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Cougar Support Group - Chats On...



  • camelardcamelard Posts: 171
    This type of thinking on FMCs part has long been a source of frustration with many woman car buyers. Just for fun I often like to do an informal poll at the start of meetings just to break the ice. One of my favourites is "how many of you currently drive a car with a manual transmission?" Every time, the woman outnumber the men, sometimes by as much as 4 to 1. Go figure.

    One of the reasons the Cougar appeals to women is the combination of a v6 with MTX, something that has long been difficult to find in a two door coupe.

    Even back in the early eighties when Ford was pushing the Mustang/Capri line the V6 was only available with automatic. For MTX you had the choice of the 4 cyl. or the 5.0 L eight which was down right dangerous.

    Wakey, Wakey FMC!
  • camelardcamelard Posts: 171
    Thanks for the compliment. We think our friendly little club is kind of cool too. Depite the demise of the Cougar S I hope your Mother does go with the Cougar. It really is a joy to drive.
  • I want to join the Cougar group by purchasing a new cougar, but need some help. Please respond:

    I prefer to shift. Anyone out there driven the 5 speed, V6 of course, and been dissapointed (Will have to order)?

    Is it true the silver frost only comes with GRAY(medium graphite) leather (What is Ford thinking)?

    Do the 50$ body side mouldings destroy or help the cats lines?

    Does the 6 CD changer have any problems vs. one CD and cassette?

    Anything else before taking the plunge?


  • malibumalibu Posts: 155
    I have had both the cd/tape in dash, and now the 6 disc changer w/single in dash. I love both. My first cougar did seem a little different when shifting from 1st to 2nd. Both are v6 5 spd. This one seems a little short between 1st & 2nd. Now I've never been dissapointed with either one, however I drove and 87 4cyl 5spd 4-runner with a lift kit for 13 years, so anything has more get up and go than that. Getting on the freeway is awesome, thats one of my favorite things. Test drive a couple times and you will be able to make your decision. Good luck and welcome aboard!

    P.S....Wheres Badulah? do you think he's on a long weekend or actually working today?
  • camelardcamelard Posts: 171
    I have the 5-speed V6 and I love it. Malibu is right about it being great on the freeway in all respects. It has the power to get you to freeway speed even on the shortest of on ramps (of which we have many here in Ottawa) and it is brilliant for passing. The shifting is smooth and tight compared to other 5 speeds I have driven, and rev matching is fairly intuitive.

    I have the Silver Frost with Midnight Black (cloth) interior and I must admit I much prefer the black to gray. I believe the leather does only come in gray with the silver exterior but I could be wrong.

    My personal view (not shared by all) is that the body side moldings do spoil the lines of the Cat but it is strictly a taste thing. I have never seen a car with moldings that I liked.

    I just have a single CD (no tape) so I can't answer your question about the 6 CD changer.

    What more can I tell you. Great Looking. Great Handling, Great Driving. And added bonus, loads of cargo space. What more can one ask for than that.
  • dasaint1dasaint1 Posts: 230

    I've got a V-6, mtx '00 Silver Frost, and I love it. I don't think I need to explain why--everyone here knows we love our Cats.

    As for the body side moldings, they're really too skinny to be effective in preventing anything. So basically, it's just for cosmetic purposes. Does it really make the car look better? I don't have it, and the car looks great without it. Something more practical would be putting some kinda molding on the door edge. I definitely could use one--I sometimes hit the wall of the garage with the door when I open it.

    As for the CD player, I only have the single unit which is fine. Although it's a pain in the a#$ trying to change CDs while driving. In hindsight, I should've gotten the 6-CD changer.

    Good luck with your decision.
  • dgeminidgemini Posts: 161
    In case you haven't read it yet check out Blue Oval News' Cougar S Article:

    Feature Report
    Cougar S confirmed dead -
    New models announced
    Published: February 09, 2001
    By: Robert Lane
    Updated: 09Feb01 2:57am, est.
    Sources: Mercury, Ford internal reports

    Mercury Chief Mark Hutchins confirmed in Chicago yesterday that the Cougar S program was history, and instead would be replaced by two paint and trim models to help improve the Cougar's fortunes.

