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Will Mercury soon be joining Plymouth and Oldsmobile?

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  • john_324john_324 Posts: 974
    I agree...I've said the same thing. There's just not a big rationale for Mercury these days, and it's just going to keep getting smaller as time goes on.

    It'll be painful/expensive to shutter Mercury, sure...BUT the longer Ford waits, the worse it will get.

    I don't think closing it down will be as expensive as it was to kill Oldsmobile though...there are no independent (or even primarily) Mercury dealers these days.

    I'd have to imagine that, once it's explained to them and Ford keeps it word, dealers would much rather hawk higher-end Lincolns with higher margins in a pure luxury atmosphere than the current mix of middling Mercs/Lincolns... :confuse:
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Kill Mercury. Ford needs the cash and all a Mercury is is a rebadged Ford

    Funny how this is the sin of the ages for Ford, but When any other company does it - it's no big deal.....
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,415
    Except no other company is doing it to Mercury's extent. Not one. Although other companies do resort to badge engineering for some models (and that doesn't apply to platform sharing like Impala, Grand Prix and Lacrosse), Mercury does not have a single model that is not completely a Ford with just a bit of change to grill, head and taillights. If Ford doesn't respect Mercury enough to give it the differentiation it used to, why should customers?
  • rockyleerockylee Posts: 14,011
    I agree gregg, I don't see the point of Mercury ???? It's not like they are up market like Buick. Ford, certainly hasn'tmoved Lincoln, far enough market to make Mercury, into Buick. Hell they aren't even far enough up market to be Saturn. So when is their expiration date ? :surprise:

    -Rocky
  • jkr2106jkr2106 Posts: 231
    Wait, you mean Mercury's still around? I hadn't noticed :P
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,415
    Yes, you do see a few women who drive 2008 Mariners...
  • jae5jae5 Posts: 1,205
    I believe their latest marketing push as a woman's division is working. As gregg stated as well, the few Mercury's I saw last week (Montego, 2 Milans) were driven by women. A past female co-worker drove a Mountaineer. A couple of ladies at my current job drive Marauders (2003 version :( , not the 1960s version :) ). Haven't seen men drive Mercurys except the occasional GM (grandpa).

    I guess Mercury = Woman in Ford-ise. as many stated in the past I do wish they would have better differentiation in product instead of being guissed-up Fords or downgraded Lincolns, whichever you prefer.

    Where's the Cougar?
  • chuckhoychuckhoy Posts: 420
    Where's the Cougar?

    She drives a BMW 5er. :)
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,415
    Yes, working in terms of getting a few women to drive them, but sales continue to drift down from already decimated numbers. But really, who cares? Mercury as it used to be ceased to exist long ago.
  • jae5jae5 Posts: 1,205
    Agreed.

    I wonder, with the sale-off of the past PAG groups, if FOMOCO will put any cash into the "Big M" or spend all the monies trying to prop up Lincoln.
  • jkr2106jkr2106 Posts: 231
    I sure hope so; I guess they can't spend any less on Merc. You know, I've always thought the multiple brands could be an asset foreign makes don't have. Now-a-days, I think there is a real chance to capitalize on the individualism of us youngins that refuse to drive a Camry.
  • jae5jae5 Posts: 1,205
    Yes, I wonder if there is cash spent on Mercury would FOMOCO put it toward an effort to make a car that's not simply a rebadged, re-trimmed Ford. I mean, something that would make someone do a double-take, in a good way. Or just put it on another also-ran or rebadge jobby-job.

    But with the shape Ford is in, leveraging everything, I think we may be seeing the last gasp from Merc.
  • jkr2106jkr2106 Posts: 231
    Sure hope not. Do you think that targeting women is a good route for future Merc's or would you rather see them competing with a certain brand? I guess ultimately, Lincoln should be up a little higher to make room for Mercurys, but I'm unclear as to what brand they want to emulate/compete with.
  • jae5jae5 Posts: 1,205
    Do you think that targeting women is a good route for future Merc's or would you rather see them competing with a certain brand?

