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Intrepidation

Mercury Dead by 2012

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SANTA MONICA, California — Although Ford officials still won't confirm the impending death of Mercury, supplier sources tell Inside Line that the midlevel luxury brand has no products planned after the 2012 model year.

The last model standing is likely to be the Milan midsize sedan as it will get a midcycle refresh early next year along with the Ford Fusion. Other models like the Montego, Grand Marquis and recently refreshed Mariner will continue until roughly the 2011/2012 model year as well.

None of this comes as a surprise, as Mercury has been absent from the auto show scene for quite some time. When Lincoln revealed the MKT crossover concept at this year's Detroit auto show, there was no mention of a Mercury version.

It was much the same story when a photo of the next-generation Ford Taurus leaked out last month. Ford's CEO Alan Mulally confirmed that a new Taurus was on the way for 2010, but said nothing about a Mercury version.

In a subsequent interview with Automotive News, Mark Fields, Ford's President of the Americas, was equally evasive about the future of Mercury. "We've laid out a strategy to focus a lot of our efforts going forward on the Lincoln side of the franchise," Fields said when asked about Mercury. "That's where a majority of our focus is going to be, and Lincoln will become the dominant portion of the Lincoln-Mercury franchise, which is a flip from the history."

What this means to you: Even Mercury advertising babe Jill Wagner can't save a brand that has no support from its parent company. Another all-American brand bites the dust in 2012. — Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor, Edmunds Inside Line

Source: Inside Line

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its a shame to see another venerable name plate go by the way side and fade away. in the 60's mercs had it rocking... xr-7's, marauders, cyclone spoilers... i mean the cougar almost stole the scca trans am title from the mustangs one year. where would the be a hot rod scene have gone without the mercs and the caddy's having dukin it out? bummer.

Edited by cletus8269
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otoh

Reuters - Ford says Mercury brand important part of line-up

_Mon Jun 9, 2008 9:10pm EDT

Ford Motor Co's Mercury brand is an important part of the U.S. automaker's line-up and the company is continuing to invest in the nameplate, Mark Fields, Ford's president of the Americas, said on Monday.

"It is an important part of the stable of brands," Fields told reporters at an event promoting the new Lincoln MKS sedan in Garden City, Michigan.

Fields comments follow recent analyst questions on whether Ford would continue to invest in its Mercury brand...

...Ford, which last month abandoned its long-standing goal to be profitable in 2009, has been hurt by the shift in U.S. consumer demand toward smaller, fuel-efficient vehicles and away from large trucks and SUVs...

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They are so committed to it that they give it nothing beyond rebadges. :rolleyes:

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The "Inside Line" article refers to Mercury as a "midlevel luxury brand". Funny, I thought that was what Lincoln had become. Mercury is just another outlet to sell faux luxury rebadged Ford clone products. I don't want to see Mercury discontinued, but I also don't want to see it linger in the market in its current state. I don't really see a future for this brand since Lincoln was moved downmarket and the Ford division will soon be selling products with styling that has been merged with Ford of Europe's design language.

Actually, given the corporation's current financial state, it may be wise for them to discontinue Mercury and concentrate on improving the Ford and Lincoln divisions. It appears as though Lincoln has taken over what I envisioned to be Mercury's role: offering a premium product portfolio based on Ford division platforms. As long as the upcoming MKS sedan signals the direction of this platform sharing strategy, I don't have a problem with this plan. The MKS is platform sharing done right; I wouldn't know that it's based on the Taurus/Sable just by looking at it. If they can give Lincoln products their own unique designs and brand appropriate upscale features and engineering in the future, then Lincoln could experience a renaissance in the U.S. market as well as in global markets. The Navigator, Mark LT, MKZ, and MKX need to be the last Lincoln products that share their overall exterior appearances (except for front/rear treatments) with Ford division products. If Lincoln is to be perceived as a separate premium entity, Ford must resist the urge to simply change the front/rear treatments of Ford division products and pass them off as upscale Lincoln products. If they fall into the same rebadge addiction that the corporation has utilized before, then Lincoln will follow Mercury's path into obscurity. Lincoln products must have their own unique upscale exterior/interior designs, premium features, and luxury content to ensure that everything that the customer sees and feels communicates a sense of luxury to the customer.

