QOTD: Mercury's Youth In Asia?
Yesterday, we pondered which brand has most recently lost the plot. Today's plan was to have you ponder which brand is the most damaged. But why bother? We all know the answer. Hell, dogs know the answer. Mercury was created out of whole cloth to be Ford's entry-level-luxury division. Trouble is that seventy years down the line, Lincoln is FoMoCo's entry-level-luxury (and just barely). Leaving Mercury as… what? I have no clue. No one does. Seriously, what possible purpose does Mercury serve (for us, not Lincoln dealers)? Besides being an over-chromed Ford, does Mercury stand for anything? Put it this way, if Mercury fell in a forest, who'd give a shit? I don't know a single human being who owns a Mercury. Oh wait; I do. A dear friend of mine is a big noise in the Department of Water and Power's Union. When his Oldsmobile 98 finally (and literally) fell apart, he needed a replacement big American barge ("It wouldn't look good come election time if I showed up in a Japanese car"). A Grand Marquis with $9k on the hood was his for the taking. If he could've found a Crown Vic that cheap, he would've bought it. In summary, why hasn't Mullally dragged Mercury out behind the woodshed and put the division out of its misery? I mean, you heard anyone crying over Plymouth lately?
The problem with killing Mercury is that Ford would lose a lot of revenue. As GM found out when they killed Oldsmobile and Chrysler found out when they killed Plymouth, sales of their other cars don't increase. Instead of going Buick or Dodge they scatter throughout the industry so the only real thing the company accomplishes is that they save on costs. Mercury sold about 170,000 cars last year. If the average cost was $22,000 that's $3.7 billion dollars in lost revenue by killing Mercury that they wouldn't necessarily make up. Of course if they'd just build interesting products that people want to buy Ford could grow themselves into a profit instead of having to save their way into a profit.
Stephan: Click on this link. If that isn't everything you need to know, call your doctor.
"I don't know a single human being who owns a Mercury." I resemble that remark. I still own one of my Mercury Mystiques. It made sense at the time, the V6 on the Ford Contour was a hard come by, but the Mercury came with it, and anti-locks, traction control and airbags, and was more heavily discounted than the Ford. Dealers usually regard the smaller Mercs as a nuisance and are quicker to make a deal to move the metal. My kids were teenagers in the 90s and I did not want to have them driving something that I would worry about. The Mystique was reasonably sized, reasonably priced, well equipped, and I did not mind driving it when I had to. They are in their 20s now and two of them live in Chicago. I let them keep the 99 up there. It has a value of maybe $2000. They park on the street, and I loose no sleep over it. If it gets stolen or totaled, I will spend no time worrying about it.
The whole marketing Mercury to women is an utter flop. The problem with Mercury is Ford. Mercury IS the Grand Marquis. Ford is too stupid to invest in the Panther platform, thus the Grand Marquis does not get invested in. Breaks down like this: No investment in Grand Marquis eventually equals No Mercury, period.