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Will Mercury soon be joining Plymouth and Oldsmobile?

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  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,940
    The Villager/Quest twins were indeed built by Ford in Ohio. The drivetrain is mostly Nissan (and mostly Japanese at that). A lot of the interior was Ford, including some lousy ALPS switches from Michigan, iirc.

    I liked the exterior styling of the Villager a little bit more, but it's a minivan, so how much more stylish could it be?

    We went with the Quest in '99 in large part because the drivetrain warranty was 5/60 instead of the Mercury's 3/36. Turns out we didn't need it but ....

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  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,142
    I remember when they killed Plymouth we actually had a stand alone Plymouth dealer where I grew up and where a lot of my family still is.

    Wow, I never knew they actually had those. Up through 1959, they usually had Plymouth-Dodge, Plymouth-DeSoto, or Plymouth-Chrysler/Imperial dealerships. There was actually one conglomerate about 5 miles up the road from me that sold Plymouth/Dodge/DeSoto/Chrysler/Imperial...that must've been rare at the time.

    In 1960, Chrysler changed their structure, combining divisions into Chrysler-Plymouth-DeSoto, and leaving Dodge on their own. That year, Dodge expanded their lineup into the Dart series, which mimicked the Plymouths model for model, and the uplevel Matador/Polara, which sort of fell into the same bracket as DeSoto and the cheaper Chrysler Windsor. DeSoto went away just a few months into the 1961 model year, leaving Chrysler-Plymouth in that division. Well, Imperial, too, but most people never accepted it as a separate brand, like Cadillac or Lincoln.

    What timeframe did that standalone Plymouth dealer finally add Chrysler? I could see a standalone Plymouth dealer working back in the 50's or 60's, but as the 70's wore on, it would've been difficult. Dodge would usually get their own version of whatever new platform came out, but Plymouth would usually only get a version of the cheaper models. For instance, there never was a Plymouth to compete with the Monte Carlo...that was left to the Chrysler Cordoba and Dodge Charger SE/Magnum and later Mirada. Plymouth also didn't get a version of the uplevel Diplomat/LeBaron, although in 1982 the Gran Fury moved to that platform. By then it was little more than a copcar/taxi, though.

    In 1979, Plymouth only had two models! The Horizon and the Volare. They put on the illusion of being a full lineup though by bringing out different names, like Roadrunner and Duster on the Volare platform, and selling Mitsubishi-sourced cars like the Sapporo and Champ. 1980 wasn't much better. They added the R-body Gran Fury, which was basically a stripped-down St. Regis/Newport, and intended to sell to the same type of market that would buy stripper Impalas and base LTD's. Basically, taxis and copcars.

    When the K-car came out, Plymouth seemed to have a future, but even here, Dodge usually got all the permutations, while at C-P they'd put Plymouth names on the cheap models and Chrysler names on the nicer ones.
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,442
    I am trying to remember the history of that place. It was indeed at one point at very least a Plymouth-DeSoto place because I remember the DeSoto wagon in the showroom when I was a kid. If I recall correctly when DeSoto closed up they went straight Plymouth. He used to advertise that he was the oldest Plymouth dealership in the country. This was technically true but there were only maybe 6 Plymouth dealers to compete with. If you counted Chrysler-Plymouth it was a different story.

    I know by 1983 they had added (or brought back) Chrysler because by dad bought a Fifth Avenue there that year. (That was one tough car to kill - probably had 200K on it when he sold it.) He must have added Chrysler in the 70s but I can't remember now.
  • savethelandsavetheland Posts: 671
    I bought my Sable from small Lincoln-Mercury dealership in Fremont, CA. I enjoyed bringing my car there for maintenance because it has that small, family owned dealership feeling (more friendly and paying more attention to customers). When my car was up to 90K miles service last year I learned that they shut it down because (unprofitable) and transferred all customers to Fremont Ford-Mazda, which is called now Fremont Ford-Lincoln-Mercury-Mazda. Well it is huge dealership and Lincolns are mixed with Fords in the showroom even though Mazda has separate everything - separate showroom, separate service advicers. So much for “American luxury”, sad.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,842
    Chrysler should do a magic trick and make Plymouth reappear. Use Plymouth as a channel to sell non-Chrysler built vehicles such as the Nissan built small car and the Chery built small car.