    The current Cougars initial introduction drove more first time buyers into Mercury showrooms than any product in the brand's past twenty years. More than 60% of Cougar customers were new to the Mercury brand. The average Cougar buyer was 39 years old and 20% were between the ages of 17-24. About 60% were female.

    "Developing a new customer base for Mercury has been paramount to the success the Cougar has attained," said Mike Jennings, former Cougar brand manager. "The 1999 Cougar has proven that Mercury can attract a decidedly young and female set of customers and also bring innovative and unique products to market."

    The Cougar was well represented at the 1999 SEMA show - at least seven modified Cougars were on display, promising a bright and prosperous future for the once twin to the Mustang. But in 2000 the pace started to slacken as sales plummeted 29% from a high of 56,831 units sold in 1999, to 40,343 units sold in 2000.

    Ford internal reports obtained by BlueOvalNews, showed that the new "Cat" was failing with the expectations of consumers at alarming rates.

    26% of Cougar owners surveyed indicated that they were not satisfied with their Cougar on an overall basis.

    The Cougar's powertrain satisfaction in early 2000 was 74%.

    Only 67% thought the engine had enough power and pickup.

    Barely 70% found the transmission appealing overall.

    30% found the engine too noisy and another 36% found the smoothness of the transmission below their expectations.

    Close to 50% found the Cougar's fuel economy to be unsatisfactory.

    The new Cougars introduced in Chicago - the Zn and C2 are dubbed as "Mercury's latest attempt to lure the more youthful consumer with new, stylish and energetic coupes." Some believe that they are a desperate attempt to appease those who have already written Mercury off while carrying the current model over until 2003 when it will be discontinued. But the newest Cougars offer more than cosmetic enhancements. Both the Zn and C2 have an updated front and rear suspension that quell interior noise complaints while improving handling and overall responsiveness.

    2001 Cougar Zn
    The 2001 Cougar Zn is reminiscent of the Eliminator concept car with its hood scoop, rear spoiler and 17" machined wheels. The Zinc yellow clearcoat paint along with the back-glass blackout do separate this model from the rest of the pack.

    Photo: Ford Motor Company - Cougar Zn

    2001 Cougar C2
    The C2 version has very limited and modest touches. The additions include a color keyed instrument panel, rear spoiler and machined aluminum wheels with color keyed center caps. The C2 is available in French blue, Silver frost, Vibrant white and black.

    Ford Motor Company - Cougar C2 in French blue.

    Midnight black leather seats are optional on both models

    - Cougar Zn features a unique rear window

    The 2001 Cougar Zn will start at $20,595; the Cougar C2 starts at $19,715. Both the Cougar Zn and C2 include the Sport and Convenience options and come equipped with cloth seats; leather seats are also available. All prices include $475 in destination and delivery charges.
  • dgeminidgemini Posts: 161
    As you can see in the article the complaints regarding the Cougar had nothing to do with it's looks.

    They had to do with the car's mechanicals, not it's looks.

    So what does Ford do? Change the looks and other than some front suspension mods it leaves the mechanicals alone! Does this make sense? Not to me!

    26% weren't satisfied? Well that means that 74% ARE satisfied.

    In regards to engine noise and transmission smoothness, what do you expect it's a SPORTS car! Now I will admit that the Cougars MTX sucks when compared to some of the competition, but it wasn't bad.

    To me 74% powertrain satisfaction isn't bad. But to me the main issue with the Cougar was a lack of horsepower "only 67% thought the Cougar had enough pick-up". Ford should have made a more powerful engine an option, heck Ford should have simply upgraded every Duratec engine put in the Coguar.

    I think the real issue is that Ford has just decided to give up on the Cougar. They are not willing to put enough money into making a significant improvement (ie. power enhancement) because they just don't think it is worth the investment. They would rather invest money in making a bestseller like the Focus or Taurus sell better, rather than improve a cars' sales that are sagging.

    If you asked me Ford succeeded with the Cougar. It did bring younger buyers and women to Mercury dealerships, OK sales dropped a bit, but that is because the new Celica & Eclipse came out. Two cars that both copied the Cougar's styling!

