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Will Mercury soon be joining Plymouth and Oldsmobile?

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  • jkr2106jkr2106 Posts: 231
    I never said they need advertising, I suggested that there is potential for the concept of a mid-lux brand slotting between Ford and Lincoln. So, even if Ford can't afford a full lineup for Mercury now, that doesn't mean they shouldn't anticipate that for the future and NOT kill it off.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,422
    We are in 100% agreement. I don't want to see Mercury go, but I cannot support carrying on in the sorry state it is now. Lots of creative ways to use a third division (think Mini, Smart, Scion, even Audi). But there is no one who appears to advocate for Mercury who has any real influence. Instead we get lies (new products are coming) and excuses (Ford and then Lincoln are getting all the attention). With that sort of corporate culture, it should be humanely put down.
  • You are right on the spot - I prefer Target to Wallmart any day. But I buy some stuff in Walmart too, like Motorcraft oil and filter for my cars.

    Ford has blue collar image because that is how it was positioned in the past - as an entry level product. Mercury supposed to attract those who wanted more prestige. I also always felt respect to Oldsmobile because I knew that Olds owner is not just random person from street.

    I actually like Milan and would buy one if it had better and more convinient interior. I leave outdated V6 out of equation, it is another issue. From what I saw at SF autoshow - it is more comfortable to be inside Chevy Malibu - the seating position, center stack, nice three spoke steering wheel, attention to details; even center and door armrests are more conviniently located. Malibu narrower but still somehow feels more spacious from drivers seat. And also Malibu has tighter panel gaps inside and outside than Fusion/Malibu - it just looks to be built as a more upscale car than Milan.
  • Local newspaper quoted the local Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep dealer as saying he had been told by Chrysler that they are going to eliminate all vehicles duplicated between the different makes and then eliminate 1/3 of dealers by having one store per area for all three makes.
    Ford needs to either eliminate the Mercury brand or have one store selling Ford, Mercury and Lincoln with the Mercury cars really being different from the Fords and Lincolns.
    FYI Mercury was created in 1938 to compete with Olsdmobile/Pontiac and DeSoto/Dodge level cars.
    The local Ford-Mercury dealership was sold and Ford Corp owns 51% and they no longer sell Mercurys. Never did sell Lincolns.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,050
    FYI Mercury was created in 1938 to compete with Olsdmobile/Pontiac and DeSoto/Dodge level cars.

    That's a pretty telling statement about that market of car. DeSoto and Olds are gone, Pontiac is a mere shell of itself, and the main reason Dodge survived was by selling mainly trucks and cheaper cars that, back in the day, would have been branded as Plymouths instead.
  • jkr2106jkr2106 Posts: 231
    Instead we get lies (new products are coming) and excuses (Ford and then Lincoln are getting all the attention).

    I just don't understand why Ford (and Chrysler and GM) think nobody's caught on to their antics. They starve brands of product (Mercury, Plymouth, Oldsmobile) for YEARS and then all of a sudden give it good product (Prowler, Aurora) and then when consumers don't immediately change their perception, mgmt says "Oh well, we gave it our best shot," and shutters the brand.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,196
    Mercury used to conjure up all kinds of positive images. Heck, 1949-51 Mercs were the basis for customs and often referred to as "the James Dean car." Heck, even "The Mod Squad" rode around in a 1951 Mercury woodie. We had powerful Marauders and hot Cyclones. We had Mercories tearing up the tracks at Daytona and Talledega. We had elegant cars styled "in the Continental Tradition." Mercury was "The Man's Car!" We had the sleek "Sign of the Cat!" We had Steve McGarrett's cool 1968 Park Lane.

    What have we got now? A bunch of Ford clones with Buick-esque grilles and a positively ancient Grand Marquis. Mercury doesn't stand for much these days and the only real attraction at the Mercury exhibit at the Philly Auto show was the appearance of the "Mercury girl" from the television ads.
  • xhe518xhe518 Posts: 107
    Let's say the current Fusion/Milan/MKZ factory is making 150,000 Fusions, 40,000 Milans, and 30,000 MKZs (Just a wild guess, I have no idea of the exact numbers)

    If Ford shuts down Mercury, where do those 40,000 cars go? Do they expect to sell 40,000 more Fusions and MKZs to make up the difference?

    Same Taurus/Sable/MKS and Escape/Mariner …. It seems like Fords overall sales would drop.

