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Mercury Mariner

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  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    Gag me. I would have much rather seen the Continental live on as an STS competitor.

    ~alpha
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Well Cadillac will be playing with the upper echelon brands such as MB, BMW, Audi, Jag. So the times of comparing Caddy to Lincoln will be long gone. Lincoln will stay true to itself by offering american luxury, at decent american prices.

    The Town Car is only being kept alive, because the tooling and manufacturing/engineering, have been paid off long ago. Having the Crown Vic, and Grand Marquis/Marauder, based from it, has allow them to keep the engineering costs down. Think of it this way, the Town Car customers are paying hefty premiums over it's CV/GM stablemates. It doesn't deter from the fact, it's still a platform of a 20K vehicle (CV/GM).

    Why keep it alive? Actually it's customers are. Sales of upwards of 40K+ a year are more than enough to keep it alive, if the engineering costs have been paid off years ago. So this is actually one vehicle that Ford profits heavily from. Till those sales don't kit the -25K a year mark, the vehicle will certainly stay alive.

    Combined with the CV/GM, if all of these vehicles are able to sell 130-150K combined, then they are certainly feasable for Ford to keep alive considering it adds quite some profit.

    Body on Frame construction which is the platform basis, is quite easy and non-sophisticated to produce, just like Trucks. And just like trucks, they can endure a heavy beating, which is why they are used as Taxi's, Limo's, law enforcement.

    I'm perturbed at the fact that a more potent engine isn't offered on the Town Car. If the Marauder can make due with the 4.6L DOHC, the Town Car certainly can. Question is, do we really want the core customers who buy the Town Car (over 65+) to have access to such power?

    From paperwork I have read months ago, the Town Car will soldier on till 2008. Naturally, this can all fall through, and Ford might just kill it sooner than we expect. But considering it's redesign in 2003, 2008 seems like the end of the current product life cycle (4 years industry norm).

    Ford doesn't wish to alienate this customer base. Ironically, whenever sales of the Navi, LS, take a hit, their sales drop into the double digit percentages, while the Town Car keeps on track. Meaning, from year to year showings, the numbers are dwindling eloquently, but do not have abrupt changes such as the Navi and LS. Reason ? The customers who usually buy Navi and LS, for the most part are younger, and base their buying upon current market trends and influences. Whereas Town Cars customer base, possess more traditional buying habits.

    What will replace it? Look for a new sedan based off a slightly modified LS platform (DEW), to take it's place as the flagship sedan. Continental..... This sedan will be placed upon the LS, in the Lincoln line-up.

      Notice how LS prices have gone up a bit. Next LS will feature a 3.5L V6, with optional 5.0L V8 (bored out 4.6L). Therefore, this new sedan "Continental" will feature the 5.0L as standard engine, possible 5.4L upgrade.

    Under the next LS, will debut a AWD vehicle based on the JV-platform. Which is what the Ford Futura will use.

    Now, this info I'm sharing, is how things look, as of now, this very moment. Currently Ford management is looking at the Aussie Falcon, and seeing if it's a viable solution. Some "thoughts" have been shared as to where that product might go, and how that might fit into the N.A. Ford line up. I'm sure they could fit the next generation of that vehicle into the Lincoln line up.

    In other words, Look how Ford handled the Mondeo, onto the U.S. market... By bringing the Futura here (next generation Mondeo), before it hits it's home market, years from now.

    And through all this, lets hope the Town Car dies a quiet death, and probably be left to fleet/limo deals....
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I very much appreciate the "dirt" on the Town Car. I have to admit though, that I shake my head about this breed of car dying a slow death, when clearly the body on frame design, although heavy and "uncool" these days, has such desirable application to fleet, taxi & cop use, that GM develops a Police Tahoe to attempt to attract some of the Crown Vic business back. It would seem there is a place in this country for this tough design yet. I mean, Intrepids and Impalas have tried to fill the bill, but talk to any cop, and they'll tell you they'd rather have the CV when attempting an intercept on-road anyday. And the Tahoes run your gasoline bill up dramatically.

    Hey, maybe the Mariner/Escape could develop a "Police Interceptor" model, with ugly wheels? Would probably do as well as a Taurus.......
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    I continiously read numerous publications harping the police departments using FWD Intrepids and Impalas. They treat those stories, just like numerous other publications treat VW's. They report how lovely and great the vehicle is at the beginning, yet none stick around long enough to see how unreliable it is, nor wish to admit it.