As far as Lincoln's future product portfolio, this is what I see happening:

* MKS: This product would serve as Lincoln's flagship sedan. The future introduction of the EcoBoost V6 should provide the sedan with a performance aura. Lincoln needs to ensure that they update the sedan when technological advances arrive on the market and provide this sedan with timely redesigns so that it doesn't grow stale in the market.

* Compact sedan and coupe-cabrio: With gas prices continuing to climb, I think the time is right to introduce a compact sedan and coupe-cabrio for Lincoln on Ford's excellent C1 platform. 2.0 and 2.5 liter EcoBoost 4 cylinder engines could serve as the base and upgrade engines, respectively.

* Compact sub-MKX crossover: This crossover would be based on the Ford Kuga platform and offer the same engine lineup as the compact sedan/coupe-cabrio.

* MKZ: The next generation would move to the larger 2009 Mazda6 platform or the EUCD platform. Sedan and coupe-cabrio versions would be offered that have their own unique exterior style (not a Fusion with different front/rear treatments and a small black plastic triangle attached to the C-pillar to alter the appearance of the roofline) and brand appropriate features/engineering to ensure a properly upscale look and feel. The 2.5 liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder would serve as the base engine and the 3.7 liter V6 could serve as an engine upgrade.

* MKX: The next generation would receive its own unique exterior design (not an Edge with different front/rear treatments). With the arrival of a compact sub-MKX crossover, the next generation would grow slightly to accommodate an optional third row of seats. Engine choices would mirror the next generation MKZ.

* MKS based large crossover: I would watch the sales performance of the Ford Flex along with other large crossovers (Enclave in particular) and market conditions (such as fuel prices) to determine if this type of vehicle is needed in Lincoln's lineup. Diesel or hybrid options might be needed to make this type of vehicle successful in the future if Ford determines that a Lincoln version of the Flex (with totally unique styling, of course) is a necessary addition to Lincoln's product portfolio.

* Mustang based RWD coupe-cabrio: Lincoln could use a RWD coupe-cabrio as an image vehicle for the Lincoln division. This car would be based on a modified Mustang platform with an independent rear suspension. The 3.7 V6 would serve as the base engine and the EcoBoost 3.5 V6 would serve as the performance engine.

If Ford gives its namesake division future products that mirror Ford's excellent Euro based product portfolio and properly executes a product strategy similar to the one listed above for Lincoln, then Ford Corporation might succeed in their mission of returning to health and profitability. If they become healthy and profitable once more, maybe they can resurrect the "Continental" name as a true luxury division positioned above Lincoln in the far off future (if market conditions justify such a move). I see a future Continental luxury division as a small niche division that offers a focused product portfolio based on a brand specific set of RWD platform components. This division would be positioned to competently compete with Mercedes Benz, BMW, Jaguar, etc.

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Mercury is in a unique position. The are the only brand anywhere where I like each and every one of their products. However, I am not at all interested in the Ford clones of Mercury. If I were remaining in the states, the Milan and Sable would be on my short list if I were to decide against the cost of a CTS this time around. At the same time, I'd not even bother with the Fusion or Taurus.

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It would be such a waste to kill a brand with so much potential...

Oh well, chalk another victory up for the anti-Detroit.

Which brand is next?

Pontiac? Hummer? Buick? GMC? Jeep? Chrysler? Lincoln?

(Don't hate me.. You KNOW the media will be asking the same question in an attempt to 'help things along' as much as possible)

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I figured it out 25 years ago. Unfortunately for those of us hooked on car news we'll have to endure the Mercury-is-important-to-our-future posturing from Fields and Co for another 4 years.

I figured that nearly 2 years ago... hence my user name ;)
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So much potential? :blink: You know a brand, any brand is in trouble when the best thing you can say about it is 30 years old. Like, remember the Cougar? If only Mercury had a Cougar it would be the days of wines and roses all over....or, if only Pontiac would just put a V8 in Grand Am that would sell...bwaa haa haa

Sweep out the whole stinking lot of walking dead brands I say.