    Tough call. I mean, it's one thing to target a gender with one vehicle or two (a la original Mustang not only targeted the "youth market" but really the secretary) but the whole brand I'm not sure. And I don't think there's the ability to "Scion-ize Merc either. Very, very good question jkr.

    Ultimately I think Mercury needs to appeal to a broad range / group, with products for the mass market, concentrating on those that like Ford products, but are looking for something a little bit more. Maybe not up to the "Lincoln status" yet, but on the corporate climb. In this mix you can have one or a couple of products that are geared toward men or women or a particular segment (yuppie, an intro-lux buyer that doesn't want an A4, 3-series, ES...) but the products overall appeal to an intermediate person. A person maybe not in the luxury market per se, but someone that's looking for something a little bit more than the base division. I don't know what particular brand they can compete with, maybe Buick in this sense (using my example above).

    For lack of a better example, maybe Merc can be a mix of the "new" Pontiac & Buick. Fit the niche between Ford and Lincoln where they are a step above Ford in terms of creature-comforts but not as much as Lincoln. Also have a sporty side where the suspension / drivetrain has a little more umph to it, perhaps a powertrain that the Fords don't get, but a base Lincoln might. Gear ratios that are a little more aggressive, wheel/tire packages (not dubs or paper-plates but 17 ~ 18-inchers), standard features that may be options on the lower Fords. Bodywork that is more sexy than the Ford (and no, not just chrome trim or different logo). Push these things, kind of like how Ford back in the day pushed "...and now with Thunderbird power...". Basically go back to the original purpose of "Big M".

    And don't introduce the products until they are what they're suppose to be. No early birds because "the dealers are crying"; don't push an also-ran into the market "because the competition is going to get there first" or the many other excuses. But in any event they can't let the product die in terms of marketing, innovation and improvements like the current offerings.

    I agree Lincoln should be the upper-crust of the Ford family, with Mercury above Ford. But product differentiation is the key, and not just by price levels.
  • jkr2106jkr2106 Posts: 231
    this mix you can have one or a couple of products that are geared toward men or women or a particular segment (yuppie, an intro-lux buyer that doesn't want an A4, 3-series, ES...) but the products overall appeal to an intermediate person.

    Yeah, I like that. Mercury could be what Lexus' volume sells are the RX and ES. Save the RWD/more potent vehicles for Lincoln which would be competing with Mercedes, et al. I say Lincoln = Mercedes only if Ford manages to sell Jag/LR, opening up the top spot in the lineup. You know that would actually make sense and does jive with what The General is doing: the new Lacrosse is supposed to be hot (competing with the ES), and will join the Enclave which is selling like hotcakes in the RX's segment. That frees Caddy up for taking on BMW/Mercedes with its next generation of cars starting with the CTS. Likewise, letting Mercury handle the entry-lux midsize segment with what is now the Lincoln MKX and MKZ would let Lincoln climb to a more prominent position in the industry.