    Common sense, and real world experience dictate that FWD isn't very viable for Police/Taxi use. The extreme abuse these vehicles go thru, is not something that FWD vehicles can endure. And after minor accidents, Body on Frame, and RWD are much easier, and cost efficient to replace, over the complexity of FWD vehicles. Drivability wise, RWD is better suited to being able to chase, and run other cars off the road when needed.

    GM's current mission of wanting to build a police package Tahoe, goes to show that their Impala isn't well suited, or isn't really convincing the police depts, that it can do the work. Hence, the Police version Tahoe. My thoughts...No matter how much they lower the suspension, it's still an SUV and flipping over will be more common, as well as visits to the gas pump.

    Ford still controls over 80% of the Police fleet market. Even if there's controversy after the gas tanks on the CV/GM, nothing yet has been proved to change most consumer's/fleet buyers. I would personally love to see how an Accord/Camry or any vehicle for that matter, take a 70MPH crush to the rear of it by an SUV, as it's parked on the side of the highway, and not catch on fire.

    Ford's "Panther cars" will eventually go onto Cop, Taxi, Fleet duty, while another vehicle will take over it's flagship sedan positioning.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Funny, ANT, I said the same thing about the Pinto in 1976 when they were indicted for exploding when an Impala smacked them at 70mph...... I wonder how safe a car has to be....when they're that small, it's pretty hard to survive any crash. Those darn memos get you every time....

    One of our Suburban police departments has just put a whole fleet of Tahoes into service, replacing their Crown Vics. Right when gasoline hit the all time high price. I'd hate to be working their budget over right about now.

    Can ya tell me anything about the current "thrifting" attitude at Ford ANT? I mean, I drove my first Taurus in 86, and was just amazed at how awesome the car was. It was truly revolutionary, and I thought was a design that couldn't be improved upon at the time. IMO, I was right, because they haven't. I rented one a few months ago, and was sorely disappointed to see drum brakes on the rear, cleap looking upholstery and door panels, a boring dash and non-descript trim and a lot of other little changes that I think detracted from a once world class design and cheapen the car. I fully understand the corporate need for margins and profits, and I know they all do this, but some of us notice it, and are turned off by it. Another such example would be the keypad on the door. In 96, they took it off the Cougar. We had a 94 with it, and my wife refused to trade and lose the keypad, so we bought her old Cougar out of the lease. All because somebody thought they could lose the $5 per car keypad. They did the same in 98 with the new Town Car. I see they have repented for that sin.......

    Conversely, I hear that around 95, Lincoln had the mentality of making each car run 10 years or 150,000 miles. I think it may have worked, because my friend's 96 T/C ran 4 years without so much as needing a new battery! Unheard of in this part of the country.

    So, I'm wondering what's the attitude out there in blue oval land today? Do you know?
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Unfortunatly it's bean counters. Their thinking is "Hmmmm, if we save $2 on this part on all 400K+ units it sells, it equals to $800K !!" Yet, you cut $1 here, $2 there, $3, on thousands of parts in a car, you will notice the difference. I'm sorry to say that in upper "management", it's the traditional thinking that has allowed it to get to the point that it has.

    So if we look at the japanese competition, because of currency exchange rates, they are able to offer a better product for "almost" the same amount of money. The "almost" part which I'm clarifying is, Ford has noticed that people are willing to pay JUST a bit more for reliability and dependability.

    Not to mention, Ford needs to cover their behinds pertaining to pention costs. NOT as bad as GM's, but it's pretty high overall. Not something that the japanese manufacture's need to contend with as much, being they are much newer in relation.

    In comes, change of philosophy. What I call "Common sense". Where to improve the vehicle where it counts, where to cut where no one looks.

    Simple things as a glove box opening mechanism that uses less parts. Saves a few cents here and there. That Taurus with the 3rd side light...? (Sable has only 2 side glass panels) That can be killed off and save some money there. Crown Vic addressed this issue, when previously it had 3 side glass panels. New insulation material that is more economical, and more effective.

    Ford's Six Sigma is the in house team, that goes over each vehicle to solve, refine, better expedite, these issues.

    Where to recover costs? Consumers are willing to pay a bit more for more detailed interiors, surveys have shown. Which is why the new F-150 has 5 difference "ambiance" interiors. And those who are willing to pay a bit more for finer details, will have choices as to what is available to suit their taste.

