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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 afkrotch on 6/4/2010 9:43:57 PM , Rating: 2
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.

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.

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.

"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson

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