    I wonder if that's ARM's plan...
  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    the only realistic way for Mercury to survive would be to be the importer for Ford's European cars.
    The Mondeo, Euro Focus(re name it Capri) maybe the Ford Falcon.
    that way, you have different cars form Ford,and less expensive than Lincoln.
  • jkr2106jkr2106 Posts: 231
    Well I think there are several realistic ways for Mercury to survive, all of them basically calling for more than FoMoCo does now. That said, there is talk of the Euro Focus being aligned in the next generation, so that's why I didn't mention it. I actually like the Mondeo and maybe it would be a good low-cost fit. The Falcon, though, I thought was Australian (which is okay, I just don't think its sold in Europe). Now with that said, the problem that I see is that the image of the Mondeo and Falcon is, yes, premium when compared to Ford USA, but should these vehicles be sold next to Lincoln? For example, with GM, they wouldn't sell Caddies next to Pontiacs, although it may be okay to sell Caddies next to Buicks. So, that's why whenever people suggest that alternative, I'm always skeptical of its implementation. After all, one of the main points of this Jag/LR sale is to raise Lincoln to a world class luxury brand.
  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    Given the class of cars that Mercury is currently selling, I think the Euro Fords would be a big improvement.
    Lincoln's are barely better than Mercury's today anyway,and that won't change in the near future.
    i don't think that Ford has a real plan for Lincoln at this point.
    Selling Jag has nothing to do with Lincoln.
    It has to do w/ stemming the losses to Ford from Jaguar.
    Actually, if Ford was serious about Lincon,keeping Jag would make sense because they could share platforms and development costs on new models.
  • jkr2106jkr2106 Posts: 231
    Ooh without question Euro Fords would be a big improvement. Nothing in the auto industry changes in the near future, when any given model may be out 4-6 years. Ford does, however, have a real plan for Lincoln. ARM has said that he doesn't feel Ford needs the British marques to be successful in the global luxury arena. I never said the sale doesn't have to do with stemming losses; what I said was "one of the main points of this Jag/LR sale is to raise Lincoln to a world class luxury brand" which is consistent with management. When I have time later tonight I'll have to find that link. Furthermore, keeping Jag and having two full luxury lineups splits the focus within the company. And there is no guarantee that they will sell the entire company without retaining a small stake for platform sharing (like with Volvo) if that is deemed necessary.
  • jae5jae5 Posts: 1,205
    I didn't really think of that vm, Mercury being the portal for the Euro/Aussie vehicles, like Saturn & Pontiac for GM. That's another possibility...I just hope if that does occur the powers that be don't change the flavor, the spark, the design trying to "Americanize" the vehicles.
  • jae5jae5 Posts: 1,205
    I recall the article as well, I can't remember if I read that on Detroit News online or USA Today. I believe there's also a blurb on it in Automotive News.

    But with Jaguar & LR really have to sell together becuase they are so intertwined. I am guessing that FOMOCO would keep a stake in both like they did with Aston. Perhaps they could have enough of a stake to get a platform out of it.

    But getting back to Mercury, I sure hope ARM has a plan for the marque. And that this plan is actually feasible, has definition and thru-put!
  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    The real reason that LR is being "thrown in" is because no one would want Jag alone.
    LR is the sweetner. A compnay that actually has a good product line, is profitable, and has a bright future.
  • Its both really.

    In the past two years I have seen a lot of jobs that used to have separate Land Rover and Jaguar personnel combined into one. The only person I deal with on a regular basis now that is Land Rover only is our market manager everyone else has dual roles with Jag.

    Jag and LR even share a factory now.
  • jae5jae5 Posts: 1,205
    Thanks BR. You pretty much summed up my response. While it could be done and Jaguar sold alone, it would end up one big mess. Like you said, they are so intertwined now their almost really one company.
  • jkr2106jkr2106 Posts: 231
    Richard Truett
    Automotive News
    October 15, 2007 - 4:14 pm ET

    Click Here!
    DETROIT -- R.I.P. Mercury? Not yet.

    Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally said today that the struggling division will not be killed.

    In a meeting with reporters at a factory outside Detroit, here’s what Mulally said when asked if Mercury has a future.

    “Absolutely. It’s doing well. We’ve got a great set of products in Mercury. It’s a very nice complement to the Ford products. And so we have a good lineup in Ford, Lincoln and Mercury.”

    But Ford officials have been tight-lipped about Mercury’s future products. Except for a hybrid version of the Milan sedan coming next summer, no other vehicles are known to be in the pipeline for Mercury.

    Mercury sales have been declining for years. In 2006, Mercury sold 180,848 vehicles, its lowest total since 1960. Through September, sales were off another 11 percent, down from 146,418 to 129,743 for the nine-month period.

