only imagine the “arms race” that would have ensued if that AWD Probe would have been built. Perhaps my beloved DSM would have kept its soul. Mabye we would have had that 1995 Celica All Trac like the one they sold in Japan. Or even a turbocharged WRX in the US with that sexy coupe bodystyle of the late 90’s. Le sigh.
    [/rant]

  • avatar
    OverheadCam9000

    From the internet, circa Dec. 18th, 2007:

    “Last Mercury stand-alone dealership closes”
    see:
    http://www.autoblog.com/2007/12/18/last-mercury-stand-alone-dealership-closes/
    and
    from leftlanenews.com
    “Last Mercury stand-alone dealership closes,
    Ford cuts Mercury ads”
    see:
    http://www.leftlanenews.com/last-stand-alone-mercury-franchise-closes-ford-cuts-mercury-ads.html

    Since there are NO stand-alone Mercury dealers anymore, phasing out the division would be much easier than GM’s killing of Oldsmobile. All the remaining dealers who peddle Mercs also have at least one other whip they flog (probably much more profitably, too!), so “losing” Merc won’t dent their finances too much.

    As for Ford cutting Mercury ads, I think we see Big Al’s tipped his hand….

    Hasta la Vista, Mercury

  • avatar
    y2kdcar

    Sajeev Mehta:
    And since we’re on the subject, I have a little bone to pick with the 1986 Taurus/clone reference in the article: the 1986 Sable only shared its windshield and doors with the bull. That family sedan was absolutely stunning: full length lightbar grille and fender skirts were a postmodern rendition of a ‘49 Merc Led Sled.

    And the pillar-less floating C-pillar? Nice touch!

    The 1986-1991 Sable didn’t even share its doors with the Taurus. I believe the door inner stampings and mechanisms were common, but the outer skins were not. Taurus had a character line just below the windows that was not present on the Sable. The Sable picked up the Taurus door skin design with the 1992 minor freshening, and Ford stayed with common doors when they did the major appearance overhaul for 1996.

  • avatar
    jurisb

    sajeev mehta- 1999 cougar not only shared trip computer with Aston , it shared steering wheel, transmission, floorpan, engines and suspension with german-built ford mondeo. 70% of cougar was Mondeo actually. But at least it had its own exterior.
    yskdcar- Sable and taurus shared doors completely all the time, ditto windshield, gas cap configuration etc.Old designs at least were differentiated behind C-pillar.
    iron eagle- ford Probe gt second gen was completely mazda designed( mx6 even had rear wheel steering), with ford participating in exterior design. Japanese engineV6, tranny, platform . so much for being American. Plymouth, Oldsmobile, Mercury, Geo, eagle….it goes on and on! Until not a single brand is left! For one model you kill, japanese add two.

  • avatar
    Johnster

    It used to be that there were quite a few combined Ford-Mercury dealerships (without Lincoln) in rural parts of the U.S. Are there any of those left?

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    If so, losing Mercury won’t be THAT big of a deal. The real problem comes when you have stand alone franchises that are essentially put out of business.

    Cutting national advertising may mean an end to Jill appearances.

  • avatar

    RGS920: when I drove the $260,000 Aston Martin Vanquish I said, “Hey, that’s the same trip computer as a $16,000 Cougar!” Ditto the front signal lights on the Ford GT. Good stuff.

    And you’re right about the passive rear steer, the Cougar/Contour/Mistake cornered amazingly flat…especially in a Mercury.
    ——————–
    IronEagle: I’m sure Ford dealers and SVT was less than thrilled with giving that car to Mercury. But back then, Mercury had the pull to replace their famous brands (remember the Cougar died in 1997) to keep the momentum going.