    Mercury can justify it's existence if Ford stops neglecting it.
    Provide Mercury with -
    Cougar, a version of the Mustang with different body and touring-performance emphasis.
    Capri, a 5 door hatch and a convertible versions of the Euro Focus when the Ford merges the Euro and US platforms with the new models. Make the body styles unique to Mercury offer sedan, coupe and wagon versions at Ford.
    Milan
    Montego (Sable)
    Mariner (small SUV)
    possibly a minivan type crossover like S-Max or C-Max.

    No new, unique platforms required.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,423
    No new platforms, but lots of startup $ needed to get that lineup fully going. Ford is dancing as fast as it can to get already existing Ford models to Ford stores here (Fiesta, new Focus, Kuga, etc.) and it will be a few more years before they are in place. To try to do the same for Mercury, which is becoming largely a useless brand, is likely beyond their capability. Sad, but corporate screwups and hubris have killed many a brand.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,940
    Mercury to be euthanized by 2012

    Not that it matters since the Mayans said we'll all be gone then too. :)

    Mayan Year of Destiny - 2012

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  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,204
    Dang! It's bad enough we lost Pluto, now Mercury's going too!
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    Chrysler tried to set up standalone Plymouth dealers in 1957-58, but the effort sputtered when the corporation hit hard times during the 1958 recession.

    One reason that Dodge received the full-size Dart in 1960 was that dealers were upset over Chrysler taking away their Plymouth franchise. Chrysler ended up having two cars - the full-size Plymouth, and the Dodge Dart - competing directly with each other in the same price class.

    Over time, this intra-corporate competition killed Plymouth. Once Chrysler began competing in the lower price classes with cars that should have gone to Plymouth - Cordoba, LeBaron - it really was all over for Plymouth.

    As for Mercury - Ford needs Mercury to keep the Lincoln-Mercury dealers in business. Once the Lincoln lineup expands, and/or the dealers are merged with Ford dealers, then Mercury will go away.

    There were two Lincoln-Mercury dealers in the Harrisburg area, both owned by the same dealer group. About three weeks ago they were closed, and the Lincoln-Mercury franchise was picked up by a Ford dealer.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,423
    I believe standalone Lincoln-Mercury dealers are pretty much history. Ford has learned from GM's mistakes in shutting down Oldsmobile. By 2012, no one will care (dealers included) when Mercury is laid to rest.
  • savethelandsavetheland Posts: 671
    And how Licoln can compete with luxury marques if it is sold alongside blue-cllor Fords? My wife hates Ford and will not accept Ford but agrees on Mercury necause it looks less proletarian.
  • basiliskstbasiliskst Posts: 55
    The product plan just doesn't include new products for Mercury beyond about 2012 from everything I've seen. I'd guess we are relatively loyal Ford buyers, with several new FoMoCo products since graduating from college. More than 2/3s have been a Mercury. Our favorites include a 2002 Mercury Cougar still going strong at 96,000 miles, but with no clear replacement available from Ford. The newest one is a sleek 2008 Mercury Milan. I'd like Mercury to live long enough to add a Mariner hybrid with the new 2.5l to the list. I flirted with Chrysler in the 1990s, but they lost their styling magic. Ford does consistently produce driver's cars. My wife and daughter have the Mercury cars. I have a Ford Focus ST which is a stealth pocket rocket and exceptionally fun to drive, at any price. I like Mercury's more elegant styling and will miss getting Lincoln service with many of our family cars. I'm not a great candidate to go up market in price, not because of income. Mainline family cars are enough with other priorities. I like bang for the buck and Mercury has provided that over several vehicles, all notably reliable and with good service.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,423
    Ford can provide what was essentially a Mercury after 2012 merely by providing a special trim package for the corresponding Ford.