    Mulally, lumping Mercury’s sales performance in with Lincoln, said: “It’s a great product line, and dealers are very happy with it. Sales are spectacular for Lincoln Mercury. In some areas, Lincoln Mercury has been growing faster than Ford.”

    Lincoln is one of the rare bright spots for Ford; the division has posted sales gains every month this year. Lincoln’s sales of 102,449 units through September are running about 11 percent higher than last year.

    Mercury has about 1,900 dealers. Most are dualed with Ford or Lincoln.

    On other topics:

    * Mulally said he expects Jim Farley to have an immediate impact once he settles in as Ford’s group vice president of marketing and communications. Mulally wooed Farley from Toyota, where he was general manager of the Lexus Division.

    “Mr. Farley is a proven auto executive," he said. "He’s very experienced in marketing and sales and especially in getting the word out. He’s going to be a great help.”

    * Ford is expecting big things from the revamped Focus. Mulally said the new compact will: Define Ford going forward, arrest Ford’s market share decline and help position Ford for profitable growth.

    “This is the finest small vehicle Ford has ever produced,” Mulally told a crowd of assembly line workers at the company’s Wayne stamping and assembly plant, where the car is built.


    He must know something we don't :confuse:
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,415
    He certainly is spouting a lot of corporate-speak BS, isn't he? Calling the American 08 Focus the "finest small vehicle Ford has ever produced" is weird hyperbole. He is well aware of European Fords. Rehashing and refining a 2000 Focus does not the finest small vehicle make. And he has got to be aware as well of Mercury's very poor sales figures. Of course we all need to keep in mind he is not a car guy. His strengths lie elsewhere and hopefully will be enough to pull Ford out of the doldrums. It would be nice to see something besides the upgraded Taurus (which still can be easily mistaken for the unloved 500) and the Edge/MKX twins to carry some water right now. That would include something...anything for Mercury besides the aluminum-trimmed Ford clones it has.
  • jae5jae5 Posts: 1,205
    Hmmm, one moment Mercury is separate, the next it's Lincoln-Mercury, like its one division.

    While Farley is going to help on the marketing side, the ultimate help will need to come from the product itself. They need solid product that can sell itself and not only rely on marketing hype. The marketing hype might get a customer in the dealer, but it's the product that get them to stay and make the purchase...

    From the shots of the Focus I saw, I didn't know the truth could be stretched that much. From Mulally's speech and use of catch-phrases it seems Farley is starting to work his "magic". As stated, he must not know there is a European Focus / Ka and that a redesign of a seven-year old car ain't gonna cut it.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,415
    More like 10 years. That era Focus was introduced in Europe in 1998. And redesign would be good, if that's what was done. But here again, Ford is using the same body, same greenhouse, same engine, all dimensions the same. This time at least they bent the superficial surface skin a bit different here and there, but anyone looking at it will recognize it as essentially the same 4 door Focus we have seen since its introduction.

    It has always been the Lincoln-Mercury division. There had been consideration of separating them when Lincoln was briefly considered (and then rejected by Bill) for inclusion in PAG. I still think if they manage to prop up sales of Lincolns enough in time, then Mercury will be put out of its misery. If they can't remake Lincoln into a player in the top half of luxury car segment, then they will keep Mercury so dealers will still have some volume. Of course, they could also eventually tie all Lincoln dealers to a Ford dealer, and solve the problem that way.

    Ford doesn't seem to have the business sense to pull a Saturn-type comeback for Mercury. Making it a trim level of Ford products to appeal to women was just assinine. Men still buy a fair number of vehicles. Why alienate them???
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,144
    Remember how Mercury was once advertised as "The Man's Car?"

    I guess we'll soon be seeing Sables painted pink, white, and lavender, and come with a matching handbag and compact?
    Maybe they'll also have a spiffy raincoat hat and umbrella?
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