    Mercury could have slapped a FUNCTIONAL hoodscoop on the Cougar, that along with some additional horses would have given it all it needed to put the Celica and the Eclipse on their butts!
  • daexpertdaexpert Posts: 140
    I owned a '99 Cougar that was ATX and then due to some pretty bad car problems I was able to work out a deal with my dealer and Ford and get a new '00 Cougar which was MTX. In my opinion, the MTX is the way to go because it provides the sportiness that the Cougar seems to lack in the ATX. The main difference is in the take off and whenever you need to make a quick pass on the highway, the MTX does provide a much better take off than the ATX does, but the MTX tends to be a bit notchy as well, so it really depends on what you want. If you have to put up with a lot of traffic and only like shifting on open roads, then I would recommend the ATX (which even though it's slow, it is not bad at all once you get it going), but if you just don't care, then I'd recommend the MTX and just control the gears yourself. Not sure if others agree with me, but that's my opinion. By the way, this is my second Cougar, and no mechanical problems so far, almost 13K miles and running great. Good luck with your decision.
  • camelardcamelard Posts: 171
    The average age of the Cougar buyer was 39 years and 60% of buyers were women. Great FMC. You got us to buy a Mercury. But since you've ignored what many of us want, "same looks, more power", many of us won't be buying another one. So what exactly was the point?
  • camelardcamelard Posts: 171
    I can't let this one go that easily.

    FMC wonders why Cougar sales are declining and they are having trouble attracting women to the Mercury brand and keeping them, and their solution is FRENCH BLUE. Guess what? If you keep treating women like air heads they aren't going to be attracted to your products.

    Case in point. The Pontiac Sunfire commercial that starts off at a wedding. It then shows the bride and groom leaving in separate cars, both Sunfires, and closes with the bride leaning against hers, at a self serve gas station, filling the tank. For some strange reason these cars fly out of the show rooms and women buy them in droves. I wonder why?

    Note to FMC:

    1. Fire your market research firm because they clearly don't understand the market if they think women can be sold on a product simply by adding a new fashion colour.

    2. Fire your primary advertising firm. They clearly haven't got a clue.

    End of rant
  • dgeminidgemini Posts: 161
    I also notice that you see lots of Sunfires on the road.

    The Sunfire is a relatively unnattractive car, which is going after the same customer base as the Cougar. It is also in about the same price range as well.

    However, GM advertises the Sunfire, and Ford doesn't, why?

    Why does Ford only focus (no pun intended) on the Taurus and the Focus, high volume cars that are going to sell in droves anyway, and neglect cars that could benefit from some advertising.

    How many people out there still have people saying, "That's a Cougar?".

    I don't have as many anymore, but that response showed just how poor Ford's advertising of the Cougar was.

    Not to mention, did you ever see a Cougar commercial with the Cougar driving aggressively around a track? Did you ever see a commercial with someone commenting on how great the Cougar drives? How about a commercial where someone talks about how great it looks ala the PT Cruiser where the little kid goes "What the...."

    While I am on the PT Cruiser, just look at that car! Within 6 months after it's introduction it already had about twice as many aftermarket accessories as the Cougar!

    See what good marketing can do Ford!

    True, the Cougar's looks weren't as ground breaking as the PT Cruiser's but they WERE ground breaking.

    Ford just doesn't know how to capitalize on a winner.
  • Dear Mr. Ford,

    I think I have the qualifications to improve car sales for the Mercury Cougar by over 10,000 units from 2001. One of my greatest assets is, not to be underestimated, common sense. I would like the opportunity to visit with the executive board to discuss some ideas I have. These include, but are not limited to:

    1. Offering a model which includes a engine capable of sub 7.0 seconds to 60 with low end response.

    2. Offering more than one color of leather upolestry for each exterior color without needing to purchase a "special edition"

    3. Advertising the car

    4. Producing a sales brochure with at least one glossy
    "real life" photo.

    Please take my offer seriously, for I feel I can be a great asset to your company and would be devoted to continuous total quality improvement.