    Option packages can be altered to allow certain options, to be grouped together. Therefore eliminating building complexity, and allow better availability, therefore reducing costs.

    Other areas that are being improved, and allow for better effeciency are Ford's factories. The majority of their factories are being upgraded in ways that will allow them to build vehicles, in less time, less cost. One example is coupling the supplier's parts production facilities, along with Ford's factories. Allowing for inventories of parts to be controlled more effectively, therefore reducing costs.

    By the end of the decade, Ford's methods of assembling a vehicle with the help of parts suppliers on-site, and out sourcing certain interior components, will allow them to save billions and will be an industry standard. BUT that initial investment needs to be made, and it's being made NOW which is why Ford is having the current economic issues.

    Change needs to take place at some point, and this is the moment it's taking place in. Worldwide, factories are being upgraded and new methods of building vehicles which will enhance productivity are being initialized. Keeping family of engines that can be used world-wide is another factor that allows them to save money. As well as sharing platforms, and using them effectivly when possible.

    The Jac Nasser era allows for Ford to reach high profits, at the unfortunate cost of quality. Lack of new product, development, and overall refining has placed Ford in the situation it is in now. Who is to blame? All those on the board that did NOT question his authority, or were afraid to challenge him.

     Makes you wonder what kind of experience these board members have. Mostly they are investors with no soul or passion for cars, and their lack of common sense has placed Ford where it is now. There's a few "heads" that I'm hoping will be terminated, or dismissed that are part of the problem. I won't mention names....

    Now there's major concentration on product, quality, reliability.

    Products quite many....F-150, Mustang, 500, Montego, Freestyle, Mariner, Futura, Continental, Etc.

    Quality: Interior's will be addressed. J.Mays has concentrated on the quality of interiors, and they will be much more evident on the new Ford sedans we will see. Already we see some improvements with the Expy/Navi/Avi/FStar/Monterey.

    Reliability: Investments are being made pertaining to transmissions and engines. But it's always the smaller parts, which need addressing. Working along with suppliers, is allowing them to refine the quality of the parts. And spending a few cents here and there for better parts has helped.

    So I would say the days of thriftiness has stopped. Or more so, they are being addressed in other ways, by maximizing factories efficiency, tailoring vehicles to a specific consumers needs. Previously, it was MUCH easier to remove a cupholder, or some interior trim, or some option to cut costs. Now they are taking the time to study the above mention and address it in a common sense manner.

    Now as to personal experience, I can't really say that I've had reliability problems with any Ford's. Granted, I've only been driving for the past 12 years, and have had 7 cars, and I'm NOT the gentlest driver out there considering the situation. But I just take into account the cars I see on the road, from decades past.

    One example is a cousins '86 Cougar 5.0L 228K miles, and his A/C compressor has NEVER been changed. And we are talking in Florida HEAT ! He's only gone thru 2 starters and 2 alternators. The only reason he has kept the vehicle this long is because he says there's really no point for him to buy a new one.

    Maybe this is the reason manufacturer's do not wish to over engineer their vehicles, afraid the customer won't return.

    Sidenote: Ford has the highest return buyers of any carmaker.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    ANT, you have been a very valuable source of info to me, and I hate to keep monopolizing your time, so if you get tired of my endless questions, tell me or feel free to ignore. I'm a hopeless car guy, and have experienced the most satisfaction in Ford products over the years, and I'm a lot older than you evidently are, so I've seen lotsa different cars and makes. There are other cars I like, but as a line of cars, I seem to have had better experience with Fords.

    Hopefully, you're not a designer as I don't want to offend you-but I was at my dealership recently and noticed the LS has been "touched up" a bit. Most noticable was the shrinking taillights. Is that the best they can do for that car? I like the overall styling and theme for the car, and have rented lots of them. My main beef is the lack of interior room to stow things, and the overall size of the car. Too small for my needs and likes. I was delighted to see a keypad on the door, finally, but I was surprised to see pretty much the same interior design as before, with some of the satin-nickel added in. I've been hoping for more of a Mark VIII style interior to come about for that car. Any info there? The LS has quite the following on Edmunds, I notice....

    Thanks again for your information and patience.
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Oh it's ok, I don't mind answering questions, thats the only way we all learn things.

