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Mercury Mountaineer

Mercury Milan Hybrid

Jill Wagner, spokesmodel for Mercury  (Source: The Blemish)
Another American car brand bites the dust

When General Motors and Chrysler were floundering and in desperate need of a lifeline from the American government, Ford was moving forward as a still independent company. Ford Motor Company has made some good decisions over the past few years including offloading its premium brands like Volvo, Land Rover, and Aston Martin.

Ford Motor Company is continuing to trim the fat and transform itself into a lean, mean fighting machine by offloading its long underperforming Mercury division. The Mercury division has long gotten the leftover table scraps from the mainstream Ford brand. The Milan, Mariner, Mountaineer, and Grand Marquis are all thinly veiled rebadges of the Ford Fusion, Escape, Explorer, and Crown Victoria respectively.

“Mercury originally was created as a premium offering to Ford and was an important source of incremental sales,” said Ford in a press release.  “However, the continued strength of the Ford brand – particularly during the past three years – has accelerated the migration from Mercury to Ford for many customers.”

Mercury vehicle sales totaled just 92,299 for all of 2009 compared to 1,445,742 for the Ford brand. Even Lincoln, which caters to a more affluent audience than either Ford or Mercury, managed to move nearly as many vehicles as Mercury with 82,847 vehicles sold.

Ford Motor Company will wind down Mercury production in the coming months and expects to cease all production in the fourth quarter of 2010.

With the laggard Mercury brand now out of the way, Ford Motor Company will now “fully devote its financial, product development, production and marketing, sales and service” to the Ford and Lincoln brands.

For the Lincoln brand, that means the addition of seven all-new or significantly revised models over the next four years. These new vehicles will include a surprising entry from Lincoln, a C-segment vehicle (think Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla).

Lincoln will also likely benefit from hybrid powertrains that Mercury shared with Ford – Mercury currently sells the Milan Hybrid sedan and Mariner Hybrid “cute-ute”. Hybrid powertrains would make a perfect fit for the Fusion-based Lincoln MKZ and the Taurus-based MKS.

Ford Motor Company is also looking to further distance Lincoln from Ford with an exclusive V6 for the brand, more efficient transmissions, adaptive computer-controlled suspensions, and active noise control.

"We have made tremendous progress on profitably growing the Ford brand during the past few years.  Now, it is time to do the same for Lincoln," said Mark Fields, Ford's president of The Americas.  "The new Lincoln vehicles will transform luxury for North American premium customers through an unexpected blend of responsive driving enjoyment and warm, inviting comfort. We will also offer our customers a world-class retail experience through a vibrant retail network."

As for Ford, we've already talked about the new vehicles in its pipeline including the new 2011 Mustang/Mustang GT, 2011 Fiesta, and 2012 Focus, along with Ford's turbocharged EcoBoost engines.

With Mercury out of the way, Ford and Lincoln products can only get better from here on out.



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Sorry to see it go
By Dorkyman on 6/2/2010 5:01:14 PM , Rating: 3
We bought a Mercury Mountaineer back in 1999 (it was a '97 model). The car was basically a Ford Explorer with upgrade features, such as all-wheel-drive, a 302 V8, all-leather interior, and so forth.

Aside from the lousy gas mileage, it's been a great car for 120k miles. It's not worth much now so the death of the brand means nothing financially to us.

I can see the value of focusing on the Ford and Lincoln brands, but suspect the Mercury nameplate will be resurrected in the future.




RE: Sorry to see it go
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 6/2/2010 5:05:14 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
but suspect the Mercury nameplate will be resurrected in the future.


I sure as hell hope not. Ford is doing too well now to go and do something knuckle-headed like that.


RE: Sorry to see it go
By bissimo on 6/2/2010 5:20:11 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
but suspect the Mercury nameplate will be resurrected in the future.


Yeah, if Ford starts loosing the 60+ yr-old cat-loving granny segment.


RE: Sorry to see it go
By corduroygt on 6/2/2010 5:25:39 PM , Rating: 4
Yep, this is another good decision by Ford. Hopefully their stock will reflect it.


RE: Sorry to see it go
By afkrotch on 6/3/2010 2:45:56 AM , Rating: 4
Ford has been pretty good with some of their decision. Like creating a single global type model car for the world. Like the Fiesta. The Focus will do the same.


RE: Sorry to see it go
By quiksilvr on 6/3/2010 12:49:13 PM , Rating: 1
So long as they don't get rid of Jill Wagner.

Dailytech, you are obligated to have a high res photo available upon clicking her breas- I mean her photo.


RE: Sorry to see it go
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 6/3/2010 1:00:19 PM , Rating: 2
You could always do a Google Image Search if you're that desperate ;-)


RE: Sorry to see it go
By dusteater on 6/2/2010 5:46:52 PM , Rating: 3
I am sad to see it go. Mercury was not only for old people. I currently own a 2004 Mercury Marauder, which is an awesome car. I am sad they only made for two years.

