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Mercury Milan, Mercury Montego, Mercury Mariner Hybrid
#293 of 308 Re: Mercury loyalists [berri]
Jun 01, 2010 (5:43 pm)
Same goes for Lincoln really. They seem to just be gussied up Ford's as well with all too often over done styling that comes off somewhat unattractive. If there are any cost savings from dumping Mercury, Ford should put all that money into improving Lincoln. I don't understand why people pay another 10 grand for essentially the same car and drive train as a Ford?
I think that's going to be a serious problem, especially with the Fords going upscale. For instance, that MK-whatever thing...the one that Volvo essentially tought them how to build...seemed like a nice car last year. When we still had that older 500/Montego-based Taurus and Sable. But the new Taurus is pretty impressive inside and out. It ain't just a generic, mass-market fleet car anymore. And, it's not particularly cheap.
Then, there's that other MK-whatever thing, the one that used to be called "Zephyr". Y'know, it would be an impressive car if there was no Fusion or Milan to compare it to. I think the interior is really sharp looking. It evokes memories of the classic early/mid-60's Continentals, while still being modern. And I even think the car looks good, with the exception of the taillights, which seem too over-sized for the car, and positioned poorly. But, for all the pleasantry, it's still just a tarted up Fusion. It's a 2010 Versailles!
Cadillac, at least, seems a bit more insulated than Lincoln, since GM has other divisions to spread the cheaper models across and that helps Cadillac to retain a bit of exlusivity. For instance, there is no other divisional equivalent to the CTS or STS (although the STS is a moot point, I guess). And while Buick does still carry the Lucerne, GM does, IMO at least, a pretty good job of differentiating it from the DTS.
Now, the pickup truck/SUV-based stuff, that's a different story. But truth be told, you can option up a Silverado or Sierra to obscene amounts of money, anyway. I think I heard somewhere that Chevrolet sells more $50K+ vehicles than any other brand in America!
However, it seems things are changing. The new SRX, IMO, is a step in the wrong direction. Sure, it's a hot seller right now, but at what ultimate cost? I mean hey, the Vega and Citation were hot sellers once upon a time. And the Cadillac Cimarron sold tolerably enough to last for most of the 80's.
And I think that new LaCrosse-based Cadillac thing is a step in the wrong direction, too. If it would be, say, a replacement for the STS and the older Seville, then yeah, go for it. But as a DTS replacement, I don't think it's worthy. To me, the DTS should compete with the likes of the Lexus LS, BMW 7-series, Audi A-8, Benz S-class, etc. Basing it on the LaCrosse, IMO, takes it down to the level of the ES350.
#295 of 308 Re: Ford Puts 70-Year-Old Mercury to Sleep! [andre1969]
Jun 03, 2010 (5:36 am)
I dunno. I'd say from about 1969-1978 a Mercury could be practically a Lincoln. I had a 1989 Mercury Grand Marquis LS which seemed to be a really nice car. I called it "the poor man's Town Car." I liked it a lot better than the 2005 model I now have which seems more like a Crown Victoria with a different grille and an extra piece of red plastic between the taillights.
#296 of 308 Re: the ump calls safe [steve_]
Jun 03, 2010 (5:39 am)
Mercury did have a pretty cool graphic-designy logo in it's last two decades. It looks better without the ". MERCURY . " above it.
#297 of 308 Re: Its about time [xrunner2]
Jun 03, 2010 (1:16 pm)
Ford can be like Honda and Toyota. Honda/Acura, Toyota/Lexus. Not sure why Toyota plugs along with Scion brand.
That would be true of course if Ford was more like Toyota and Honda. The Ford brand is still transforming itself and is now making inroads, but Lincoln is neither a Lexus or an Acura competitor. Lincoln sales suck. The MKS and MKT (newest Lincolns) have failed to energize the brand. As bad as Mercury sales were (and they were bad), they still outsold Lincoln.
Other companies have several divisions and do well. VW is on its way to being #1 in a few short years, and it has VW, Audi, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Bentley, SEAT, Skoda, and now Porsche. They are buying Suzuki and will probably purchase Proton (Malaysia). Not all their brands are going full guns, but it is a business model that is presently working for the parent company. GM is another example with four divisions that are able to increase sales--no mean feat after going bankrupt. GM already outsells Ford again, and has more new models coming than Ford does. Chrysler owners also market a plethora of brands.
So two brands work, and multiple brands under one umbrella can work. The key is to provide a good core brand, and differentiation and enough flair with near luxury and luxury models that they truly are aspirational. Lincoln isn't there yet. The MKS is not superior to the Taurus in power, amenities and certainly not in styling.
Meanwhile, Ford needs to step it up with Subaru, Kia and Hyundai barking at its heels. Efforts like the Transit Connect, Fiesta and 2012 Focus are terrific. The 2011 Mustang really has the motors now. The F150 will remain competitive, especially with Ecoboost, but the 2004 body shell with 2009 mods looks less cohesive than Ram or Silverado. The 2011 Fusion still uses the same body shell introduced in 2005. The 2011 Superduty still uses the same body shell introduced in 1999. The Expedition and Navigator still use the 1997 body shell with embellishments. The 2011 Mustang body shell is from 2005. The Ranger has not been significantly restyled since the fall of 1992. Ford still seems to think it is OK to change the front clip, tail lights and interior furnishings every 3-5 years and call the model "all new." I always do hope it works, but I also hope that when Ford returns to reasonable profitability, that it will routinely restyle its new models on the outside when it modifies them underneath and within.
RIP Mercury. You could have lived if anyone at Ford had cared to do more than cynical brand engineering when Ford was flush in the early 2000s. Thank goodness for Mulally. Now, let's see that Freestyle/Flex/MKT/2012 Explorer architecture-efforts turned into something that will burn up the sales charts.