    I also have an issue with the LS' update. I myself have a 2000 LS V8, and was not very much satisfied with this "improvement". Over a year ago I was aware the LS would change just slightly. Address the issues most customers complained about, while increasing power just a bit. And I'm sort of in the market for a new vehicle, unfortuantly Ford doesn't offer a 2Dr. RWD coupe. I settled for the LS in 2000, after returning my Mark8. I'm not fond of this 4dr senario....

    The designer for the LS didnt' want to complicate matters much. He comes from the european thinking of "Lets tweak here and there"...Such as BMW, VW, MB, etc. While it might work with those brands, americans in general are used to seeing quite a bit more of a change in the midway product cycle (2-3 years after introduction).

    Giving the Lincoln brand, a familiar face was paramount. Ironically, New Navi, New Avi, New TC, and refreshed LS all came to the party at the same time. The Avi has the twinned look of the Navi because it's been so successful, and customers have accepted it quite well. Which is why the TC has received the same grill look, and now all vehicles have a common brand look.

    As for the LS, the mild styling is nothing more than some chrome moved, here and there. Rear tail-lights addressed, front grill retouched. The designer didn't want to alientate current Lincoln buyers by altering the vehicle too much. So considering the vehicle improved and refined, but not redone in any sense.

    The interior received improved materials, which I have certainly noticed. A bit more storage space (still could use more). NVH issues have been addressed. A few more gadgets added such as Navi system and cooled seats.

    Performance wise, the engine was improved because of Lincolns plan of bringing the vehicles a bit up the scale. And because of future plans to introduce a more powerful V-6. A V-8 making 252HP isn't anything monumental therefore Lincoln addressed the issue with Variable Cam Timing (VCT). Tranimission reprogrammed, and suspension/steering re-tuned.

    Overall it's definatly an improved packages, I just personally would have improved it a bit more. But considering Ford was introducing new/refreshed vehicles all at the same time, there's only so much they wanted to concentrate on.

    What does this mean for me? I have a 3 year old LS, that looks JUST as new as the current ones. ;) Amazingly, this (in some weird way) builds customer satisfaction, loyalty and resale value (studies have shown). So they wanted to play it safe. I believe it was a bit TOO safe. Which is why I'll hold off till something else comes around.

    As for a 2dr coupe. Ford has been teasing us with the Mark9 concept, and other coupes. Unfortunatly, coupe sales for the most part are falling for every automaker. The only coupes in the market that do quite well are the Mustang (sales leader) because some go to fleet, and most others go to customers many which are repeat buyers. The Chrysler Sebring which the majority go to fleet. 3rd place the Eclipse if I remember correctly.

    So for Ford to offer a Lincoln coupe, it would have to be based on an exsisting platform, one that can handle the needs of 2dr. My idea, would have been using the T-bird, and stretch it, Lincolnize it, hard-top it. Because of current issues of the Tbird being retired (ONLY because MY just stated idea will be used next time around for the Tbird). We'll have to wait awhile.

    Two options are being studied. There's a lighter version of the DEW platform (I call it Dew-Lite) pretty much what the next Mustang will ride on. That would be the best case senario, and pretty much only hope for Lincoln to receive a coupe.

    The other is the possibility of it based on a future entry level vehicle for Lincoln, that will use AWD and be based on the Futura/Mazda6 platform (named JV platform). That platform is flexible enough to allow for engineering of a 2dr. version as well.

    But both are still being analyzed. The styling studies you have seen such as the Mark9 concept, are just to gauge consumer reaction towards that specific type of styling.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    A lot of people didn't like that car, didn't think Ford did a good job on it, including my dealer, may he rest in peace. But I thought it was just amazing. The thing would downshift from OD to 1st in one shift and just scream! The interior was roomy, yet the car was very low, and the design was just great! It was so much more of a performance car than the Eldorado ever was. Too bad big coupes are a tough sell now. You heard it first here though, Mark VIII's are going to become a very valuable collectors car in the future......
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Honda just announced it would stop building the Acura CL this year. Considering the Accord Coupe EX can give almost as equal performance, there was little need for the CL anyhow.

    Nissan has admitted that it's hard for them to keep the Infiniti G35 Coupe, so they are hoping it sells at a decent rate. Aside from those, BMW and MB, are the other few that actually have a viable plan for coupes. Volvo has plans for a coupe, based off the new S40 platform (Next generation Focus platform), which is why it's able to make it a viable product. And VW has toyed with the idea of offering a coupe Audi A4, not sure if that is confirmed yet.