I only hope they make a "special" Lincoln similar to the Taurus SHO or Mercury Marauder.


RE: Sorry to see it go
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 6/2/2010 5:51:57 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I only hope they make a "special" Lincoln similar to the Taurus SHO


They already do, it's called the Lincoln MKS w/EcoBoost


RE: Sorry to see it go
By YashBudini on 6/2/10, Rating: -1
RE: Sorry to see it go
By Spuke on 6/2/2010 11:00:00 PM , Rating: 4
I am glad that Ford FINALLY put this to rest. Mercury's been irrelevant for at least 20 years. I'm also happy to hear that Lincoln is now going to get some much needed attention too. Good job Ford!! BTW, anyone in line for a 2011 Mustang?


RE: Sorry to see it go
By Lazarus Dark on 6/2/2010 9:24:23 PM , Rating: 2
Lucky. I always wanted a Marauder. That was a gorgeous car. (though, honestly, it's the only Mercury I ever cared for... My stepdad's old Cougar was alright, but nothing special really.)


RE: Sorry to see it go
By afkrotch on 6/2/2010 10:09:22 PM , Rating: 2
You talking the old ass boats or the Crown Vic rebadge?


RE: Sorry to see it go
By JediJeb on 6/3/2010 2:18:38 PM , Rating: 2
67-68 Cougars were nice, but after that they were kinda dull.


RE: Sorry to see it go
By Omega215D on 6/3/2010 2:03:16 AM , Rating: 4
I'm so used to the term Ford-Lincoln- Mercury. What will that Post Master do now (a kevin costner movie).

Honestly though Lincoln will always have the town car and luxury SUV side of things and Ford will have the rest. No point in being like GM with too many sub brands that don't even differ much.


RE: Sorry to see it go
By Sazabi19 on 6/3/2010 9:05:03 AM , Rating: 3
Honestly, I'm looking at an MKZ or an MKS myself. They are fanstic looking cars and have a good feel, but are a tad expensive. The new Buick LaCrosse looks fantastic, about the same features as the MKS and same general size (I'm not a car guy) but at a lower price, still very nice. With that said, if Lincoln brings out a "Midnight Edition" or something similar to what they had a few yrs ago, i will be sold.


RE: Sorry to see it go
By Keeir on 6/3/2010 2:25:26 PM , Rating: 1
Errr...

Mercury became irrelevant for two reasons:

1.) Ford moved "upmarket" with Premium/Titanium packages
2.) Lincoln moved "downmarket" by selling too many Ford rebadges with only minor sheetmetal and interior design changes.

If Lincoln moved "upmarket" again by offering significantly different exterior and interior products, then there might again be a place for a Ford re-badge with higher quality materials. (Seriously, the Fusion is a good value, but some of the materials used are well... not best and the Lincoln MKZ ~34k intro price feels like way to much to pay for a FWD tarted up Fusion. Ideally, Lincoln would have an independant MKZ car and Mercury would sell the tarted up Fusion, more like 28k intro price with maybe a Ecoboost 4)


RE: Sorry to see it go
By DesertCat on 6/2/2010 5:27:58 PM , Rating: 3
Well Mercury has primarily been a Ford vehicle with upgraded trim for quite a while now. If they want to do that, they can follow the pattern they do in many of their truck lines by adding another letter to a model number (ok we have the XT, the XLT, how about the XLM?). It seems pretty inefficient to have a completely different brand name for the "fancy car seats" option.

I'm not saying that Mercury is bad, but this decision seems to make sense to me.


RE: Sorry to see it go
By AssBall on 6/2/2010 9:07:04 PM , Rating: 4
It has seemed like Mercury was lost somewhere vague between Ford and Lincoln for a long time. It probably leeched sales from both divisions.

Fords are very well built and quite nice themselves; there is no need for Mercury anymore. It is like the Oldsmobile of Ford.

What I would like to see them do is further distance Lincoln from Ford, and get them up to where Cadillac sits on the GM ladder. Make the whole Lincoln lineup more powerful, featureful, sexy, and interesting (and yeah expensive).


RE: Sorry to see it go
By Nik00117 on 6/3/2010 12:27:54 AM , Rating: 2
It was, I mean like often times when a customer would come into our dealership and want to know about a Mariner we'd describe the manfuacture process as this:

"The Escape, and Mariner start at the same assembly line, go down the line and get the smart parts, the same assembly, at the end of the line the mariners get mercury badging and the escape gets ford badging"

And generally speaking Mercury was harder to find a vehicle in stock, and generally more expensive (for the same thing)

I think in the 2 years I have been selling Ford products I have sold 1 or 2 Mercury products.

Mercury just leeches and confuses customers. It has no real "market segment" ford is no longer a low end manufacture spitting out cheap broken excuses of cars.