    Mercury is not needed any longer, especially with Lincoln folded into Ford dealerships. Keeping Mercury under the circumstances would be stupid. If Mercury had anything unique, then it would be different, but it does not.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,400
    AP
    Ford Motor's June sales skid 27.9 percent
    Tuesday July 1, 12:28 pm ET
    By Tom Krisher and Dee-Ann Durbin, AP Auto Writers
    Ford Motor's June sales drop 27.9 percent as high gas prices, sluggish economy take toll.


    DETROIT (AP) -- Ford Motor Co. says its U.S. sales tumbled 27.9 percent in June as high gas prices and a weak economy deepened the trouble facing the company.

    The company blames the decline on high gas prices and low consumer confidence that are sending buyers to the sidelines. Ford reports steep drops in sales of pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles.

    For the first half of the year, Ford's sales were down 14 percent compared with the year-ago period.

    Ford is the first automaker to report sales data Tuesday. Industry analysts expect June to be a dismal month for the industry with sales down double digits from last June.

    They also say Toyota Motor Corp. may take the U.S. sales lead from General Motors Corp.
  • I don't know about that. They say that car sales in general... even the compacts and subcompacts are sliding because people just don't want to spend the money. I'm sure that it's the same for import brands in this country. People are holding onto their older cars longer because in some cases a repair bill is cheaper than a new car payment.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,423
    Honda sales were actually up for June, and GM saw 20% increases for cars like Cobalt, Malibu and G6. If the market could adjust more quickly to what people want to buy now (gas savers), then sales would be even better. A repair bill is cheaper than a new car, but most people would prefer the new car. Driving an SUV and paying for the gas it requires is also cheaper than buying a new gas saver, but lots of people are doing that anyway. Nothing rational about the car market. If there was, the now pretend division of Mercury would be have already been long gone.
  • xrunner2xrunner2 Posts: 3,062
    Is it time to consider changing title of this board to add Buick and Saturn? Or, should another board be started?

    WSJ front page (at top) article today says that GM may be considering dropping some brands. Buick and Saturn were mentioned. Article also said that Chevrolet and Cadillac are core brands. This probably means that they are safe.
  • Saturn could easily be lost and most of those models are already sold in other divisions. This is just my opinion but I think they should have made Oldsmobile what Saturn is today... a Euro influenced uplevel division. They were already heading in that direction with Olds since the late 90's. I'm sure its easier for the average person to fathom paying $25,000+ for an Oldsmobile which already had that uplevel brand recognition versus Saturn which up until the last 2 or 3 years was known for economy cars.

    Buick would be a big mistake to get rid of... not so much here but in China where the cars are selling like hot cakes. I guess they could just limit where the cars are sold.

    They're also talking about getting rid of Hummer and I wouldn't be surprised if GMC is considered.

    Whatever GM does, I think it wouldn't be a good idea to have simply Chevy and Cadillac since there would be a big product gap. At least one mid-range brand should be used to bridge that gap.

    What ever GM doe
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    What gap? Cadillac starts in the low 30s, and Chevy generally tops out around there (on the cars side of things, anyway). There's nothing to prevent GM from killing off weak brands here and retaining them in other markets.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,940
    Anyone know how much it cost GM to close Olds? The payoffs to the dealers must have been a good hunk of change.

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  • xrunner2xrunner2 Posts: 3,062
    What gap? Cadillac starts in the low 30s, and Chevy generally tops out around there (on the cars side of things, anyway). There's nothing to prevent GM from killing off weak brands here and retaining them in other markets.

    GM could keep Buick in China, but kill it in US. The Lucerne could be rebadged and be the high-end Chevrolet.

    Pontiac has Solstice, which is low volume, and G8 for performance. Could these be rebadged to Chevrolet?