    The new-edge Cougar was to Tuner Cars what the 1967 Cougar was to Muscle Cars. Not a bad start, if Ford had the sense to keep it going.
    ——————–
    y2kdcar: correct. But the Sable’s doors still fit on a Taurus. Still, kudos to them for being that dedicated to the product.
    ——————–
    jurisb: but the Cougar isn’t badge engineered. You can’t tell its relationship to the Mondeo/Contour unless you flip it over or open the hood. FWIW, it also got a 100% unique steering wheel in 2001. :)

    More to the point, the New Edge Cougar proves that Mercury can badge engineer like Lexus does (ES vs. Camry, RX vs. Highlander), they just aren’t committed to it.
    ——————–
    Johnster: plenty in rural Texas. They aren’t the problem, its the L-M dealers who’ll lose entry level product with Mercury’s demise. And they’re like to not go down without a fight.

  • avatar
    CarShark

    If Ford closed Mercury, what would be the dealer’s argument for suing them? If Ford showed that they had future Lincoln products in the pipe, wouldn’t that show that Ford isn’t hanging them out to dry?

  • avatar
    P71_CrownVic

    sajeev mehta- 1999 cougar not only shared trip computer with Aston , it shared steering wheel, transmission, floorpan, engines and suspension with german-built ford mondeo. 70% of cougar was Mondeo actually.

    Ah…no wonder why it was such a good car…It was a Euro Ford.

  • avatar

    CarShark: L-M probably likes selling $22,000 Milans to people who can’t afford a Lincoln MK-whatever. There’s no doubt they love promoting their Hybrid offering (that sells well) to everyone. And, as of this year, the Volvo-Ford killing Grand Marquis is the only Panther available for retail sales.

    Lincoln is trending upwards, but its still a horribly damaged brand that won’t be in the league of Lexus for 10+ years…I doubt dealers can sell standalone Lincolns ($30k+ each) by themselves. They need $20-25k cars like the Milan and Mariner on the floor.

    I think they got plenty of reasons to be pissed.

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    They can be as pissed as they want to be – but not much they can do about it.

    The end of Mercury is coming.

  • avatar
    jurisb

    Sajeev Mehta- I have never considered Cougar a rebadge of mondeo, and have never said it. I consider a rebadge a car that shares exterior. Cougar was only sold in Europe as Ford. And no matter the parts sharing as long as it doesn`t touch exterior.

  • avatar

    Lichtronamo: but they can still sue. Who knows, maybe they’d win: I don’t know what’s in the franchise contract…

    jurisb: yup, it was done pretty well. Too bad the good Fords die young or get neglected to death.

  • avatar

    Obviously none of you various entrants has heard of Alfred P Sloan, ( fearfully known as “The Lizard”) who revolutionized the car biz with his one suit and lotsa ties concepts at GM. Everything that he pioneered works today. “Name” brands sell. Even if there were no lawsuits the loss of Mercury would be a catastrophe for Ford. For 100 years the Ford has been seen as the everymen car. (Who wants to be everyman even when you are?) The Merc is a step up and if the slightest attention was paid to the brand even if it duplicates underpinnings (who doesn’t?) it will be a profitable addition to the Ford stable. So what if it sells less than Saturn, and Pontiac. Mercury is paired up with Lincoln and is the perfect step between a 25k ford and a 50k Lincoln. You all seem to revel in your prognosticating, well Allen said recently that Merc does quite well. The decision is on the back burner, right now it makes no sense to bring in EU cars, they cost too much and the splash over at Saturn is negligible. Keep Mercury! Give Jill something to pitch! People that buy Mercurys are shopping Nissan, Buick, VW….even Ford and liking the Merc better. Where would they go if they did not like the boy racer look of the Fusion? the Artman

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    I know lots of Olds dealers sued GM. But, how many Chrysler-Plymouth dealers sued Chrysler (or DC?) as this is the more applicable comparision.

    SM is right that it all comes down to the franchise agreement – I’m sure they wouldn’t be starving Merc of new product and national advertising if there was a poison pill in the agreement that would cost them a bundle to kill the brand.

  • avatar
    Johnster

    When Chrysler discontinued Plymouth, they were sure that they’d be able to steer former Plymouth buyers into Chryslers and Dodges. To some extent that happened, but in nowhere near the numbers anticipated.

    The same thing happened with Oldsmobile. GM was sure they’d sell former Olds customers other products, mostly Buicks and Pontiacs. They sold a few to former Olds customers, but not as many as expected.