Lincoln however does, I think a Ford/Lincoln combo could do wonders.

Great choice Ford, kill Mercury and let's move on.

BTW I drove a Milan, and a Fusion. Same exact cars.


RE: Sorry to see it go
By Sazabi19 on 6/3/2010 9:08:43 AM , Rating: 2
Not sure if you read the last bit of the article, but that is exactly what they are doing for Lincoln..


RE: Sorry to see it go
By Hiawa23 on 6/2/2010 7:29:51 PM , Rating: 3
Meh, never cared for the Mercury brand. Seemed geared toward the older market. If Ford felt it was time to put it to rest, then so be it, they would know better than anyone. If the brand can't make you money then why have it.


RE: Sorry to see it go
By Makius777 on 6/2/2010 10:47:57 PM , Rating: 2
I had a 99 Grand Marquis... I inherited it from my grandparents when they died. But for a kid straight out of high school it was kind of awesome. That thing was a beast that could fit 5 of my friends with room to spare. It was super comfy, more like driving a giant couch than a car, and a few of my friends actually preferred the back seat! Yeah sure it was gutless and handled like a plate of jello but I can understand why old people liked them.

But I do agree that this seems like a smart move for Ford. It had become an increasingly nonexistent brand.However Ford has been getting consistently stronger and I hope this helps them continue to refine their vehicles for years to come.


RE: Sorry to see it go
By Calin on 6/3/2010 7:43:28 AM , Rating: 2
For you it was gutless - remember that your 99 Grand Marquis had more power and torque than the entry line Mustangs of 1960's (six cylinders, 101 HP). Your Grand Marquis probably had more power, more torque and more power per weight than those Mustangs


RE: Sorry to see it go
By Keeir on 6/3/2010 3:25:39 PM , Rating: 2
Hello Calin, while your right that the entry Mustangs of the 1960s had some low power numbers, specifically in the very first ones having a 2.8L V6 that well... was gutless. The first full model year, the Enines were a 120 hp 3.3L V6 as well as a 200hp (V8), 225 hp (V8), and a 271hp (V8) models. Curb wieghts were around 2,500 lbs for the V6 and 3,000 lbs for the V8.

In contrast the 1999 Mercury Grand Marquis has a curb wieght of 3917 lbs with a 200 hp engine.

So yes, the 1999 Mercury Grand Marquis might be able to accelerate in a straight line slightly faster than the absolute base model mustang from 1965. However, most mustangs from the 1960s would have been significant faster. (Even the base V8 would have smoked the Grand Marquis, and by 67, 335 hp models were availible. In 1969, over 80% of the mustangs were V8 models... unable to find estimates for the other years)


RE: Sorry to see it go
By Makius777 on 6/4/2010 6:19:52 AM , Rating: 2
Oh yeah I mean you could still tell that there was something resembling a V8 under the hood, but it wasn't anything to write home about. I must admit though, I had a blast in that car, lots of good memories with it.

But it's probably a safe bet that the majority of daily tech readers are relatively "young" people. So of course we don't care about losing the mercury brand. But I bet there will be more than a few old timers all fired up and upset that Mercury is no more. And I can't blame them, if I were 80 years old with a bad back, didn't care about getting anywhere fast, and couldn't afford a pimped out Lincoln I'd probably be pissed too! lol


This was the best part of Mercury
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 6/2/2010 8:12:18 PM , Rating: 4
http://i46.tinypic.com/2z5sz1s.jpg

I guess seeing her on Wipeout will just have to be enough...




By Nfarce on 6/2/2010 8:53:27 PM , Rating: 2
She was the only reason I never flipped channels during the Mercury TV ads. She kinda reminded me of Cindy Crawford for some reason.


By hellokeith on 6/2/2010 11:44:26 PM , Rating: 2
I am quite angry the Stargate Atlantis writers just totally blew off her character! They could have at least brought her back for the otherwise banal series finale.


By Sazabi19 on 6/3/2010 9:13:06 AM , Rating: 3
Jill Wagner r teh awesome O.O


it's ok if they drop the Mercury
By digitalreflex on 6/2/2010 8:55:10 PM , Rating: 2
They can close down Mercury if they want, I just hope they keep Jill Wagner around, she's the only thing that made me watch the Mercury commercials.




By johnr81 on 6/2/2010 11:33:28 PM , Rating: 2
she's on some weird series, wipeout or something like that


RE: it's ok if they drop the Mercury
By inperfectdarkness on 6/3/2010 10:31:39 AM , Rating: 2
undecided if i like kate walsh or jill wagner better as a car saleswoman.


By Brandon Hill (blog) on 6/3/2010 10:42:37 AM , Rating: 2
Depends on if what you want a young starlet or a hot cougar ;)


Good job
By DigitalFreak on 6/2/2010 6:07:45 PM , Rating: 1
Another good move by Ford. Tell me again why we wasted billions bailing out GM and Chrysler (especially Chrysler)?