    But, what about Pontiac/Buick/GMC dealers? Are there contractural agreements that legally require GM to provide all of these brands to the dealers? Same is true about Saturn dealers. Had each Saturn dealer spent a huge sum of money to get the franchise dealership rights?
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,940
    Just stumbled on the number, courtesy of today's WSJ:

    "GM pulled the plug on the vaunted Oldsmobile brand in 2000. GM spent $1 billion alone in 2001 to buy out Olds dealers and wind down some plants. Litigation with hundreds of Olds auto dealers drug on for years and the final tally is estimated at close to $2 billion."

    Ford got $2.3 billion when it sold Jag and Land Rover to Tata. Makes you wonder if any was left over for the coffers.

    "Ford has weighed killing its Mercury brand for years as well, but as a recently retired Ford executive once said: “That could cost close to $2 billion, or you could keep losing a couple hundred million a year. Given how your bonus is paid for this year’s performance, it’s easier to kick the can to the next person." (WSJ registration link)

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  • savethelandsavetheland Posts: 671
    Buick/GMC/Pontiac is already the one division and their products do not overlap - right in the middle between Caddy and Chevrolet. And Saturn is just another name for Opel. If GM really want to get rid of one of its divisions - it has to shut down all three of Buick/GMC/Pontiac or get rid of another three divisions Opel/Vaux/Saturn. What GM exactly achieves by doing that?

    I know GM is stupid and normally does sturpid mistakes when makes decisions. SO who knows. may be in panic mode then want just bury a grave for themselves.

    I am sure Toyota and Honda will continue to add new brands, esp Honda since its Honda Accord tries now to outcompete Toyota Camry. Toyota is already thinking about making Prius separate brand.
  • bruce6bruce6 Posts: 29
    In what was generally a dismal month, Pontiac in June outperformed GM overall and had 4 models posting sales increases: G5, G6, Vibe, and Torrent. Pontiac's not going anywhere unless the winds shift dramatically.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,204
    In a sense, Toyota already has three brands: Toyota, Lexus, and Scion. I believe they also have Daihatsu in Japan. Do they also have Hino trucks?
  • GM needs a midrange division for someone who wants something that looks and is trimmed fancier than a Chevy without paying the higher premium for a Cadillac. Cadillacs do start in the low 30's but once you add some options the price jumps quite higher. I think Pontiac would be a good candidate. The G8 is high performing, well equipped RWD car that starts well under that of the CTS. Pontiac would most likely have to modify the options/equipment of their cars a bit but it can be done. Like Bruce said... Pontiac is doing great for sales.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,204
    Trouble is, Pontiac names sound more like coordinates in "Battleship" than proper car names. I'd have called the V-8 version of the G8 a Bonneville and the V-6 version a Catalina.
  • xrunner2xrunner2 Posts: 3,062
    Trouble is, Pontiac names sound more like coordinates in "Battleship" than proper car names. I'd have called the V-8 version of the G8 a Bonneville and the V-6 version a Catalina.

    Could of had a Bonneville rather than a G8.

    There are other great Pontiac names that are waiting to be used for appropriate vehicles - GTO, TransAm, Grand Prix, LeMans.

    Pontiac could be the performance division.

    Strictly on phonetics, speaking the word Pontiac, is strong and dynamic. Speaking the word Buick is sluggish and almost sounds like a burp.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,423
    Mercury is a great name as well, but it hasn't helped this pretend division lately.

    Buick may be destined for China only, Pontiac can survive now with the switch back to cars.

    Hummer and GMC can go, and good riddance. Hummer is totally out of place now, and GMC, like Mercury, is a pretend division. Saturn can do alright selling Opels. Their sales are down mostly because GM is no longer unloading boatloads of cheap and crude cars on fleets.
  • blufz1blufz1 Posts: 2,045
    The future of Mercury looks like the future of Ford and Chrysler. Zero.
This discussion has been closed.