    Along the same lines, if a Lincoln/Mercury dealer sells 100 cars a month, 50 Mercurys and 50 Lincolns, and Ford drops Mercury, where do those 50 sales go? Maybe those people would still buy a Ford product, but that doesn't help the Lincoln/Mercury dealer.

    On the other hand, I can’t see Mercury surviving much longer as such a blatantly badge engineered lineup. They don’t have any unique sheetmetal – just grilles and taillights… As mentioned above in this thread, GM does a better job of differentiating 'platforms" like the Epsilon (Malibu, Saab 9-3, Saturn Aura). So does Honda/Acura or Toyota/Lexus or Nissan/Infinity
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,050
    If Ford shuts down Mercury, where do those 40,000 cars go? Do they expect to sell 40,000 more Fusions and MKZs to make up the difference?

    That's a good point. Ford would definitely lose some sales if they lost the Mercury version. The question is, would the savings in shuttering Mercury offset those lost sales?

    When Plymouth was dropped, the Dodge Stratus and Chrysler Sebring did not pick up the void left by the departure of the Plymouth Breeze. Nor did the Dodge Neon suddenly see sales shoot up, with the identical Plymouth Neon out of the picture. And the Voyager, badged as a Chrysler, did not sell as well as it had when it was a Plymouth.

    Similarly, when Oldsmobile folded, Olds buyers didn't flock to Buick, Pontiac, or Chevy. IIRC, the car an Olds was most often traded in for was a Hyundai, of all things!
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,915
    I guess the other side of the argument is how much does it cost to make and market cars for Mercury? If Mercury is making money then those lost sales hurt and shutting down Mercury may result in more costs then keeping it.

    I think we all agree that Mercury needs a new direction. The big question is whether or not Ford has the cash to invest in Mercury and distinguish it. I don't think there is a more important vehicle then the new F150. Ford desperately needs the F150 to sell above 800k units again (Of course with $3 gas, I don't see it happening.). Without an increase in sales in their cash cow, I think dropping Mercury is easier.

    I think when they decided to hold onto Volvo that sealed Mercury's fate.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,422
    The plan now is to sell Volvo.
  • xhe518xhe518 Posts: 107
    I guess the other side of the argument is how much does it cost to make and market cars for Mercury? If Mercury is making money then those lost sales hurt and shutting down Mercury may result in more costs then keeping it.

    The way they are doing it now, I don't see where it's really costing them much - if you look at a Fusion vs. a Milan, they probably share 95% of the same parts and are built on the same assembly line... Same with the rest of the Mercury lineup.

    Like you said, it's sort of a 'catch-22' situation for Ford. They probably don't have the money to truly revitalize Mercury and give them some unique sheetmetal, so they are forced to sort of let Mercury wither on the vine.... But it seems to me if they let Mercury go, they are not going to make up those lost sales on increased Ford sales....
  • xhe518xhe518 Posts: 107
    The plan now is to sell Volvo.

    That seems like a big mistake to me....A short-term infusion of cash, but a long-term, strategic mistake.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,422
    Well...do ya think Ford would be in so much trouble and so down on market share if people at the helm weren't making mistakes willy nilly? This may be a mistake as well, or maybe it is a further move to try to staunch the bleeding in order to merely stay alive. At least Volvo may be marketable, and bottom line it has not been able to add to Ford's bottom line. Ford goofed bigtime. Remember how recently they bought Land Rover? LR was able to turn a small profit this past year, but not nearly enough to justify all the Ford dollars that could have helped Lincoln and Mercury be something other than also-rans and on life support.
  • From what I've read there doesn't seem to be much, if any, new product coming into Mercury in the near future. I've heard that it could be gone as early as 2012 which would make sense because the Ford versions of those cars all seem to be replaced/redesigned within that time frame. I personally have like Mercury's styling better than most of the Ford versions with the exception of the Grand Marquis. The problem is that a different grille, set of tail lights and a lightly changed interior is not enough especially when the Ford versions can be equipped very much the same for the same or even less money. With a few exceptions, GM is learning this lesson.
    In my opinion, Ford should do one of two things: 1). Pull the plug already and maybe transfer over, with a good amount of discretion, some Mercury models as entry-level Lincolns which would save the company money by marketing and styling only one brand but still give the consumers a vehicle that is not like everyone else's Ford. 2). Like quite a few people said, bring over the European and Australian Fords. Try to blend the Mercury styling into the cars without losing the look that people love about those cars. Obviously, they need to do some research to see which Euro Ford people would actually want to buy here... no mistakes like the 90's Capri. Brand recognition is still very important so don't even bother creating another Merkur.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,422
    Mercury is toast. Ford isn't going to make the target projection for return to profitability. They are doing all they can and it is not enough. Many bad decisions while they were sitting on top of the world 10 years ago led to this inexorable march downward. No pennies left over for Mercury. Lincoln may eventually fall too. Sad.
  • Another idea that I was thinking about is making Mercury sort of a "green" brand. Toyota has talked about turning Prius into its own brand and Ford seems to be all about coming out with efficient vehicles. Mercury could sell nothing but hybrids. Sure sales might not be as high as they once were but it's another way to keep the brand and keep it unique. Since hybrids sell a bit more than conventional cars Ford could find a way to include upscale features to keep loyal buyers. One downfall, however, is that the Grand Marquis which is the best selling full size car would have to be eliminated since it wouldn't fit the "green" profile.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,422
    Good riddance to the Grand Marquis. In its day, it was a decent automobile, but that day has long passed. Trying to pass off that old fashioned and creaky body and underpowered engine as a 2008 vehicle is but one reason that Mercury is toast.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,050
    I don't think the Grand Marquis has ever been a best selling full-size car. Maybe if you want to say "best selling body-on-frame RWD full-sized car 210" or longer for 2008", then yeah, it's #1 there.