RE: Good job
By walk2k on 6/2/2010 6:50:01 PM , Rating: 1
Lobbyists.


RE: Good job
By knutjb on 6/3/2010 12:38:14 AM , Rating: 3
Wrong Unions. Who do you think got Obama elected.


RE: Good job
By theapparition on 6/3/2010 8:44:49 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, and jobs. Not just GM and Chryslers, but thousands of subcontractors. People forget that Ford also wanted a hand-out in case GM/Chrysler went under, since thier supplier base would have been decimated as well.

GM and Chrysler also would never have gone into bankruptcy if the banks hadn't imploded. Fords greatest move was mortgaging every single thing they had before the banking collapse. Without it, they would've been in the exact same situation.


for the best
By johnsonx on 6/2/2010 11:09:10 PM , Rating: 3
Having 3 car brands distinguished only by trim levels is too many.




RE: for the best
By inperfectdarkness on 6/3/2010 8:35:41 AM , Rating: 1
GM was doing it with 5 brands for the longest time. didn't work out well for them either.

although i'm sad to see the brand shut down; i'm more saddened by the fact that ford still hasn't replaced the 8g cougar anywhere in their USDM lineup. fwd hatchback positioned ABOVE the focus just makes sense--and they sold well, just to prove a point. and as jalopnik pointed out in their "Cars that killed mercury" article; ford basically doomed mercury when it killed the contour chassis & didn't bother to keep it around or replace it for the cougar.

i can think of better ways to market the brand. whereas lincoln should rightfully offer true luxury versions of the other two brands; mercury should have unique vehicles (such as the cougar. i don't think the fusion should be sold as a ford; but rather as the milan; and ford should simply keep the taurus.

alternatively, mercury could be re-positioned as a primarily "off road" brand (much like jeep). that would require much better marketing and strategy than GM used with hummer; but it's feasible. in this case, a rebirth of the bronco under the mercury label wouldn't be such a bad idea.


RE: for the best
By JediJeb on 6/3/2010 2:52:54 PM , Rating: 2
I still want a Bronco. My roommate in college had a 79 and even as big as it was you could still parallel park it in a space I couldn't get my 79 Mustang into. Those things were super nimble offroad. Of course go back to the pre-78 models and those were even better.


Brings back some memory's
By sticks435 on 6/3/2010 12:49:49 AM , Rating: 2
Ahhh Mercury. I remember riding around in my sister's Topaz in High School, and it had that cheap ass pop-up sunroof, which you could just unscrew the hinges in the front and take it completely off while you were driving.




ugly
By Murloc on 6/3/2010 6:43:04 AM , Rating: 2
those cars are damn ugly anyway, no big loss.




about time
By SniperWulf on 6/3/2010 8:18:48 AM , Rating: 2
Took them long enough. I have yet to understand why there was a need to sell the same car under multiple badges to begin with.




It will all be ok if...
By Goty on 6/3/2010 10:13:20 AM , Rating: 2
I'll be extremely happy with this decision if they finally release a new Lincoln LS. I've always loved those cars!




I never get this...
By Motoman on 6/3/2010 11:55:28 AM , Rating: 2
...so they're ending another "brand." And they talk about all the money they're going to save, blah blah.

They're the same freaking cars. The ONLY difference between a Ford and a Mercury is trim level.

For the life of me I can't figure out why an automaker wouldn't just continue to use a name for a level of trim.

So you have a Ford Explorer and a Mercury Mountaineer. Same production line, same plant, same everything except for different trim.

How does that cost the company anymore than, say, "Ford Explorer XLT"?

Other than the rare model that may truly be specific to a particular brand, which by all means get rid of it if it underperforms, I simply can not figure out what the big deal is about "dropping" a brand. Keep making the nameplates and sticking them on vehicles - which is the same thing you've always done anyway.




rebranding
By Uncle on 6/3/2010 12:27:53 PM , Rating: 2
Most of the whats being dropped is geared for globalization. The brands that are being dropped are the names from what sold in North America when we had the Big Three and all the consolidation from many years ago,early 1900 to 1950. Marketers have found that with to many brand names it creates confusion, eg: Ford Tempo - Mercury Topaz. Identical cars under the umbrella of Ford. The Industry wants to get back to brand recognition and it becomes impossible with so many names that were geared for times past. Get rid of one and you save cost on trim and advertising etc. Most vehicles have parts from all over the world. I don't think there is one car built in N America that is 100% N American. Marketing doesn't have to fool the public any more. Most of us know their all Hybrids of some sort.




Running out of planets...
By delphinus100 on 6/4/2010 5:04:16 PM , Rating: 2
No more Mercury, Saturn's already gone, Pluto's been demoted, what planet can I still drive...?




buh bye
By RivuxGamma on 6/4/2010 9:27:40 PM , Rating: 2
You've gotta put Mercury on your list...

of dead brands.