    The big beneficiaries of former Plymouth and Oldsmobile customers were Toyota, Nissan and Honda.

    Even if Mercury sells only a handful of cars and the cars are little more than tarted-up Fords, it makes sense to keep them in production. If they discontinue Mercury, they will lose most of the customers to the Japanese, just like what happened with Plymouth and Oldsmobile.

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    Just using round numbers, Merc at 200K units in a 17 million unit market is only 1.2 percent. I’m sure they crunched the numbers and have figured out that they spend more in developing unique front and rear clips, interior trim and advertising for Mercury than its worth.

  • avatar
    taxman100

    I agree that Ford will lose a majority of Mercury sales if they close the brand.

    One has to remember Ford sold nearly half a million Mercury’s a year less than a decade ago. Just because Ford is completely clueless on how to market the division properly doesn’t mean it’s worthless.

    Dump the marketing to women and “urban customers”. That has never been the Mercury customer.

    Think Steve McGarrett from Hawaii 5-0. That is the Mercury customer.

  • avatar
    CarShark

    Think Steve McGarrett from Hawaii 5-0. That is the Mercury customer.

    I would, but I have my original hips. You’ll have to elaborate.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    200k additional units per year in return for some trim tweaks is a good deal. Ford would be idiots to kill of Mercury as the volume would mostly just go away and not go over to Ford. People who buy Mercurys don’t want a generic Ford badge on their vehicle and are will to pay a few dollars extra for the nicer trim, cleaner nose and more exclusive name. Also, Lincoln-Mercury dealership experiences are generally a cut above that received at a Ford dealer.

    The real added cost to keep Mercury alive as an upscale trim version of Fords is next to nothing in the grand scheme of things.

    I suppose that the same logic applies to GMC trucks.

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    “Even if Mercury sells only a handful of cars and the cars are little more than tarted-up Fords, it makes sense to keep them in production. If they discontinue Mercury, they will lose most of the customers to the Japanese, just like what happened with Plymouth and Oldsmobile.”

    But they were all loosing customers to the Japanese anyway. There is no other explanation for the long term decline in market share of the D3. I think you’re right that it sped up the process, but keeping Mercury around doesn’t insure it’s long term survival, or Ford’s. Meanwhile, a lot of cash gets spent running a clone division. That money could be used to make better product and stop the loss of market share at Ford.

    OTOH, as someone said upthread, killing Plymouth didn’t seem to do much for Chrysler.

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    The money spent spent keeping Mercury on life support would be better spent making better Fords that may subsequently increase in sales volume. Ford would be better off selling 300K Fusions vs. 200K Fusions and 200K Milans.

    That said, their current sales volume is divided between FIVE models. Keeping 200K units of one model is a best seller, but an average of 40K units per model is a niche.

  • avatar
    CarShark

    OTOH, as someone said upthread, killing Plymouth didn’t seem to do much for Chrysler.

    That’s because Chrysler was still being run by idiots. That’s at the heart of this matter.

    * They still don’t have a subcompact model, and won’t have one until their hook-up with Nissan bears badge-engineered fruit.

    * The Neon languished with poor safety scores and a cheap interior until it’s death. It’s replacement, the Caliber, still doesn’t have a sedan body style, despite it being the best selling style in America.

    * The Sebring and Stratus/Avenger were blown away by the competition, and their replacement is so bad, they’re redoing it again.

    * They were slow to the crossover market, especially with the Dodge brand, and the Pacifica went from being too expensive to too cheap and is dead after one generation.

    To just say that killing useless brands doesn’t work is right until you get people that can actually run the show.

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    I agree.

    I think AM intends to push Ford slightly upmarket with One Ford using the superior products of the type offered in Europe. Under this strategy, there is no room for Mercury. Whereas, with Plymouth, Chrysler just dropped it without really an idea of how to get those buyers either into Chrysler products or over to Dodge showrooms.

    According to a Ford press release, Mercury sold 109029 cars (not SUVs), of which 50644 (46%) were the GM. Once the Panther dies after 2009, 30% Mercury’s total volume will just go away. The fact that Mercury got neither a Freestyle/Taurus, Edge/MKX or Flex/MKT variant in the hottest segment on the market is all you need to know. Ford doesn’t need to officially kill Mercury because its happening anyway.