    PS. The wait begins, thanks CSG
  • badulahbadulah Posts: 961
    Hay man, get in line!! I have been trying to get that job for well over 2 years!!! image

    The news on the "S" was bad enough, but reading that the Zn and the other special editions are considered to be "S" replacements makes me wanna puke. image
  • gustafscgustafsc Posts: 361
    Saw one at the dealer's last week.

    Yeah, it's YELLOW!!!!!!! But, other than that, the hood scoop looks tacky, but the wheels were a nice touch (unless they are a dealer installed addition).

    Speaking of the Chicago Auto Show, looking at the pictures of the "concept" cars in the paper makes me wonder what foreign substances some of the design groups are imbibing.

    A lot of those things are totally without esthetic appeal, are totally disproportionate, and tend to look like toy Go-Bots or Transformers. I kept looking for the big ray guns. Slab sided, angular, window/cab heights that resemble tank vision slits, and apparently, functionally useless.

    The only one that looked good was the Ford 49, and that's a complete ripoff of a bunch of 50-60's California customs. It just looks like they took a standard '49 coupe, bullnosed it, frenched the headlights, channeled the body, cut the 'B' pillar out to turn into a hardtop, and gave it a slick paint job.I fully expect to see a '49 Merc Lead Sled next year, complete with 54 Chevy floating grill teeth.Hopefully in purple with a great flame paint job!!!

    Having said that, depending on the size and performance combination, the 49 might sell ok, but I'd have to see a pic of the rear. "54 Merc taillights might look good.

    MWS and the other Merc folk might have wanted to read the posts here from he beginning. Outside of the outragous waits many of us had to endure, the next most popular item was, "Why wasn't the SVT option available?" Think of how the magazine reviews would have read had the Cougar been the clear winner in the performance catagory during the comparison. At the time, all they could claim that they came real close in the C&D Cougar/Honda comparison. Every review after that said that the car needed more grunt.

    So, instead we get paint. But, it's been scientifically proven that screaming yellow is faster than black by 5%.

    As far as attracting new cusromers to Mercury, the Cougar worked for me. But, when it comes time for me to look for a new car (as someday I must), the brand won't matter if the product I want isn't there. Translation: I'm not interested in 4dr sedans or SUV's. I like sport coupe's, always have, and untill my advanced dodderitity takes full hold, always will!

    Skip G
  • gustafscgustafsc Posts: 361
    Watched the Goody's dash series after the Daytona qualifying last Sat.

    Lo! And Behold!!!! 6 "Cougars" in the field. And they were easily identifiable by the shape of the headlight decals and the stock looking upper air intake.

    The rest of the field was mostly Sunfires with a couple of Celica's thrown in.

    Anybody in the S.E. know anything about these teams, and how're they doing?

    Skip G.
  • When I first bought my Cougar, all my friends freaked because I had never owned an American car before. I never liked the styling and performance American makers were putting out. The only negative I could find in the car was its lack of horsepower, but I figured in the natural progression of the vehilce, newer models would have more power and my next Cougar would resolve that issue.

    I forgot one thing though, FMC stands for FRIGGIN MORONS COMPANY. Only someone with the IQ of a pile of dung would develop such a great car and then completely ignore it. And then they have the gaul to blame the car for lack of sales. The way this car has been handled has completely turned me off from ever buying another car stamped with the FMC logo on it.

    Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy driving my car, and I will probably keep it for a couple of more years. But in 2003, when I looking for a replacement, you won't find me near a Ford Lincoln Mercury dealership. I'll probably be test driving the new Nissan Z car.
  • badulahbadulah Posts: 961
    The downfall of the "S" has really turned people off in many different ways. It is truly a shame that FMC didn't take the time and effort this project deserved from the start. Not only have they lost potential "S" customers, they have turned off customers in general.

    Someone should pass all of these comments on to their marketing department. I don't believe that will change anything, but they should have to read about their lack of imagination and overall apathy.
  • Once again my timing is impeccable, purchase a car panting for air, ready to die. I hope there is a silver lining in that cloud.