    One problem is that a lot of cars that we might not think of as full-sized, car actually classified as such by the EPA. For instance, the Chevy Impala. And it's probably been the #1 full-sized car since it came out in 2000. The LeSabre was full-sized, and regularly outsold the Grand Marquis. I don't think the Lucerne sells as well as the LeSabre did, as this market is shrinking, but it probably still outsells the Merc.

    The 500-based Taurus/Sable are full-sized. So is the Charger/300. The Intrepid/Concorde were full-sized as well. And believe it or not, even the 2008 Accord is now rated as a full-sized car, as long as you don't get one with a sunroof!

    Cars like the Grand Marquis still have their place, though. While not very space-efficient, their overall big-ness makes up for that. It has a fairly high payload capacity. Most "full-sized" cars of today only have like a 900-1000 lb payload capacity (the spread between GVWR and curb weight). The Grand Marquis/Crown Vic are probably more like 1400-1600. At least, a buddy of mine has a 2004 Crown Vic, and its GVWR is 5600 lb. I'd imagine it weighs 4000-4200 lb.

    Something like a Grand Marquis would also be good if you do a lot of towing. You can probably still equip them to tow 5,000 lb. I doubt if most FWD V-6 unitized cars are good for much more than 2-3,000 lb.

    It's a dying breed, but I guess it still has its niche.
  • nortsr1nortsr1 Posts: 1,060
    "Mercury is toast"!!!!! It is very easy to say that getting rid of Mercury would be the way for Ford to downsize, etc.I believe the problem is very similar to that of GM when they decided to do away with the Oldsmobile dealerships. It ended up costing them billions of dollars to "buy-out" those dealerships. they didn't go down without a fight. There is a lot of money involved in doing away with "dealerships"!!!!!
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,196
    ...could make Mercury their performance division! Let's once again see a Marauder, Cyclone, and Cougar at the Sign of the Cat! ROAR!!! Mercury; the Man's Car! :shades: Eco-weenies need not apply! :(
  • xrunner2xrunner2 Posts: 3,062
    Mercury used to conjure up all kinds of positive images. Heck, 1949-51 Mercs were the basis for customs and often referred to as "the James Dean car."

    Once in a while, can still see chopped and channeled 49-50 Mercs at hot rod/custom car shows. An old, old movie with James Dean featured a 2-door 49 or 50 Mercury. Remember another movie with Clint Eastwood, "Thunderbird and Lightfoot", were George Kennedy and his partner drove a 51 Mercury.

    In their era, 49's and 50's were a nice style compared to the competition. But, since then, there have been very few notable or desirable models. The Mercury brand has been almost invisible in marketing over the last few decades. In all the years of wife and I buying cars from mfrs GM, Ford, Chrysler, Honda, Nissan, VW, we never "once" even considered looking at or wanting to test drive a Mercury model. Having gone to many auto shows over the years, I can't recall ever wanting to stop by and look at or sit in a Mercury. There never was anything unique or "gotta have" about the Mercury brand.