    Just like trends, I'm sure coupes will return at some point in our future. Right now the SUV is the major trend setter, soon will be Cross-overs. IN my opinion, I think they'll be a point that some people will get tired of 4doors/Suv's/Crossovers, that they'll want to get back to basics.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    I realize in your last post you spoke mainly of upscale coupes, but I'm curious- does Ford have anything in the pipeline to compete with Solara/Accord? Your guess as to the engines for this vehicle?

    I really hope that we see a comparison test of the 04 Solara SE Sport V6 vs. Accord EX V6 (automatics) this fall. It would be interesting to see whether the Accords HP wins out over the Solara's torque, both objectively and subjectively. Perhaps with the SUV craze on the decline, we will see more sales of mid-priced sports/touring coupes like the aforementioned (or at least I'd hope so).

    I think Ford and Nissan should offer mid priced coupes.

    ~alpha
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    I say probably the Accord EX will out accelerate the Solara. Mainly because the axle ratio on the Accord is much taller, while I know the Solara will keep it a bit lower.

    As of right now, Ford doesn't have any plans AT ALL for any sedan based coupe. This might cause "friction" with the Mustang sales. I myself would love to see a Futura "coupe", but that's not in their business case as of yet. Although the Futura's platform (JV) IS flexible enough for coupe conversation.

    Both the Accord Coupe an Solara do not make much money for their automakers. The automakers mainly use them to add the number of sales onto their sedan totals, to help them on their (#1 sales) nameplates.

    I believe, considering how the market is doing at that time, such a decision will be at a later date. So far from what I see, don't expect it anytime before 2006.
  • cayennered1cayennered1 Posts: 193
    Anyone actually thought that they might want to discuss this vehicle since it allegedly is the subject of this thread.

    I hate to tear everyone way from V6 engines and future sport coupes, but as someone who actually has seen the Mariner at the New York show I think it is a very attractive alternative to the Escape. It took me a while to realize it was an Escape clone as its styling is much more attractive and creates quite a bit of a different look. Likewise, the two-tone leather interior.

    At least it's not a gigantic road devouring gas hog. I think it could be competition for the upcoming Chevy Equinox which is a very attractive looking small SUV. I also like the FWD availability as it provides good MPG and reasonable traction for those like myself who have no great need for AWD.
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Opps, we went off topic. But if you scroll back you will find originally Mariner conversations.

    The Equinox you mention will pretty much be built on the Theta platform (If I remember correctly), which is the same as the Saturn VUE. Although, the Saturn will receive thru a special deal thru GM, Honda engines. A 3.5L DOHC V-6. First it'll debute on the "red line" edition VUE's, then be phased in completely year after.

    The Equinox will have a 3.5L V6, but I believe it's an OHV version of their currenty 3.4L V6. I'm not into OHV engines, but GM is one of the few that actually does.

    The new 2.3L I-4 the Mariner wil sport is the same as the Mazda6's I-4, and Rangers. It's a very gutsy I-4 (Over the current 2.0L Zetec which I find gutless) Thats mainly the reason it's only available in manual form. Now the 2.3L will be able to be mated with an automatic tranny. Look for 150-160HP, (my personal opinion guess is 155HP) that yet hasn't be finalized.

    What I like about the Mariner is that it addresses the concerns many have/had of the Escape. NVH will be addressed, interior appointments improved, just overall refinement.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    "Anyone actually thought that they might want to discuss this vehicle since it allegedly is the subject of this thread."

    Doesnt seem to look like it.

    I wonder if Ford is reading this thread? I doubt they'd be happy with the following:
    "I think it is a very attractive alternative to the Escape."
    Is the Escape's market share that which Mercury is after?

    ~alpha
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Not at all, Escape consumers are very different from Mercury consumers. If anything it allows them to target 2 different consumers, with one vehicle. For those who dislike the Escape for one reason, or another, will have the Mariner, or Tribute to choose from. Therefore having MORE possibility that ANY of the above is bought, over having them leave the whole brand entirely.

    It's ok to steal sales within a brand, or brands within a company. It will allow you to steal market share (which is MUCH more important) from your competition.