  • avatar
    umterp85

    Perhaps Mercury will get the Taurus X (re-labeled Sable X) when Ford gets the Flex. That would eliminate overlap for Frod and give Mercury a crossover as well as a unique model.

  • avatar
    Johnster

    Years ago there was Mercury version of the Ford Freestyle/Taurus X called the Mercury Meta that made the rounds of auto shows.

    In the past week, at the Detroit Auto Show Ford has unveiled a Ford Explorer concept vehicle that is supposed to be a preview of what the actual Explorer will look like in a couple of years. They’re turning it into a crossover based on the Taurus chassis and it looks like it will replace both the current “body-on-frame” Explorer AND the Taurus X.

    The way Ford has been doing things, I would expect them to come out with a Lincoln version instead of a Mercury, but an updated Mercury Mountaineer crossover version of the concept would be attractive.

  • avatar
    taxman100

    Think Steve McGarrett from Hawaii 5-0. That is the Mercury customer.

    I would, but I have my original hips. You’ll have to elaborate.

    Mercury traditionally has been the brand for middle aged professionals; in fact Mercury was advertised for decades as “The Man’s Car”. It was the car you bought when you reached a point of respectibility in life, both personal and professional. Lincolns were too showy, and Fords were too youngster and blue collar.

    Steve McGarrett was the stereotypical Mercury buyer up until the last 10 years or so, which is one reason he always drove a Mercury Marquis on his show.

    The marketing to women is a complete disaster – the majority of men will not buy a car that is viewed as a “chick” car.

    I still say an traditional, simple, large American car done right would not only sell, but differentiate Mercury. Of course, this will not happen since Ford pretty much has disdain for their traditional customer.

    Oh well, just more lost sales to Toyota and Honda.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    The Cougar is definitely the Black Swan exception to the rule. It came at a time when sports coupes were not nearly the popular vehicles they once were, and the cliff like dive of the Cougar wasn’t uncommon during this time period. Unfortunately for Ford (and Cougar owners), one big thing held the Cougar back… quality.

    The quality problems were rife. Water leak issues, shoddy assembly quality in Flat Rock, crappy expensive tie rod ends and alternators, terrible paint wear. The resale value of the Cougar dwarfs comparable vehicles of that time like the Integra, Celica and Eclipse because Ford simply didn’t improve the model or protect their customers. We can argue that the Mercury brand probably played a minor role in the lack of popularity for that model. But the quality really just wasn’t there. Once the new Japanese models came out, the Cougar was outmatched.

    Mercury circa 2008 does not have a slither of the cache of Lincoln and Volvo. Period and end of story. Calling Mercury a premium brand these days is like calling Chrysler a premium brand. It kinda is… if there’s literally nothing else out there. So why bother?

    Ford is already having a terrible time gaining any traction in the marketplace. Do they have even one market leader anywhere in the car segment? Nope, not unless you count the Mustang which pretty much epitomizes everything that Mercury’s are not (distinctive, rich in history, worthwhile.)

    Does Ford really need another version of the Taurus, Crown Victoria and Explorer that is virtually equal in price? Eeehhhh… not unless you can tell me exactly what Mercury can actually bring to the table PROFIT wise. I just don’t think they do.

    The marketplace has changed now to the point where a brand like Mercury doesn’t compete well. The clone game is an old one and Ford should refocus on making one competitive vehicle that can truly match up with the world’s best.

    The North American Ford lineup is simply atrocious and will remain so for at least the next couple of years. Mercury is just a boat anchor of a brand at this point. It should be thrown overboard and unceremoniously dumped with little to no R&D until Ford can start building A world-class car. Cloning mediocrity has never been a winning formula in the car business. Just ask GM or British Leyland!

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    The “clone game” worked when Ford and GM dominated the US market – they were your only choices. However, the number of brands available now means you have real (and often better) choices. The age of Mercury (like others that have gone before and those that should be going (Pontiac)) is over.