    In spite of current ad campaign, I would not "put Mercury on my list".
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,422
    Mercury had many notable models after the 49-51 (which shared a chassis with Lincoln, not Ford). The Cougar was a highlight, especially the early ones. The 1960s and 1970s saw many successful models, and up until the mid-90s, you could always count on Mercury to have some unique rooflines. The Breezeway roof on the big Mercs allowed the rear window to go down. Cyclones and Marauders kept up with the muscle competition. The first Sable was more upscale than the Taurus and it sold well. The Mercury minivan was smaller than the Ford and better looking. Then they move it to the Windstar/Freestar chassis which was the final nail in that coffin. The last Cougar (based on the Contour?Mystique) was the last unique Mercury model and it outsold all other two door coupes...but they let it die on the vine, with no significant changes or upgrades.

    I have always liked Mercury as a brand, but there is no saving it now. It was starved of product for too long, and it is the only remaining completely badge engineered American brand. If they had planned it like Saturn is now (American Opels), it could have survived. But Ford doesn't even have the money to make Ford and Lincoln grow. There's nothing left over to make Mercury back into the sign of the Cat or an outlet for European Fords or anything else. And Ford is solving the dealership dilemma as well. There are no remaining standalone Mercury or Lincoln-Mercury dealerships. The end when it comes will be with nary a whimper.
  • xrunner2xrunner2 Posts: 3,062
    The Mercury minivan was smaller than the Ford and better looking.

    Was that a Nissan design/built van?
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,476
    It was the same as the Nissan Villager of the time but I am pretty sure it was built in the US in a FOMOCO plant.
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,383
    On the question of dealerships, are there any stand alone Mercury dealerships? If not I would think it wouldn't be as bad for Ford to just drop Mercury and make them Lincoln dealerships.

    I will grant you the very first thing that would happen would be dealers screaming for cheaper, higher volume Lincolns which would be a disaster since Lincoln had already been cheapened too much.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,422
    Not a problem. All LM dealerships have been/are being folded into Ford dealerships. Soon there will be no need for Mercury and no protest when it fades out.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,050
    On the question of dealerships, are there any stand alone Mercury dealerships? If not I would think it wouldn't be as bad for Ford to just drop Mercury and make them Lincoln dealerships.

    I don't think there ever were stand-alone Mercury dealerships, because in the past, Lincoln was always a low volume brand, and I don't think a standalone Lincoln dealership would work. Back in the 50's for example, I don't think Lincoln ever sold more than 20-30K cars. Mercury really wasn't a high volume brand either, until 1949. From 1939-48, it was always outsold by Chrysler, Olds, Buick, and Pontiac. Some years DeSoto would outsell it as well. And DeSoto dealers, as well as Chrysler dealers, also sold Plymouths to help boost their sales. So I dunno if Mercury would've made it without a companion in the showroom.

    1949-51 is what really put Mercury on the map as a fairly high-volume brand, but the cars started getting bigger and heavier at precisely the wrong time. 1957 was a down year for everybody except Chrysler divisions and Rambler, and 1958 was out and out recession. 1959 was a recovery year, but the focus was on economy and efficiency, with an increasing public backlash against the horsepower wars and overstyled, oversized cars...yet Mercury was stupid enough to make them even bigger than the year before! They ended up being one of the few makers, along with DeSoto and Edsel, to have lower sales in 1959 than in 1958. And considering where DeSoto and Edsel went, maybe that was an omen for Mercury?

    Mercury pretty much retreated to being just a fluffed up Ford in 1961, with deeply slashed prices, smaller engines, and smaller, lighter cars. And that's pretty much where they stayed, right up through today. It worked well for them for awhile, especially in the 1970's when hedonism was all the rage, and they had that Junior Lincoln look going for them. While they never seriously challenged Chevy or Ford for top spot, and Olds, Buick, and Pontiac always outsold them, the 70's were actually Mercury's most popular years. That's when Lincolns got really popular too, especially with cars like the Mark IV and Mark V, which regularly outsold the Eldorado. Cadillac made up for it with the volume Deville models, which tended to outsell the Town Coo-peys and Town Sedans by a wide margin.

    Still, even in the 70's, I always remembered the ads touting Lincoln-Mercury, and never just Lincoln or Mercury by itself. I guess it was kinda like Chrysler-Plymouth?
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,383
    Yeah, that's certainly the case around here.

    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. They added Chrysler and later went to Dodge before the place disappeared. It was one of those tiny family dealerships in a downtown. The family sold it to someone who built a big place out on the highway.
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