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Will Mercury soon be joining Plymouth and Oldsmobile?

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  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,066
    I kinda like that '89 Grand Marquis. The only thing I don't like about it is it has that fiberglass extension on the C-pillar underneath the vinyl which gives it a more blocky, formal look (as if it wasn't formal enough) in the vein of the M-body 5th Avenue or those late 80's Caprice Brougham LS models.

    Those 1979-91 Panthers seemed more comfy and plush inside than the 1992 and later styles to follow. One of my friends has a 2004 Crown Vic LX and it feels cheaper inside than the 1995 Grand Marquis GS he had before that. And it, in turn, felt more spartan and plasticky than those more angular pre-1992 Panthers.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,066
    The new 1992 Crown Vic of that year looked like the fishbowl Chevy Impala had been put on a diet...for an even worse rendition of a bad shape.

    I think the 1992 Crown Vic was actually my most favorite of the aero style. I liked the open, airy greenhouse with the quarter windows in the C-pillar and the grille-less design, and the slim, tapered taillights. Unfortunately, the public still preferred their big cars with grilles, so Ford stuck one on half-heartedly the next year, and fiddled with it again around 1995.

    The '92 Crown Vic actually made me think of an Infiniti Q45. The resemblance is there. Well, okay, maybe you might need to put away the better part of a 6-pack and then stick your fingers in your eye sockets to distort your vision a bit, but the resemblance is there, dammit! :P

    I thought the 1998 restyle (when the Crown Vic got the Grand Marquis' roofline) made for a big improvement for the GM's style, but the CV just wasn't as eye-catching IMO.
  • bruce6bruce6 Posts: 29
    It's not that Ford doesn't know how to differentiate Mercurys from Fords. They did just fine with the Taurus/Sable and T-Bird/Cougar in the '80s and early '90s. The cars were mechanically the same but had unique styling and had their own fans. But Ford in recent years has tried to keep Mercury going on the cheap, sharing body panels and interior pieces, differentiating only grilles and trim, and using some different surface finishes inside. And car buyers around the country gave a collective yawn. Mercury could do just fine again if Ford chooses to spend the money to give it distinctive products. If they don't, it will join Plymouth and Oldsmobile (and Studebaker, etc.) in the great used car lot in the sky.
  • dilldill Posts: 31
    Absolutely!

    Ford is in need of serious cash. Mercury offers nothing really different than what Ford and Lincoln already have available for sale. Ford has been trying to make Mercury into a step above that of Ford, maybe in the past they had success like in the 60's and 70's and possibly before than but Mercury hasn't run off of their own automotive momentum in decades. Mercury's in the eyes of the public are not head turners. They offer nothing that you can't get on a Ford except for slighly different styling cues. Ford is is dire straits financially and they need to pool as much money as they can and come up with not just good products but industry leading products, and Mercury is not part of that mix. Mercury has been neglected with products and they have been neglected in having an image car except for the recent mercury Cougar that was discontinued a few years ago. I'm also concerened about Lincoln also. Lincoln aren't going as high end to compete against other makers as I feel they should. MB, BMW, Cadillac and Lexus have a better image, it might sound superficial but image in the world of cars is very important. It's sad but I'll bet within 10-15 years Ford will be gone.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,422
    You may be right. Ford may just eventually go. However, Ford has a long history of squandering their successes with neglect and mediocrity. I just don't know how many more times this badly run company can pull a rabbit out of the hat.

    Still, Mercury has had really good years, and as recently as the 1980's was selling multiples of more units than they do now. The present regime at Ford seems to envision Mercury as only Fords with a bit of jewelry on. Oftentimes, Mercurys were only that, but many times they were more.

    The Cougar for example has been more. It was a prettier, more elegant Mustang at one time, and a more formal car than Thunderbird. In the latter 90's, it was unigue coupe that outsold everything in its class, including the Mitsubishi cash cow, the Eclipse. However, even hot coupes (other than the Mustang and Corvette) only have a good run of 18 months. Then they need freshening, and after the third year, they need renewing. Mitsubishi understands this and markets its product appropriately. That is why it is still head of the class, even though Mercury could have kept number one status in this niche.

    Now Ford sees Lincoln as the new Mercury, and Mercury as only badge-engineered Fords with two tone interiors and more plastic "satin aluminum" and satin nickel. Good luck. Mercury sales are up a bit, but they were so low, where else did they have to go? Montego sales have collapsed, even though it is definitely more attractive than the 500. And this in the lucrative mid-size to full-size sedan niche.

    Ford will keep Mercury, because they need it to support Lincoln and the Lincoln-Mercury dealers. But this whole set of plans since the mid-90's has been the most awful and stupid giving away of market share, that they might have hired monkeys and ended up with better plans.
  • Every time I see Ford 500 I feel sorry for Ford. How they could imagine that this thing could put world on the fire?