  • avatar
    beback

    So far I have not seen any comments from an actual Dealer; Thus, as a fleet and leasing manager at a Lincoln Mercury franchise in Houston, Texas I would respond with the following: This dealership makes a good profit year in and year out. One of the strong points about the Lincoln Mercury Franchise is that it is not limited to just the high end, middle end or the low end as all other manufacture franchises are. This is the only franchise that covers all. In other words, my customers range from the low end (blue collar) of the corporation all the way up thru middle management to the top, i.e., Ceo, Pres. etc.. No other auto franchise can offer this. The reason is simple we have both Lincoln and Mercury products. Further, if you look at, as an example, the Mercury Milan vs it’s ford counterpart; the Milan is a much better looking vehicle both inside and out. The same would apply to the Mercury Mainer as compared to the ford escape. Also, the whole idea of letting a customer move up in status from the low end to the middle and even all the way to the top concept works. I have over the years watched families/customers of mine begin at the Mercury level, example the Mariner then into the Mountaineer and in some rare cases all the way up to the best luxury SUV every made, the Lincoln Navigator. Many CEOs, individuals and families once they found the dealership/individual that they trust tend to bring all of their family members, employees to that one trusted individual/dealership. Again, the Lincoln Mercury franchise is the only one that can do that. What has happened recently is that Ford had finally awoke from the deep Detroit sleep syndrome and learned from the foreign auto makers that they can no longer keep the same model for 5-7 year and must change every 2-4 years with new, exciting high tech. products. A great example of that change is the Lexus and everything else killer the Lincoln MKX. I have had the manager of a Lexus store whose parents always leased the Lexus smaller SUV, insist that he take them to me to lease the MKX. There opinion was that it looks better both inside and out has more power and more high tech. features than anything else in its class. Thus, they are now in a loaded 2008 Lincoln MKX with SYNC and a not so happy Lexus Sales Manager. The Lincoln MKS that will be released this summer, has more high tech. features than anything else out there and is an absolute treat to one eyes both inside and out. This dealership must keep the Mercury as it has changed and now the covers the low and mid ranges for us with new and exciting products. It is not a matter of how many models are in the Mercury line as some of you have indicated; but rather, how well what is in the line fits the consumers desires and wants at that low to middle range. Thus, when a customer can not qualify for a Lincoln I can send him/her home in a Mercury Product and still keep the business here at the same dealership. All one has to do is look at the advertising dollars that Ford is spending on the Mercury line, i.e., the Milan and the Mariner vs their counter parts at Ford. Yes they are selling very well thank you and we all love the young female spokesperson in the adds. What might make sense is to remove the Mercury name plate from the dual Ford/Mercury Dealers and have them sell only Fords. If managed and marketed properly the Lincoln Mercury Line(s) will balance each other and still let Ford Motor Company have the only franchise that covers all ranges of potential customers. What might make sense is to eliminate the Ford franchises and have just Lincoln/Ford Dealerships and upgrade the ford products to the Mercury level. However, knowing what I know about the Fords Dealer network and it’s inherent strength that will probably never happen. We are having are hard enough time now keeping the Lincoln LT Truck will all the wet eye crying from the Ford dealers that we are hurting there sales. The bottom line reality is that a Lincoln Customer does not want a ford king ranch or a H.D. ford truck they want the prestige and luxury of the Lincoln nameplate.

  • avatar
    umterp85

    Steven Lang “The North American Ford lineup is simply atrocious and will remain so for at least the next couple of years”

    A prime example of anti-domestic hyperbole. Lets keep a little realism on the comments. The Ford North American line-up may be boring (eg Taurus) in places and lacking (eg.a V8 rear drive sedan)—but atrocious—come on—that is Chrysler-land.

    On the contrary, the Ford line-up today is competitive and reliable—-but when you have been peddling less than stellar product for so long—being merely competitive does not cut it. The Fusion and Edge are a step in the right direction—-the Flex is promising—and the new F150 should be solid. More is needed however—and quickly. The next Fusion (’09) has got to be a compelling proposition right out of the gate.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Lousy quality products and mistreating customers killed the Detroit-3.