I thought...
By masamasa on 6/2/2010 5:16:58 PM , Rating: 1
Mercury...wasn't that dead years ago? *grin*

The name led to it's demise.




American Car companies and their stupid rebadges
By afkrotch on 6/2/10, Rating: -1
By Nfarce on 6/2/2010 8:58:04 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
WTF is the point of coming out with a new company that sells the exact same crap with some different trim? It's cheaper to sell that trim as options.


Uhm, maybe because early in the 1900s there were dozens of automotive manufactures, some of which later were scooped up by Ford, Chrysler, and the GM coalition for brand marketing and historic reference? For example, did you even know Oldsmobile was its own brand prior to GM?

Try picking up a book about car history sometime and shut off the console/PC racing game, mmmmkay?


By afkrotch on 6/3/2010 2:02:03 AM , Rating: 1
Please, enlighten me then. What new things did Mercury bring to the table? GMC? Pontiac? Plymouth? Eagle?


RE: American Car companies and their stupid rebadges
By Uncle on 6/3/2010 8:30:21 PM , Rating: 2
I can think of one,Pontiac, was the first of GM to bring out the Muscle Cars. I know I bought one, 64 GTO convertible, then a 70 GTO. Google Chrysler and check out Chargers, Challenger, Hemies. You don't know what you missed out on till you drive one. Quit being lazy and Google it yourself. Japanese have never built cars like them.


By afkrotch on 6/3/2010 10:59:46 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, cause GM never threw out a 64 Chevelle SS.

I also know exactly what I'm missing out on. A car with crap handling. Sorry, driving in a straightline fast is not fun for me.

Probably why I'm driving an Impreza.


By Nfarce on 6/3/2010 11:37:51 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Yes, cause GM never threw out a 64 Chevelle SS.
I also know exactly what I'm missing out on. A car with crap handling. Sorry, driving in a straightline fast is not fun for me.


You are such a tool. What was Subaru building in 1964? Or Toyota for that matter? You don't have the mental capacity to comprehend the history of US auto makers and why 50 years ago GM, Ford, and Chrysler's future division had different models.

What is available today is not comparable to decades ago. Any 10 year old car enthusiast can tell us that. Who can argue otherwise? Again, you still don't get it. Your premise here has been Americans are stupid and have had too many car manufacturers and models to choose from.

Oh, and enjoy your Subaru and take a p!ss on the Chevelle. I'm sure I won't be seeing a 2006 Impreza for sale for $40,000+ at a classic car auction 40 years from now.


By afkrotch on 6/4/2010 1:38:15 AM , Rating: 2
Subaru was building cars, that's what they were building. The Subaru Sambar was built in 61 and is still being built and sold. How many GTOs, Chevelles, Camaros, etc are still being built?

I can easily comprehend the stupidity of the history of the US automakers. There's a reason why pretty much no Japanese car companies required the need to be bailed out by their governments. Some did ask for a bail out, as well. 0% interest loan, why not? None got one though.

I can tell you, if I had to buy a car from the 60s, it's be a Datsun 510 or Nissan Skyline 2000GT. Course even today, muscle cars suck outside of driving in a straightline. They sucked back then, they suck now.

Nah, you'd see a 99 Subaru Impreza 22B going for $100,000, if it has low miles today.


By callmeroy on 6/4/2010 10:18:16 AM , Rating: 2
I think we are mixing up opinions as facts here...

That's all it is in the end YOUR opinion of american made "muscle" cars....

I've been a huge fan of the Camaro for example...its probably why I've had 3 so far and my 3rd being a recently bought 2010 LT2 Rally Sport. In honesty I'd love to own a brand new Corvette but its out of my price league thus I get the next best thing I both can afford and enjoy the styling of -- which is the Camaro.

I've now owned 3 camaro's and 1 firebird in my life so far. I can tell you I've had a blast driving them. So the going fast only in a straight line is BS.... true does my current 2010 camaro handle corners like a ferrari, porcshe or lambo - of course not....but it also costs anywhere from $70,000 to $250,000 LESS (or more!) than those 'exotic' cars as well.

Furthermore it damn well DOES handle better than most "common" daily drivers --- sedans, compact cars. So while its not a "track star" its also not a slouch either.

Either way the most important thing is that *I* have a lot of fun driving it...considering I am paying for the car each month that's what matters to me most.

Not only that I love the looks of my car and its loaded with pretty much any feature you can name for a car to have.

Finally....where are you gonna be ABLE to take corners at 80 mph + anyway? I know you certainly don't have many opportunities around where I live....far too much traffic and too many cops!