    Thus the order of a silver cat with gray leather interior has been placed (an optimist at heart). For those of you nice enough to respond before, I found one stick in NJ to drive and did. Only beefs: the nose is heavy and poor low end. Thus the additional purchase of ABS - more weight (curb over 18.8 lbs/Hp now). I did NOT get the 16 oz moldings hoping this will help reduce sprung weight and make waxing easier. I DID go for the in dash 6 CD disappearing act. Called visteon and verified all output was same as CD+cassette.

  • dasaint1dasaint1 Posts: 230
    I've just read a couple of reports on the new Mercury Marauder. Hmmm, interesting car, I thought. Take grandpa's Grand Marques, put some fat tires and 300 hp and you'd have a wolf in sheep's clothing. Who exactly did FMC have in mind to buy the car? Retirees in Florida?!? Women?!? Younger people?!?

    That just adds to the flame. For those of you who wanted to buy the Cougar S--well, here's your replacement car.

    I've never paid attention to the Mercury brand before until I bought the '00 Cougar. As much as I love my Cougar, I don't see myself getting another Mercury in the future.
  • badulahbadulah Posts: 961
    CONGRATS ON YOUR NEW PURCHASE!!! Please don't let the general ton of this conference make you think twice about your purchase. We are all bummed because Mercury canceled the high performance Cougar-S project. The V6 and I4 Cougars will live on for a few more years and so will the CSG.
  • It never ceases to amaze me how FMC despite its successes, still does some of the most unbelievably silly things. Ford has claimed that platform sharing would allow it to make "niche" vehicles that would be able to support fairly low sales. Then Ford discontinues all its mid-size coupes despite that fact that they still outsell comparable GM models and share a common platform. Then, they bring out the new edge Cougar(a shared platform vehicle), which breathes new life into Mercury and brings in customers(many former import owners) that have never bought a Ford, let alone a Mercury, before. Then, after these conquests, Ford, doesn't advertise the Cougar and lets it wither on the vine,kills the "S" before its born, and doesn't bring out new products to keep the new customers buying Mercurys.Once these buyers go back to imports, they will probably be lost forever. If any one can explain the logic in all this, let me know. Even after 20years of Ford ownership, I for one am getting disgusted with their antics.
  • camelardcamelard Posts: 171
    Who knows. I too am a long time Ford buyer who was drawn to the Mercury brand by the new edge Cougar. So I buy my Cougar and look to the future for new and exciting things from Mercury, and then....I not only get put off Mercury, but off Ford in general. It is stupidity in it's purest form.
  • gustafscgustafsc Posts: 361
    Seeing as how I usually keep a car for 8-9 years, I'd probably have skipped over the next generation of Cougars anyhow. But it's sad to know that there may not even be a next generation.

    When I do look for a car, I am not brand or mfg. loyal. I look for the combination of performance, looks, features, and price that satisfies me. If they don't have the product, they don't get my business.

    Skip G.
  • I definitely agree with all of the points made here. I regret to say this, but FMC has apparently forgotten the car enthusiasts in their drive to maximize profits on rigs such as the Explorer and the SS Excursion (anchor not included).

    Just out of curiousity, I was wondering if it would be possible to send a hardcopy of the past few entries in this topic to a FMC corporate officer? I'd like to know what the CEO's take on cancelling the Cougar S is, assuming we get a response.
  • badulahbadulah Posts: 961
    Although I agree that someone at FMC should read these comments, I doubt it will do a bit of good.

    It is apparent that the CEO of FMC is a huge machine tucked away somewhere in the bowels of one of their buildings. The CEO is also known as "The Bean Counter". Whatever he says goes. The bottom line rules.

    I think FMC should take the $17,500 I spent on my Cat and buy a clue.

    (No offence to our Contacts on the Cougar Team. We know they didn't make this decision)
  • My uncle told me of the cancelation of the S a few days ago and I was very upset. He agrees that its a dumb move but hey what can you do...

    He actually got to drive an S prototype while he was in California and he said it was an awsome car. Metalic Blue...

    That was the ONLY car FMC has that I would buy besides another Jag which I can't afford.

    Maybe I'll go look at a Subaru...

    Sorry but the Cougar just doesn't have the power.

    Its too bad... really too bad..

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