    It is a stretch to say though that Montegos sales have collapsed. You can say the same about 500. It has nothing to do with Mercury as a marque. Just compare (from Autosite.com):

    Make Model YTD 2006 YTD 2005
    Ford Five Hundred 62,028 75,146
    Mercury Montego 16,244 18,438

    YTD 2006 Montego sales make 25% of Ford 500 – slightly more that in 2005 and proportion is the same for Fusion and Milan or Sable and Taurus. Mercury does exactly what was intended – adds 25% more sales to Fords bottom line. People who would never consider buying Ford may still opt for Mercury. Making Mercury more unique will do exactly what you all suggest to avoid - squandering resources on not so important projects. Unique Mercurys never sold well btw.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,422
    16,000 to 18,000 sales per year is awful for a mid-size to full-size popular-priced sedan. And I do say the same about the 500. That they can't even move 100,000 of their Impala/300 competitor is awful.

    But then Ford sells more Mustang coupes (not the most practical or popular body style) than they do Fusions.

    And you and I can disagree about unique Mercurys. I am not old enough to have partaken of the early 50's lead sled Mercurys, but they did not share any body part with the Fords of the era. Later, they began sharing bodies, but at least Mercurys had longer wheelbases, often different rooflines, many different body panels, and better interiors. And they sold far better than they do now.

    There is no reason that Mercury could not be re-made into having a relationship to Ford as Chrysler does to Dodge, or Pontiac does to Chevy (or Hyundai to Kia for that matter). If GM, which was in big financial trouble, can differentiate their shared platform cars among divisions, I think Ford could also attract a unique crowd to Mercury if the product was there.

    If they cannot think larger than two tone interiors and a waterfall grill, Mercury will always be 25% of Ford or less. It is lack of will and lack of imagination that Mercury has been relegated these past few years to less than also run status.
  • Ford doesn't know how to manage a brand if it cam ewith instructions. Instead of wasting time buying import crap like Volva's and Mazda's they should have built Mercury up to be the import killer it should have been. Instead, they drag it down to where a Chevy Aveo is a more solid car than some glorified Ford POS.

    Mecury is an easy slaughter for the American Revolution... Right behind Toyota. ;)
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    I guess you answered my question in the "buying american cars and what does mean" forum with this last post. ;)

    Rocky
  • I guess so.

    Take care and good night. Catch you tomorrow. :shades:
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    good night... ;)

    Rocky
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Mitsubishi understands this and markets its product appropriately. That is why it is still head of the class

    Which class it is exactly that Mitsu is at the head of, gregg? Because where I live, Mitsu doesn't exist anymore...can't give 'em away.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,422
    Was speaking of the Eclipse. Remember the Cougar (based on the Contour)? It was a #1 seller, but Ford did not uncerstand that hot coupes have a very short shelf life. Mitsu understands this and updates the Eclipse frequently. That is why it stays in the 2 door coupe game (and usually on top sales-wise), even though Mitsu on the whole is in the toilet.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Oh ok. The Eclipse is somewhat still alive - but nothing like it was 10 years ago, it was RED HOT back then. I get 0 call for Mitsu cars these days. Haven't had an order for an Eclipse even.
  • john_324john_324 Posts: 974
    It's still pretty rare to see a new Eclipse where I live (Washington, DC)...

    Something I've wondered...did the Evo Lancers have any halo effect for the regular Lancer Sedans?

    I don't expect to see a lot of Evos, but I'm a little surprised at how few "regular" Lancers I see. Maybe it's just my area, but...
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,422
    I don't think it is surprising. The Lancer is even more bland and off-putting than the regular Subaru Impreza. It was just poorly, poorly drawn. The new Lancer (2008) is stunning by comparison.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    The Lancer only had one customer - Budget RAC. Period. The Evo was a joke, being based on a Lancer. Another reason why Mitsu is in the toilet - however, this isn't a "What the hell is wrong with Mitsubishi" forum, it's a "What the hell is wrong with Mercury" forum. Ford should kill Mercury, IMO. Give the Lincoln Dealers Volvo to sell alongside Lincoln - and they should survive. Give Lincoln to Volvo dealers if they want it as well. There isn't that much overlap between the dealers, or the cars. Could give Lincoln dealers a new reason to live. They're barely living now. The MKZ and Navigator is all that's keeping them alive at the moment.
  • Import the euro fords as Mercuries.

    I think they could pull a Saturn and do very well.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,422
    Agreed. The only thing holding them back are the half-baked import plans done with Mercury in the past. However, if Mercury would sell a line of the award-winning European Fords, it would re-acquire a reason to exist, the wonderful new Mondeo featured in the James Bond film could sell for more than the Fusion, and they could put the Milan and Montego out to pasture.
  • They could even call it the Mercury Mondeo. It fits with mercury's naming strat.
  • scape2scape2 Posts: 4,119
    I would have to say in order for Ford to survive and come out a leaner/meaner car company, yes they are going to have to ditch Mercury. Put this money into Lincoln/Ford/Volvo/Mazda. Everyone knows Mercs are just rebadged Fords anyway. Ford does not have the cash flow go give Mercury its own identity to build its own vehicles. :cry:
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,422
    But they could easily use the already existing European Fords, and Mercury could turn into Ford's "Saturn," which is now going to be the American outlet for Opels. Ford is planning to bring the European models here anyway. But meanwhile, Ford is not going to abandon the Fusion and the new American Ford look. However, that shouldn't mean Americans won't get a crack at the Mondeo, an even better car than the already very good Fusion.