By afkrotch on 6/4/2010 9:43:57 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I've now owned 3 camaro's and 1 firebird in my life so far. I can tell you I've had a blast driving them. So the going fast only in a straight line is BS.... true does my current 2010 camaro handle corners like a ferrari, porcshe or lambo - of course not....but it also costs anywhere from $70,000 to $250,000 LESS (or more!) than those 'exotic' cars as well.


I never said ppl can't have a blast driving them. They just suck outside of pretty much straight driving. Sure, it does well on a pretty smooth track, but start throwing any low speed turns in and riding a donkey ends up being faster. Not really surprising, when you consider the car's weight.

quote:
Furthermore it damn well DOES handle better than most "common" daily drivers --- sedans, compact cars. So while its not a "track star" its also not a slouch either.


Well, duh. A daily driver is a daily driver. It's not designed for any kind of performance. I sure wouldn't consider a Camaro to be a "common" daily driver.

quote:
Finally....where are you gonna be ABLE to take corners at 80 mph + anyway? I know you certainly don't have many opportunities around where I live....far too much traffic and too many cops!


My home state is Idaho. Currently, I'm living in S.Korea. Prior to that, was living in Germany. Before that, Japan. Also England.

Idaho, can do it all day long in the mountains. I'd go driving up in the South Hills. Just expect some performance loss from the higher altitude.

S.Korea, not so much. I don't even have a car here anyways.

Germany, you have the autobahn, but if your car has crap suspension, you're probably gonna crash. The autobahn is a horribly maintained highway. The backroads are crazy twisty. Between Baalborn and Otterberg the roads twist like crazy, but between Otterberg and Schneckenhausen is less twisty, so you can open it up a lot more. You'd only have to worry about speed cameras in large cities or the autobahn. Aside from that, cops pretty much didn't exist. I also raced along some of the same roads for the ADAC Rallye Deutschland.

Japan, they let you race up in the mountains for a while. The cops actually ignore it until about 2-3am, then they'll go out and stop the touge racers. My place of choice was Okutama. It was the closest place for Tokyo drivers. Best place for me was a small mountain pass between Ome and Chichibu. The road is small, so the only time to really get to push the full length is at night. Problem, it's super dark, so you'll need a light pod or you'll need to memorize as much of the road as possible. Never seen a cop there, ever.

England, pretty easy to race around there on the back roads. The roads are quite twisty, but worse, really uneven. Suspension and handling is super important. I got my fun on the backroad between Burwell and Cambridge. Have to wait until about 2am, so there are no other cars to slow you down. You'll want to drive it normal once though, to look for speed cameras. England loves speed cameras. Roads are much like Germany, just extremely bumpy.

80+ mph on corners, where I've been driving. Pretty much impossible to do on any stock car. Half the time, it's impossible on any race car with any race driver.


By Nfarce on 6/5/2010 2:38:18 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Subaru was building cars, that's what they were building. The Subaru Sambar was built in 61 and is still being built and sold.


Who cares? How many people even know what that is or have even seen one? How many people in 1961 had ever heard of Subaru?

quote:
Nah, you'd see a 99 Subaru Impreza 22B going for $100,000, if it has low miles today.


Tell ya what! You show me the first Japanese classic from the 1960s or 70s to come on an auto auction and sell for $100k and I'll give you both my Infinity G35 and Nissan Frontier truck. Yeah, I buy and own both American and foreign.

Until then, I'll relish like tens of millions of others in automotive classic history of American cars. We now return you to your fast-n-furious wannabe road trip.


By afkrotch on 6/7/2010 8:00:51 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Who cares? How many people even know what that is or have even seen one? How many people in 1961 had ever heard of Subaru?


Apparently more ppl care about Subaru than Mercury. They aren't being closed.

quote:
Tell ya what! You show me the first Japanese classic from the 1960s or 70s to come on an auto auction and sell for $100k and I'll give you both my Infinity G35 and Nissan Frontier truck. Yeah, I buy and own both American and foreign.


Datsun Fairlady SPL212. Toyota 2000GT. So, when and where do I need to go pickup my Infiniti G35 and Nissan Frontier?


By rudolphna on 6/2/2010 9:25:34 PM , Rating: 2
What about...

Honda & Acura

Toyota & Lexus

Not all of their cars are rebades, but quite a few of them are.


By Brandon Hill (blog) on 6/2/2010 9:40:31 PM , Rating: 2
Name me one current Toyota/Lexus rebadge. The only one that can even be remotely called a rebadge is maybe the LX 570 and even that has a whole new front/rear and a completely different interior compared to the Land Cruiser.


By Integral9 on 6/3/2010 8:42:27 AM , Rating: 2
Toyota Prius = Lexus HS250


By krotchy on 6/3/2010 9:40:57 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah...no. The Prius is a hatchback the HS250 is a sedan, they have different dashboard and seat layouts.

Even the RX350 and the Highlander look 100% different side by side and dont share any real interior cues despite being the same basic platform.

