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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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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 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 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 on 6/3/2010 9:50:12 AM , Rating: 1

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 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 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 on 6/3/2010 1:53:36 PM , Rating: 2
I'll add, this is badge engineering in detail:

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.

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...

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 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 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 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
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.

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
Except, sometimes they are designed specifically for the US market.

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.

"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke

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