#298 of 308 Which brand to axe?
Jun 03, 2010 (7:26 pm)
I find it interesting that Ford chose to give Mercury (their middle-range brand) the axe, while Chrysler dumped Plymouth (their low-end marque.) If you compare FoMoCo brands to Mopar, you have Plymouth competing directly with Ford, Mercury against Dodge, and Chrysler against Lincoln. OK, maybe Chrysler vs. Lincoln is a little bit of a stretch, but you get my point. The only reason I can think that Chrysler dumped their bottom end brand is that the difference between Plymouth's sales and Dodge's was much smaller than the difference between Ford and Mercury. It seems to me that Dodge and Plymouth sales might have been pretty much even, where Ford outsells Mercury by a vast margin. With GM, I think that they dumped Pontiac, Olds and Saab purely due to low sales volume, plus they had such a huge overlap with seven passenger car lines and GMC, Chevy and Hummer trucks. Who knows, they might eventually decide to get rid of either GMC or Chevy trucks as well.
#299 of 308 Olds, now Mercury
Jun 04, 2010 (6:46 am)
I have a 2008 Mercury Sable bought new in 2008. My previous vehicle was a 2000 Oldsmobile Silhouette bought new in 1999. I sure know how to pick them!
With the announcement of their discontinuing the Oldsmobile line, they sent me a coupon that gave me $1500 credit toward a new Olds vehicle, or $1000 toward other GM vehicles.
Does anyone know if Ford has a similar program for recent new Mercury owners?
#300 of 308 Re: Olds, now Mercury [ronsmith38]
Jun 04, 2010 (6:55 am)
Wonder if I should run out and get a new Grand Marquis while I can still get one. I imagine these cars are going to be in great demand in the used market as there are still plenty of people who want a full-frame RWD V-8 powered car?
#301 of 308 Re: Which brand to axe? [propwash49]
Jun 04, 2010 (8:09 am)
I find it interesting that Ford chose to give Mercury (their middle-range brand) the axe, while Chrysler dumped Plymouth (their low-end marque.)
That's due partly to Chrysler's dealer structure. Up through 1959, there were few, if any, stand-alone Plymouth dealers. They were almost always sold through Dodge, DeSoto, or Chrysler-Imperial dealers. Heck, one store local to me sold all 5 brands at one time!
However, in 1960, Chrysler changed their divisional structure. Dodge became a stand-alone division, while Plymouth and DeSoto were merged in with Chrysler-Imperial. Since Dodge dealers would no longer have Plymouths to sell, the Dart was introduced to fill that gap. This was not the compact Dart that most people think of, but a full-sized car that competed directly with Plymouth, Ford, and Chevy. Even the advertising for the Dart mentioned the Plymouth as a competitor!
Another problem with this divisional structure was that Dodge got to get almost any new model it wanted, while at Chrysler-Plymouth, if it was a cheap model, it came out as a Plymouth, while if it was a nicer model, it came out as a Chrysler. This actually worked out pretty well through the 1960's, as there was still a pretty big gap between the cheapest Chryslers and the biggest Plymouths. Competitors like Buick, Olds, and Mercury fielded compact and intermediate cars, but Mopar left those for Plymouth. Chrysler division built nothing but full-sized cars through the 1960's, and its models were larger and roomier than Plymouth's full-sized models.
However, in the 1970's, Plymouth started missing out. For example, as personal luxury coupes became all the rage, Mopar responded with the Dodge Charger S/E and the Chrysler Cordoba. No Plymouth version was offered. When more upscale compacts hit the market, again, it was the Dodge Diplomat and Chrysler LeBaron, with no Plymouth version. Now, these cars were just gussied up Volares and Aspens, and Plymouth did have a nice model called the Volare Premier. But, those LeBarons and Diplomats were definitely a step up at the time...or at least, presented the illusion of it!
For 1979, Chrysler half-heartedly downsized its full-sized cars. Dodge got the St. Regis, while Chrysler got the Newport and New Yorker, but Plymouth got nothing. Actually, for 1979, Plymouth division was essentially down to just two models, the Horizon and the Volare! And this was supposed to be Mopar's "volume" line, to compete with Ford and Chevy! The lineup was fleshed out with a few captive imports like the Plymouth Colt and Champ, and the larger Sapporo. And there were even a few Plymouth-badged trucks and vans during that timeframe. Still, Plymouth was missing out on the more profitable midsize, fullsize, and personal luxury coupe market.
Plymouth did finally get a full-sized car for 1980, the Gran Fury, but it was sold mainly to police, taxi, and other fleet buyers. And in 1980, with the second fuel crisis coming on strong, full sized cars suddenly weren't so profitable anymore.
In the 1980's, with the introduction of the K-car, we got some pretty small Chryslers, and some pretty cheap ones too, which really cut into Plymouth territory. Dodge was still usually getting a version of everything, cheap AND nice, while at C-P, Plymouth was increasingly relegated to the cheap models, while the nice and even not-so-nice models were badged as Chryslers. And this kept going on right up until the end, when the final Plymouth, a 2001 base Neon, rolled out the door and into history.
Dodge was supposed to be a "step up" division, along the lines of Pontiac or Mercury, but over the years, it increasingly became Chrysler's volume Ford/Chevy fighter. Dodge was also around long before Chrysler Corporation was even founded. In fact, the first Fords used engines manufactured by none other than the Dodge Brothers! So that might be one reason why Chrysler stuck it out with Dodge...more heritage. Plymouth was thought up after the merger of Chrysler and Dodge, a car to compete with Ford and Chevy.