Milan and Fusion were virtually the same car side by side. Same goes for Mariner/Escape, Mountaineer/Explorer etc. etc.


By Brandon Hill (blog) on 6/3/2010 9:50:12 AM , Rating: 1
FAIL!

HS 250h: sedan, 2.4-liter gasoline engine
Prius: hatchback, 1.8-liter gasoline engine

Not to mention that they are based on totally different platforms (the HS 250h uses the Avensis platform), both look nothing alike, have a different rear suspension layout (Prius has a torsion beam rear axle, HS 250h has a double wishbone arrangement), different interiors, HS 250h has more features, etc. etc.

Yeah, nice try though...


By Integral9 on 6/3/2010 12:35:01 PM , Rating: 3
Oh Brandon, you're so dramatic. I never looked at the car except on the highway and it is so similar I though it was a new Prius the first time I saw it. So, ok it's an upgraded Prius w/ a bigger engine and a more luxurious suspension. Both are upgrades you should expect when moving into a luxury brand. But it's still the same car, just fugglier... I actually didn't think it was possible... who knew?

The fact is, car makers aren't going to make the same mistakes again, so you are seeing the modern day equivalent of rebadging. It's 70% toyota, 30% lexus instead of the 90-10 splits that were seen in the 70s, 80s, and 90s from the american car companies.


By Brandon Hill (blog) on 6/3/2010 1:47:00 PM , Rating: 2
But they aren't even based on the same platform, so it's not even close being badge engineering.

It'd be like saying that an Audi A4 is a badge engineered VW Jetta, which is far, far from the truth.


By Integral9 on 6/3/2010 2:41:56 PM , Rating: 3
Actually it's not that far, you're just talking about the wrong VW. The A4 and the Passat were based on the same platform. The only real difference used be that Audi offered AWD. In my experience, unless the part is specific to the Audi A4, it's completely interchangeable with the Passat (I drive a 97 A4).

I might be wrong, but I think the A4 came first, so you could say the Passat was a badge engineered A4. But I might be slightly biased towards Audi given my ownership of one.


By Brandon Hill (blog) on 6/3/2010 3:36:12 PM , Rating: 2
What you're describing is platform sharing, not badge engineering.

The Passat and A4 shared platforms, but had totally unique bodywork and interiors. That's platform sharing.

The Beetle and original Audi TT shared a platform with the MKIV Jetta/Golf, but that doesn't make them badge engineered vehicles -- it's platform sharing.

Now if we're talking Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra or Chevy Tahoe/GMC Yukon -- that's badge engineering.


By Brandon Hill (blog) on 6/3/2010 1:53:36 PM , Rating: 2
I'll add, this is badge engineering in detail:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Badge_engineering

None of the Lexus models you mentioned fits these profiles.


By Integral9 on 6/3/2010 2:48:34 PM , Rating: 3
Was this directed to me? I only mentioned one Lexus model and accepted your retort. However, I'd like to point out a quote from that page.

quote:
Probably the most renowned example is Audi, a brand within the Volkswagen Group. While very few cars share the same bodywork, nearly all Audis use components from their more pedestrian counterparts, sold as Volkswagen Group's mass market brands...

<snip>
quote:
Japanese carmakers have followed this practice of rebadging as well... For example, the Lexus ES is essentially an upgraded and rebadged Toyota Camry, the Lexus LX is an upgraded rebadge of the Toyota Land Cruiser, and the Acura TL and Acura TSX are rebadges of the USDM and JDM Honda Accords.


By Brandon Hill (blog) on 6/3/2010 3:31:55 PM , Rating: 2
I directed at the wrong person, but I agree with the LX assessment (which I noted above). But I'll have to disagree on the Camry/ES assessment.


RE: American Car companies and their stupid rebadges
By Zuul on 6/3/2010 10:11:09 AM , Rating: 3
I guess it depends on what you define as rebadge. Personally, I define rebadge as the same core vehicle but with different interior trim:

Lexus ES / Toyota Camry


By Brandon Hill (blog) on 6/3/2010 10:31:26 AM , Rating: 2
Nah, the Toyota Camry/Lexus ES is an example of platform sharing.
The Mercury Milan and Ford Fusion are an example of badge engineering.

The Camry and Lexus ES don't share a single exterior body panel, exterior glass, or interior trim. Everything visually related to the two vehicles is completely different. It's only the underlying platform, engines, transmission, etc. that are shared.

Same goes for the 4-Runner and the GX 460.

Now take something like that the Ford Escape and the Mercury Mariner. Save for different front and rear clips, they share the same doors, major body stampings, interior trim, dashboard, seats, etc.


By skirvmi on 6/3/2010 1:38:20 PM , Rating: 2
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 6/3/2010 1:42:02 PM , Rating: 2
Still, not even close. They don't share anything with regards to interior or exterior -- not a single thing. In fact, the Avalon is actually larger on the outside and has more 5" more rear passenger legroom. It also rides on a 2" longer wheelbase.