    Mercury has been many things over the years, since it was created in the 1930's. Many of those years, it has meant nothing more than rebadged Fords. But at times it has successfully been much more than that. The bean counters and Ford family members could never see its potential as a real division consistently. Maybe Mullaly can knock some sense into them.
  • jae5jae5 Posts: 1,205
    ...and they could put the Milan and Montego out to pasture...

    Not sure about the Milan but the Montego is going to be renamed Sable. Will this get "Sable-ized" like the 500 getting "Taurused" I'm not sure. But I do like your idea of the "Big M" being the euro-Ford outlet, a la Saturn/Opel.

    I finally did see a Montego about 1.5 weeks ago, nothing special. Was actually shocked to see one.

    The thing is, if FOMOCO gets rid of Mercury, would buyers roll into Ford, Lincoln or Volvo OR go elsewhere as when Olds folded? I mean, at least to me, many people didn't go to Buick, Pontiac or other GM product when Olds folded. Maybe I'm a little biased as myself, family members and friends that owned Olds' didn't buy another GM when time to replace the Olds (still have my w-body Cutty). I'm sure some did, but how many crossed over to Honyoda and others?
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,422
    Taurus will do ok, due to all the boring sedan buyers, who are impressed if the thing starts and runs consistently. Ford would be stupid to continue to call the 500 "Five Hundred" when the name has failed in the marketplace. Doesn't matter if Taurus brings to mind the original one, or rental cars. It brings to mind, so this boring car will get more notice.

    We don't need the Sable. The original Sable was a good seller, but it didn't look like a Taurus with a Mercury name and feminized interior. The 08 Sable IS an 08 Taurus inside and out, with a bit of splish and splash. Give the Milan a wheelbase stretch (not at all difficult or expensive) and keep it. Bring the Mondeo here as the midsize. Give Mercury a Cougar, based either on the Mustang or the Australian rear drive platform. Dump the stupid old Grand Markee, and see what happens. Not a lot of investment, to see if they can save themselves from the Mercury dealers' lawsuits.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I always hated the Sable name, though I owned two of those cats.....loved the cars, hated the name.

    Say, gregg - how about if we just rename the Grand Marquis the Grande MK-E?????
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,422
    Sounds good to me. MKE, less expensive version of the old MKTC. Make it a Lincoln.

    Just kidding. Ford needs to either rebody the CV/GM and Town Car with modern styling and shorter overhangs, or get rid of them. As they are now, they are laughable and pathetic. Sort of like the Checker, before it passed on.
  • jae5jae5 Posts: 1,205
    GW,

    Don't think they'll dump GM/CV as they are cash cows. Tooling and the like has been long paid for, so they'll probably roll with them until sales hit some ungodly low number. I am wondering why a Cougar concept hasn't popped yet; I'm thinking a concept/end product like the original, as you stated, off the Mustang platform. That could inject some life into this patient. And maybe I'm sentimental since I owned one.

    The way this episode is going I don't think even "House" could save them at the end. :surprise:
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    House.......Love him..... I understand that Bill had signed off on killing all the Panther cars by 08, but when ARM got there, he happened to stumble upon (what may be the biggest problem yet at Ford) the little factoid, that the Panther was the company's most profitable line of cars right now...and they WERE KILLING IT!!! And we wonder why the Lions kept losing all those years......

    Yep, the Panther cars are very old, and although updated under the hood, they're an old fashioned car from the 70's. But the architecture and engineering is well nigh paid for, fleets all over the country still order them in the millions, and it's all that's saving them for the moment.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,422
    Maybe, except fleets are ordering fewer of them now, and they are only selling in the 10's of thousands. Compared to the numbers just three or four years ago, sales of these old things are awful. Ford could have kept the same architecture, but reskinned them with more modern proportions, without breaking the bank (borrowing looks from the 427 and/or Interceptor). Would have juiced sales a lot, while development of a more cutting edge replacement takes place.

    That never occurred to them though. Instead, they threw money away on grill and tailight changes every three years or so, that did nothing but take away from the bottom line. How many people can even tell which grill goes with the most current version?
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I have no problem with your suggestions at all - clearly, they need a reskin at the minimum. The interiors need a full update also, and not a cheap one.

    Bill killed it mostly because the gas tank needed repositioning to comply with new DOT regulations - and he didn't have the money to do it. Alan borrowed the money and kept them going for now.
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