    Just how Chrysler has a majority share of the minivan market, because they have different brands, versions available to suit different peoples tastes and such.
  • cayennered1cayennered1 Posts: 193
    The point of my finding the Mariner an attractive alternative to the Escape is that I would never consider the Escape because it simply doesn't have the interior and exterior appeal that I'm looking for.

    By contrast, I found the Mariner to look like a very upscale vehicle with a totally different image than that of the Escape.
    It is something I would consider. So ANT is right. It can take market share from the competition even if it technically competes with Ford's own models.
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    The is another product that I see as a "niche" vehicle, one in which it appeals to a certain customer, based on looks or styling. The Escape is a mass pleaser. It'll be sold in every Ford dealership which can be found at practically every small town you can think of.

    Lincoln/Mercury dealer's are not as common, and there's much less of them... As is Mazda (Tribute). Therefore offering a product that is limited to a certain customer, is one of the ways it's considered a "niche vehicle".

    By Mercury making Ford clones, it allows to fill another major niche. This Niche is the "Oh I like Ford's, but they are too common, I was something a bit different" niche.

    And that's the trend we'll see. Many vehicles that will probably average under 100K sales. But to make it a viable business plan, it MUST be spawned from something... IN this case, the Escape. So even if the Mariner sells 25K, it'll still be profitable.

    One major issue with auto journalists today, is it does NOT need to sell 100K to be considered a hit. And considering they expect it from Ford, they are willing to write it's obituary before the vehicle even has a full year of sales. (A 'la Aviator).
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    the Blackwood and it was pretty much on target. The auto journalists also noted that a 23K Accord V6 would hand the Maurauder its lunch, and I don't see that car doing very well, even for a "niche" vehicle or whatever you'd like to call it.

    The Aviator has an outstanding interior and a strong engine. Period. No stability system at 50K? Riiight. Sure it will make some decent cash for Ford, but it doesnt further the manufacturers image of producing distinctly average vehicles. Neither will the Mariner.

    ~alpha
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    if the lame well to dos would not have to drive a gas guzzling, fat, overweight tippy vehicle (plus learn how to drive), maybe a stability control system would not be needed.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,897
    regfootball, wrong topic for that line of conversation! I Don't Like SUVs, etc., is custom-made for that.

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  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Stability Control System will be as a late option on the Aviator, wait a few months.

    Blackwood was the answer to a question no one really asked. A truck with an unusable pick-up bed. Then what's the point?

    The Marauder project is to test a few things out (which we will see in the future). It's a niche product and sales are as they expected, and they are making money off of it.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    for what it's worth, I followed the Blackwood closely with my dealer - even went to the "private showing" of the two concept models they toured around the country to guage interest. My wife thought I should buy one, and I might have. But it was the worst execution I ever saw! Here you had this really different truck, albeit somewhat useless with only 2WD available and a useless bed as ANT says, but it was a real head turner. On that basis alone, some of us morons would buy one and hope it became valuable someday. My dealer had orders for about 100 of them after that show. Then like A YEAR later, they finally make a few of them, well by then, the orders had cancelled down to 20 as people bought other trucks, got tired of waiting, had second thoughts, etc. When the dealership got their first shipment and started delivery, about half of those who had hung in there waiting would go in for deliver, notice the truck was 2WD, and say, "Oh, that won't work for me", and switch to an Navigator, or just walk. In the end, my dealership was stuck with 10 of those boat anchors on the lot, and had to discount them $9,000 to move them off. Well, that pissed off everybody who had paid above sticker to get one initially, big time!

    So, I don't know if it was so much the product. Clearly, it was never intended for mass appeal. But if they had got them out there when they said they would, add 4WD and a tan interior, I think they may be around today. But, what do I know?
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Sometimes it's risky to buy such "niche vehicles" at first. Many from the "OH I have to be the first in my block to own one" crowd usually get burned. At first they pay over sticker, for the exclusivity (Same that occured with the Tbird), just to have the vehicle suffer a sales death, then have it massivly discounted.

    From the beginning, I knew the vehicle would fail. Mainly because of it's "Only black" exterior, next you had limited versatility on it's pick up bed. If someone wants a "trunk" that large, they would buy a Town Car, or Navi. Then the exterior wood-look stickers, surely didn't appeal to me. And lack of 4wd. They stripped the vehicle of what a truck should be... Versatile !