Who's next? :-)


By afkrotch on 6/2/2010 10:00:42 PM , Rating: 2
With Honda and Acura, yes. They do a lot of rebadging. Toyota and Lexus, not really. Platform sharing, sure, rebadging, not so much. Think right now, they only do that with like, 1 SUV and that's pretty much it.


By Gul Westfale on 6/2/2010 11:25:20 PM , Rating: 1
lexus has only existed in japan since 2005, before then all of their cars were simply sold as toyotas in japan. the same can be said for infiniti and acura. so when you hear an ad that says "designed specifically by brand XXX for the US market" then that is pretty much BS.

the current infiniti G37 is simply a skyline in japan by the way. and isn't a skyline soooo much cooler than an infiniti alphabet37?


By afkrotch on 6/2/2010 11:57:55 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
lexus has only existed in japan since 2005, before then all of their cars were simply sold as toyotas in japan. the same can be said for infiniti and acura. so when you hear an ad that says "designed specifically by brand XXX for the US market" then that is pretty much BS.


Except, sometimes they are designed specifically for the US market. Not finding a Toyota Tacoma in Japan.

quote:
the current infiniti G37 is simply a skyline in japan by the way. and isn't a skyline soooo much cooler than an infiniti alphabet37?


The Skyline Coupe, sure. The Skyline GT-R. No.


By Nfarce on 6/3/2010 12:14:28 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Except, sometimes they are designed specifically for the US market.

quote:
Not finding a Toyota Tacoma in Japan.


That's because 1) America has the most open roads and travels the most miles on the planet as a single nation, and 2) we have been using pickup trucks since the early 1900s.

Not those little Toy trucks, so to speak, we Americans consider real pickup trucks or anything. I don't see too many camper and boat haulers in Japan.

Wanna try again asshat?


By Nfarce on 6/3/2010 11:27:33 PM , Rating: 2
Wrong answer. When people like you say "you stupid Americans" it makes people like me want to argue with you - about ANYTHING. You mentioned that the Tacoma wasn't seen in Japan and was marketed to America (that Toyota T100 was a rip roaring success in the 1990s, eh?). What the F does that have to do with the death of Mercury, or Pontiac, or Oldsmobile, or AMC for that matter.


By afkrotch on 6/4/2010 9:51:23 PM , Rating: 2
The fact that Toyota created a brand new platform for the American public and didn't just take an already existing platform, rebadge it, then charge more for it. Thus not leading to the failure of a random offshoot rebadging company.


By YashBudini on 6/2/2010 11:54:37 PM , Rating: 1
"American Car companies and their stupid rebadges "

So what Ford just did was to say that famous phrase, in perfect english, "We don't need no stinkin' rebadges."


By knutjb on 6/3/2010 12:53:51 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Ford should have never even created Mercury in the first place. WTF is the point of coming out with a new company that sells the exact same crap with some different trim? It's cheaper to sell that trim as options.
Mercury came about in 1939 to fill the gap between Ford and Lincoln. Over the years Fords moved up market impinging on the Mercury's market segment. GM had Pontiac, Chevy, Oldsmobile, Buick, LaSalle, and Cadillac in that order of rank. Then with bean counters pinching pennies the cars blurred their market segments and became redundant.

Ever heard of thinking before you speak...


By Calin on 6/3/2010 7:52:47 AM , Rating: 3
It's like the VW Phaeton - it was built as competition to the high-priced Mercedes (E-Series, S-Series) and (somewhat) BMW large sedans (7-series). Its success was mediocre, as people that bought cars in that price range didn't want a Volkswagen, they wanted a Mercedes.
Changing the perception of a company can take a long time, and Ford wasn't probably seen as "good enough" by many people, and Lincoln was "too expensive" or "for filthy rich people".


By JediJeb on 6/3/2010 2:42:19 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Tell me, WTF was the point of creating Mercury? Could you not just have add-in options for the Ford? Could you not just create new Fords?


Couldn't Toyota just made upscale Toyotas instead of Lexus? Couldn't Honda made upscale Hondas instead of Accura?

You can't apply that thinking only to US car companies, everyone has done it.


By monomer on 6/3/2010 7:24:27 PM , Rating: 2
They did do that. Acura, Lexus, and Infiniti were created solely for the North American market. In Japan, they were all sold under their original brands (Honda NSX, Nissan Skyline, Toyota Aristo).


By afkrotch on 6/4/2010 1:20:56 AM , Rating: 2
No. Importers are limited on how many cars they can bring over to the US. Thus, they created new companies to bring over more cars. Like Toyota and Lexus or Honda and Acura. I don't think Nissan and Infiniti is that way though.

Like the Lexus IS300 was originally the Toyota Altezza. The Scion xB was the Toyota bB. Lexus SC 400 was originally a Toyota Soarer.


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