It would be such a waste to kill a brand with so much potential...

Oh well, chalk another victory up for the anti-Detroit.

Which brand is next?

Pontiac? Hummer? Buick? GMC? Jeep? Chrysler? Lincoln?

(Don't hate me.. You KNOW the media will be asking the same question in an attempt to 'help things along' as much as possible)

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Sweep out the whole stinking lot of walking dead brands I say.

Sweep out the whole stinking lot of executives who let them become or remain walking dead brands I say.

Edited by wildcat
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Can't argue with that. Although, I'd add that the people who are truly to blame for the Big Three's problems over the years are the very large stock shareholders who were content to sit back and collect their dividends while their chosen proxies, the Board of Directors, sleepwalked. Detroit's shrinking market share, poor quality, poor labor relations and poor profitablility over the last 40 years speaks for itself. Management was inept, the BOD let it happen and the shareholders enabled the whole thing.

Sweep out the whole stinking lot of executives who let them become or remain walking dead brands I say.
Edited by buyacargetacheck
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Mercury would not be a hard fix at all.

It's called Ford Europe.

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Mercury would not be a hard fix at all.

It's called Ford Europe.

QTF

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Mercury would not be a hard fix at all.

It's called Ford Europe.

Return of the Merkur XR4Ti !

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Mercury Puma

deu_de001yyvnavigation.jpg

Mercury Puma Cabrio

deu_de008yyvnavigation.jpg

Mercury Milan

deu_de00qyywnavigation.jpg

Mercury Panther

deu_de00syyrnavigation.jpg

Mercury Mariner

deu_de00hyywnavigation.jpg

Mercury Lynx

deu_de002yyvnavigation.jpg

Mercury Villager

deu_de006yywnavigation.jpg

Mercury Monterey

deu_de00fyywnavigation.jpg

and keep the current Sable, but give it more

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Mulally's plan is to bring many if not all of those European Fords here as Fords. Mercury is not needed, nor would Euro Fords badged as Mercurys be believable. Those of us who lived through the 1980s have already seen that "Euro Fords as Mercurys" plan played out. It wasn't successful for said reason.

Mercury Puma

deu_de001yyvnavigation.jpg

Mercury Puma Cabrio

deu_de008yyvnavigation.jpg

Mercury Milan

deu_de00qyywnavigation.jpg

Mercury Panther

deu_de00syyrnavigation.jpg

Mercury Mariner

deu_de00hyywnavigation.jpg

Mercury Lynx

deu_de002yyvnavigation.jpg

Mercury Villager

deu_de006yywnavigation.jpg

Mercury Monterey

deu_de00fyywnavigation.jpg

and keep the current Sable, but give it more

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The Merkur wasn't successful because it was RWD in a time when FWD was all the rage. It was an oddball looking car with a hard to pronounce name. It was sitting in showrooms next to the tremendously popular, larger, and much cheaper Sable.

Not apples to apples.

edit: Mercury is needed to justify the higher transaction costs

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At one time I thought it would be a good idea to sell Ford of Europe products here as Mercury products (along with the current Australian Falcon). If the entire lineup were replaced (instead of offering a couple of odd looking products in the same showroom with cheaper U.S. based products like the original lame Mercury/Merkur setup), I think Mercury could have been repositioned as an upscale, import focused brand. This plan would have made Mercury relevant and successful again. The reason Merkur failed was that it wasn't a total lineup transformation and the products were all wrong for the time (offering odd looking premium hatchback products in a market culture that viewed hatchbacks as cheap, economy car vehicles was a recipe for disaster and failure).

This plan is no longer valid since Ford plans on offering Ford of Europe products and styling in their future U.S. lineup (starting with the Fiesta and Euro influenced 2010 Taurus). Since this seems to be their intention now, there is no need to keep Mercury around. Ford will cover the mainstream portion of the market with future Euro inspired products (along with the Mustang and trucks/SUVs/crossovers) while Lincoln covers the premium portion of the market with near luxury products based on Ford division platforms (hopefully with unique styling and upscale features/feel).