    I would think, if they would have gone with just doing a 4dr version, of the F-150 (Supercrew), have 4WD as an option, and throw in some toys not available on the F-150, they would have done much better. For those who went ga-ga over the pcik-up bed set up, should make that an optional item.

    At least not much was lost (just face) from this mistake. Considering the vehicle is really an F-150 with a Navi grill, the lose on investment wasn't much.

    Now in regards to the Mariner, It surely won't be THAT strict of a niche vehicle. The Blackwood focused too narrowly on a specific customer, one which didn't answer the call. Whereas the Mariner will feed a much broader niche.... the "I want a Ford, but tired of the same look" niche...
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    ANT, you state:
    "The Marauder project is to test a few things out (which we will see in the future). It's a niche product and sales are as they expected, and they are making money off of it."

    However, on page 34 of the May 2003 issue of Car and Driver:

    "Mercury estimated it would sell 12,000 to 18,000 Marauders in 2002. Instead, this muscle car turned out to be anemic- just 2910 of them were sold, and that was with a $3000 cash back deal. Do you think people found out a V6 Accord is quicker?"

    What? Is Car and Driver just flat out lying? If they arent, how is Ford making money selling 2910 examples during the Marauders 6 month sales period in 2002?

    Since this is a Mariner board:
    Car and Driver, p 28, July 2003

    "All right, we're kind of stretching on this one, but then, so is Mercury. The Mariner is just a gussied up Ford Escape that won't go on sale until Fall 2004 as a 2005 model. What exactly is taking Mercury so long to get it out is a mystery. We include it in this coverage because it looks pretty good for a small ute all dressed up in Mountaineer-like garb. The interior, with sassy satin aluminum trim, actually kind of upscale- for a Ford escape."

    ~alpha
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    The Marauder sales are "just as expected". I meant to say "As I expected", I.... They... My mistake.

    The consumer who wants a Marauder, really WANTS a Marauder. They will not cross shop and buy an Accord. Granted, if the person just wanted simple "speed", they would buy a Mustang, or WRX, etc. Numerous other cars can be had, at more affordable prices if speed were the case. My realistic sales numbers for this vehicle is pegged at 8000. A manufacturer can state they which to sell 100,000, but manufacturer's are becoming very optimistic. GM being one of the biggest optimistics.

    The Marauder is about RWD, V8, muscle sedan power on body on frame construction. Trying to hark back to a past where the Impala once played. Unfortunatly it's not executed as I wish it were. There's numerous things I dislike about the vehicle, and the overall results. Personally, I believe Ford should use the 4.6L DOHC engine, and place it in the Town Car and give that car some dignity for the price it's commanding. Hmmm maybe this is what the Marauder is testing.....

    Any which way, even if sales are bad, the vehicle makes money. Just think that engine used to be used on the Mustang Cobra, Continental, Mark8. Those factories need to be kept up and running, so using the engine on a Grand Marquis, giving bigger wheels, and some part upgrades, will not break the bank.

    The Mariner is taking "long" (depends how we view it) because originally the car should NOT have been mentioned as early as it did. But to keep the auto-journalists happy, and all these wallstreet analysts from downgrading Ford stock, Ford was pressured into releasing such information, earlier than expected. To prove to people, that there's a transformation going on.

    As for the Mariner project, the vehicle will use a 2.3L I-4, which is currently in use in the Mazda6i and Ford Ranger. That engine is already being phased into the Focus Zx3 Power Premium coupe for Mass., CA. and NY. Making 148HP and 152 TQ. That engine will be phased in to most of the Focus models next year (2004). But retooling the factories to build this engine, will take time.

    You can't stop 2-4 engine factories all at the same time, to retool for one engine configuration. So being the Focus will receive that engine first, the Mariner will need to wait it's turn. Which is why we must wait "that long" for the Mariner. The Escape will receive the 2.3L I-4, before the Mariner as well.

    Why do the Focus and Escape get special treatment? They are heavy seller's, they need the attention or they get rediculed by auto journalists. Why can the Mariner wait? Because it's a new product for Mercury, how can they complain, whine, over something that's not sitting in their dealership yet.

    Remember, you and I know what's going on in the marketplace because we are educated about these topics. To regular Tom,Dick and Harry, they might have no idea and will just buy what they see at the dealership AT that time, without any knowledge of what's to come in the future. The only downside is knowing, waiting, and anticipating.