    We bought a Ford product manufactured virtually unchanged for two decades. We reasoned Ford had would have discovered and corrected the design flaws in that time, and the assembly line people must know where the parts belong. Wrong, it was an awful bag of bolts! The dealer and FoMoCo treated us like complete shit when we tried to get warranty repairs.

    We are happy as hell with our Japanese cars and won’t ever buy another domestic car, particularly a Ford product. Worse, there are tens of millions more like us.

  • avatar
    ionosphere

    To the Lincoln-Mercury dealer:

    One thing that might help is if you guys kept cars in stock. I have on order a 2008 Mercury Grand Marquis and was told I’ll have to wait 8-12 weeks. I called Ford and they told me all their cars take that long. I don’t know how it is with other manufacturers, but Mercury is lucky that I want this car so much and am willing to wait. Virtually every dealer in my part of the state has zero Grand Marquis in stock. In fact, when I went to my Seattle dealer, they had none in stock and I had to wait a few weeks to even testdrive one. Guess I was lucky, as it took them 3 months just to get that one model.

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    ionosphere:

    You have to wait because Hertz put in a big order for new GM’s right before your buy.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    umterp85, Ford is scheduled to have the oldest model line-up in North America until 2011. ‘Steps in the right direction’ does not remotely mean competitive although if you get past the front fascia of the Fusion, that’s actually a very good vehicle. The Edge is inferior to the CX-9, and the upcoming F150 will need to be an absolute grand slam.

    For now products like the Focus, Taurus, Taurus X, Town Car… and the entire Mercury lineup aren’t selling a lick. Other than the Mustang I simply don’t see Ford building the types of vehicles that have that ‘Wow!’ effect.

    They desperately need those types of products in order to displace all that anti-domestic hyperbole. Their current offerings are mostly in the one star to three star range. I don’t think a single one of their vehicles can be considered a market leader… with the Mustang as the sole exception.

    Ten years ago the Escort, Contour SVT, Explorer, Ranger, F150, and Mustang made Ford a market leader. The value was there in spades vis-a-vis the competition. Today that’s just not the case which is why they’re close to half the size they were ten years ago.

  • avatar
    50merc

    Wow, over 120 comments even though Mr. Lang never used the term “import bigot.” He must have touched a nerve.

    ionosphere, I’m puzzled that you’ve found it hard to find a Grand Marquis in stock. I checked the web sites for three L-M dealers in metro OKC, and they reportedly have thirty ’08s on hand (19 at one, 4 at another, 7 at the third store) in what appears to be a good assortment of GS, LS and colors.

  • avatar
    P.J. McCombs

    FoMoCo currently has four vehicles with enough outstanding attributes to compel consumers to take notice: the Taurus, the Taurus X, the Escape Hybrid, and the Mustang.

    The Taurus and Escape gain nothing by being re-grilled as Mercurys, and Ford hasn’t even tried rebadging the latter two (nor should they, particularly in the pony car’s case).

    The “sophisticated middle-manager/import-intender” angle didn’t work for Oldsmobile, and after decades of kinda-sorta-trying, it hasn’t worked for Mercury either. I’d be happy to see the brand euthanized quietly, its resources diverted to a C1 Focus and a competitive Explorer. We can still look back fondly upon the Cougar and Marauder–the only desirable products the brand ever had.

  • avatar
    umterp85

    Steven Lang—your most recent comments are reasonable and within the realm of debate—but they don’t support you earlier use of the hyperbolic word “atrocious” as you described the Ford line-up

    Just one correction—-the new Focus is selling Ok (vs. your not selling a “lick” comment)—+3 % above prior year in latest couple of months and 170K+ ttl units (combined old and new focus) for 2007. Again—don’t let facts get in the way of good entertaining anti-domestic hyperbole

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    OK, you have a compact vehicle that is replacing a tired seven year old design. Folks should be starving for this ‘new’ product given that gas is more than $3.00 a gallon in most of the U.S.A. It registers a rousing 3% increase in sales. Meanwhile the Toyota Corolla, a five year old design has a double digit increase in sales to 370,000 units. More than double that of the Focus.

