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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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American Car companies and their stupid rebadges
By afkrotch on 6/2/2010 8:03:25 PM , Rating: -1
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.

Buy this Ford. For $3000 extra, we'll give you better stereo, leather seats, and some gay Mercury badges, instead of Ford.

How about Chevy and GMC? Dodge, Chrysler, Eagle, and Plymouth? No one else does these stupid things.




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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