    Do you know for how long I've been waiting for the 500/Montego project to finally debut. Do you understand how I've had to wait 4 DAMNED years to see it's final results? Let alone, waiting to see people's reaction towards that project. Talk about irony !! After the 500/Montego debut, then the Futura will be the next one I'll be anticipating for. And it has only just begun...
  • daytona3daytona3 Posts: 24
    From the pictures that I saw, the Mariner looks like a great vehicle. I like the look of the Escape, but I think the Mariner takes it up a notch. It has a more sophisticated look on the outside, but has an absolutely beautiful interior. I hope it makes to the market pretty much as is.

    I thought I would never be looking at a Mercury, but the upcoming models look sharp. Now, if only Ford could brand it as a sophisticated performance brand - with power and suspensions that a Ford may not get. Ford better not let this Mercury revival go down the drain in a few years. I think there could be some untapped potential in Mercury that a Ford, Lincoln, or even Mazda just won't have.
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    From what you saw, yes that's what you will be getting. As for performance.... The most you'll see is them offering engines standard, that would be optional on the Ford counterparts. Hence the Monterey's 4.2L stand alone engine, while the Freestar will have a 3.9L as standard.
  • heyjewelheyjewel Posts: 1,046
    Looked at the Mariner pix, read a little bit about it. Some thoughts on it and Mercury from a guy whose first 2 cars were Mercs in the '60s: a 64 Monterey conv and a 67 comet cyclone convt and who recently was forced to sell his beloved old 65 Park Lane convt:

    1) I wish somebody at Ford would SERIOUSLY make over the Mercury brand into something special. Warmed-over Fords just ain't gonna make it.
    2) If you're just gonna warm over the Fords, why bother unless you're going to give them something unique/distinctive to hang their hats on.
    3) Badge engineering at it's worst I think is the Taurus/Sable combo and the Contour/Mystique.
    4) Platform sharing at it's best: Lincoln LS and Jaguar S-Type. Honda Passport and Acura MDX. This is the kind of thing that needs to be done. Tweaking the grille and tailights to me is a total waste of time and effort.
    5) The Mountaineer? Closer to badge engineering than platform sharing but a start.
    6) Mariner? I've just seen the pix, but it looks like a better differentiation - looks upscale where the Escape looks cheap. A reasonable job, but that's just based on 3 pix.
    7) Marauder? Someone said Accord V6 is faster? In what respect? MM does 0-60 in under 6.5 doesn't it? Accord with that #? I doubt it. Please point me to pages showing this info if you've got it. MM was a great idea. Just what I've been saying - something to distinguish Mercury from Ford. Yet the execution left much to be desired. Using the Crown Vic rear end? Bad. Using 'after-market' guages - Mickey Mouse. 4.6L? Well, I had a Mark8 with the 270hp version of this V8 and the thing was a rocketship. Great/smooth engine. Lack of low-end torque a problem? Yeah, I guess, but wouldn't be that big a deal for me. Black only? Big problem. That went out with the Model T I thought. I saw a blue MM yesterday at dealer. Had a lt grey interior. It looked really sweet.
    8) Mercury brand overall? Who the h decided in the 80s with the intro of the Sable that Mercury was a car for women??? I noticed right away back then that they were marketing it to women, and thus assuredly alienating some men. This is the brand that James Dean drove? That had the Marauder, the Cyclone, the Eliminator ... in the 60's/70's??? Why market-out 1/2 the population? And they're STILL doing it today. Witness comments above in this topic about Mountaineer being designed so your dress wont get caught? Puh-lease. And the Mtneer does NOT offer a 4WD system, only the AWD, which is pretty much useless for anything other than driving in the rain. WHY? Why can I get a 4WD Explorer, but only an AWD Mountaineer? It makes me wonder if Merc can reinvent itself this way. Badge engineering? Marketing to women? And, a woman in charge of the division? (Please don't call me any names, I just don't see Merc regaining a lot of it's former machoness while being shepherded by a female, that's all.)

    I could go on, but I better stop.

    BTW, ANT14, thanks for a lot of great, and accurate from what I know from other sources, information.
  • heyjewelheyjewel Posts: 1,046
    I forgot to rant about the new 'Monterey'.

    Putting that name on a mini-van is blasphemy! They shoullda thunk up something new, or used the relatively unknown, forgettable 'Montego' name for the van and name the car the Monterey.
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