    You call that a victory?

    Of course 13 recalls over the prior generation would eventually hurt your image a bit with the public. Wouldn’t you say?

  • avatar
    umterp85

    Mr Lang—I have not defended Ford’s line-up as best-in-class—despite your efforts to characterize my comments as such for the purpose of flaming.

    I have been consistent in all of my comments to say Ford has a long way to go product wise but recent efforts like the Fusion and Edge have been encouraging.

    Mr. Mulally inherited a shit sandwich that he is trying to dig himself out of. I think he is making the right moves to right the ship operationally and focusing on the right things like quality. Fixing the product portfolio problem takes longer—-you seem to think it can be solved with a snap of the finger. I think we can all agree we hope it is solved at a very accelerated pace.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    “Mr Lang—I have not defended Ford’s line-up as best-in-class—despite your efforts to characterize my comments as such for the purpose of flaming.”

    “Don’t let facts get in the way of good entertaining anti-domestic hyperbole”

    “Fixing the product portfolio problem takes longer—-you seem to think it can be solved with a snap of the finger.”

    Wow, talk about flamebait. Comments like these aren’t worth my time.

  • avatar
    ionosphere

    50merc:

    Do a search of inventory for Western Washington and you’ll see what I mean by lack of Grand Marquis. Maybe they are a lot less popular here than your part of the country.

  • avatar
    SAAB95JD

    Listen, this brand has been in peril since the late 80’s. I am not surprised that this subject is coming up AGAIN, but there is a LOT of room for critique of Ford for the continuing demise of a brand.

    I just read today that the US variant of the “Verve” concept car will be a 4-door, not a hatch. They will probably deny the US a diesel as well. The the cardinal sin of them all: they are going to redesign the front of the car with the 3-bar chrome grill. Is Ford Motor Company SOOOOO out of touch with reality? Why do US consumers continue to buy the s**t that they are peddling these days? Recycled Mazda platforms, weak engines, huge gas-guzzling SUV’s that are not only boring stylistically, but just plain offensive.

    A couple of years ago I saw a photo of a euro-market Mondeo that was mildly restyled with a Mercury grill. It was taken in a product clinic. THAT is the type of things that US consumers should demand. The Fusion/Milan? Yuck. Do a search and look at what the euro market cars that Ford is making and selling. Now look at the US.

    I have something to say to Ford, but it is pretty clear that they are not listening. Here goes anyway:

    Use Mercury as an outlet for SMALL volume sales of the European market vehicles. They don’t need to be restyled to look like a Mercury, they are already “just right”. Change the badge, and IMPORT them. And remember, the European focus is already a Mazda 3 and Volvo S40, so no crap about them not being designed for crash-standards in the US. Bring in diesels, make them handle JUST LIKE THE Euro cars. I bet that by doing that, the Mercury vehicles would out-sell Volvo in the US, and would spread the development costs even further. The cars are already there, just invest a few bucks in badges…

    *disclaimer: I know it costs a lot to re-badge, and I know that it costs more $$ to change over headlights, etc to US standards. It is worth it.

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    I believe the “three bar grille” on the US Verve is shown on the Detroit show concept. It’s much more restrained than the Fusion, Edge and Taurus shaver.

    How about those new Mercury debuts and concepts!!!

  • avatar
    SAAB95JD

    I believe ( and could be VERY wrong) that the grill on the Verve at Detroit is the production grill for the EU Fiesta. Here’s to hoping that Lichtronamo is indeed correct that the grill is the US version…

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    Somebody referenced it in an article I read this week (where I read it I can’t remember) that the Verve concept represents the intended blending of the NA and European design languages.

  • avatar

    SAAB95JD: Use Mercury as an outlet for SMALL volume sales of the European market vehicles…I bet that by doing that, the Mercury vehicles would out-sell Volvo in the US, and would spread the development costs even further. The cars are already there, just invest a few bucks in badges…

    Who knows, maybe the importation costs will be less than the multi-state lawsuit costs of closing the Mercury brand.

    Maybe I should have mentioned that in my pro-Mercury editorial.

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