Do I think a modern day Eurocentric Mercury is a missed opportunity for Ford Corporation? Absolutely. Unfortunately, the window of opportunity for this plan is closed and Mercury is now facing extinction. If Mercury's disappearance allows Ford Corporation to improve the Ford and Lincoln divisions and return to health and profitability, then I think Mercury's demise is for the best. I don't want to see it happen, but Ford should have started a revitalization effort for the brand a long before now.

Edited by cire
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Nice try, but you don't know what you are talking about.

The problem was that despite good Merkur reviews by the car rags, it was much easier for the white shoe salesmen at LM dealers to sell the bigger, lower-priced per pound, vinyl-roofed, cushy rides they had been selling to the same customers for years. Their customers didn't appreciate a Euro ride with a funny name. FWD Saab buyers and RWD BMW buyers didn't want to settle for a Ford of any kind even a Euro one. Japanese buyers in the same price range had learned to shun American car dealers for their health by that time and found the Celica Supra and 300ZX far superior rides.

Class dismissed.

The Merkur wasn't successful because it was RWD in a time when FWD was all the rage. It was an oddball looking car with a hard to pronounce name. It was sitting in showrooms next to the tremendously popular, larger, and much cheaper Sable.

Not apples to apples.

edit: Mercury is needed to justify the higher transaction costs

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Nice try, but you don't know what you are talking about.

The problem was that despite good Merkur reviews by the car rags, it was much easier for the white shoe salesmen at LM dealers to sell the bigger, lower-priced per pound, vinyl-roofed, cushy rides they had been selling to the same customers for years. Their customers didn't appreciate a Euro ride with a funny name. FWD Saab buyers and RWD BMW buyers didn't want to settle for a Ford of any kind even a Euro one. Japanese buyers in the same price range had learned to shun American car dealers for their health by that time and found the Celica Supra and 300ZX far superior rides.

Class dismissed.

Isn't that what I said?

It was too expensive. <read: also not prestigious enough for the money>

It was too odd looking.

It had an odd and unfamiliar name.

The mid-sized Scorpio came out one year after the Taurus/Sable made an entrance with incredible fanfare.... Remember, the Taurus/Sable were considered revolutionary in styling for their day. Whether or not they were is another debate. The Taurus and Sable managed to not only end Merkur, but also caught GM off guard when they completely mis-mangled the W-body launch.

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Mercury would not be a hard fix at all.

It's called Ford Europe.

The FORD brand needs Ford Europe first.....before you even begin to discuss Mercury.

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The Merkur wasn't successful because it was RWD in a time when FWD was all the rage. It was an oddball looking car with a hard to pronounce name. It was sitting in showrooms next to the tremendously popular, larger, and much cheaper Sable.

Not apples to apples.

edit: Mercury is needed to justify the higher transaction costs

Ford didn't seem to have much of a problem selling RWD Mustangs during the same time period. Driveline layout had nothing to do with it.

Mercury would be an incredibly POOR fit for Ford Europe products due to the serious lack of brand image and the fact that Lincoln/Mercury stores are a much smaller distribution entity.

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As GM has shown with Saturn, it's not so easy to just give a forgotten brand new, different, very good products and sit back and rack up sales.

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Ford didn't seem to have much of a problem selling RWD Mustangs during the same time period. Driveline layout had nothing to do with it.

Mercury would be an incredibly POOR fit for Ford Europe products due to the serious lack of brand image and the fact that Lincoln/Mercury stores are a much smaller distribution entity.

don't be daft. the sports car market is completely different from the midsized family car market.

I think mercury should get the euro ford models simply because mercury is more likely to be able to support the higher transaction cost. as much as we don't like the current focus, the market has shown that it'll sell in it's current form. Ford can have that cake and eat it too by selling the euro Focus at Mercury. There will always be that ''I'm not paying X dollars for a Ford!'' attitude. Not as much with Mercury...or at least it's more likely to change that way.

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