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Mercury Division - Integral part of its new small-car strategy

Old 7/22/08, 05:24 AM
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Mercury Division - Integral part of its new small-car strategy

http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/07/...ess/22ford.php

In reversal, Ford veers from SUV's



DEARBORN, Michigan: Ford Motor, which devoted itself for nearly 20 years to putting millions of Americans into big pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles, is about to drastically alter its focus to building more small cars.

The struggling automaker, reacting to what it sees as a rapid and permanent shift in consumer tastes brought on by high gas prices, plans to unveil its new direction on Thursday, when it will report quarterly earnings.

Among the changes, Ford is expected to announce that it will convert three of its North American assembly plants from trucks to cars, according to people familiar with the plans.

And as part of the huge bet it is placing on the future direction of the troubled American auto industry, Ford will realign factories to manufacture more fuel-efficient engines and produce six of its next European car models for the United States market.

The company will also end speculation about its Mercury division by making the brand an integral part of its new small-car strategy, according to these people, who spoke on the condition that they not be quoted by name because of the timing of the official announcement on Thursday.
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Old 7/22/08, 06:57 AM
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Personally, this is a mistake! Mercury stores have been bleeding money for years, and have nothing positive other than the Milan and Mariner (Sable doesn't sell well) to show for it. The whole problem is cross competiton with itself! Ford doesn't need this.
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Old 7/22/08, 08:03 AM
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So is Mercury gonna compete with Scion or something?
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Old 7/22/08, 09:24 AM
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This has been a rumor for some time now, and makes sense given the prices of the highest end Ford of Europe models. All the high end versions of any future shared models, which will almost certainly be too expensive to market as a Ford, will likely fall under the Mercury brand. Welcome to the American take on Acura.
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Old 7/22/08, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by 05fordgt View Post
Personally, this is a mistake! Mercury stores have been bleeding money for years, and have nothing positive other than the Milan and Mariner (Sable doesn't sell well) to show for it. The whole problem is cross competiton with itself! Ford doesn't need this.
+1000 to that one. Mercury should be discoved into the Ford and Lincoln brands. No reason to compete with themselves on the same platforms.
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Old 7/22/08, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by StillenMustang07 View Post
+1000 to that one. Mercury should be discoved into the Ford and Lincoln brands. No reason to compete with themselves on the same platforms.
It's the reason why Plymouth and Olds are history and the same reason that they'll be no Firebird when the Camaro comes to market. There is a market niche that would buy a Mercury and wouldn't never buy a Ford, but I don't think that market is big enough to support an entire brand.

Last edited by WaltM; 7/22/08 at 10:14 AM.
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Old 7/22/08, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by StillenMustang07 View Post
+1000 to that one. Mercury should be discoved into the Ford and Lincoln brands. No reason to compete with themselves on the same platforms.
it works quite well for gm. Even though F150 has been top seller forever the silverado and gmc 1500 add up together higher then the F150.

So even though they are technically competeing with themsevles they did manage to sell more then trucks then Ford did under a single name.
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Old 7/22/08, 10:58 AM
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Actually, it worked well for GM, but I don't think its working anymore. Oldsmobile is dead and Buick is almost dead. And I read somewhere that GMC is also in danger.

It worked for Mercury too in the past, but I guess its not working anymore.
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Old 7/22/08, 11:22 AM
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And I don't think that Ford EU has any vehicles left to sell as Mercury.

Fiesta and Focus will be sold as Ford, so will Kuga in the future.
C-Max is too small and S-Max and Galaxy would only be competing against Edge and Flex.

So that leaves us with Ka (too small), Fusion (???) and Mondeo.
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Old 7/22/08, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Red Star View Post
And I don't think that Ford EU has any vehicles left to sell as Mercury.

Fiesta and Focus will be sold as Ford, so will Kuga in the future.
C-Max is too small and S-Max and Galaxy would only be competing against Edge and Flex.

So that leaves us with Ka (too small), Fusion (???) and Mondeo.
Nice hair, Serb politician?

S-Max and Galaxy could pose a danger to the Flex and edge, but they're different enough from what those two offer that I think they could get away with it. There's the Focus Cabrio which could be better served in this country marketed as a stand-alone rather than part of the Focus range.
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Old 7/22/08, 11:57 AM
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None of that is to say I agree. I've moved to neutral ground on this idea over the past couple years:
With greater platform fusion among Global Ford it makes less sense, and I think there's potentially better uses for the Mercury brand if you want to keep the name alive, but I don't want to poo poo it too much until I see some details.
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Old 7/22/08, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Moosetang View Post
Nice hair, Serb politician?
He was a leader of Bosnian Serbs during the war. Got arrested yesterday after everybody were looking for him for over 13 years.
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Old 7/22/08, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Red Star View Post
He was a leader of Bosnian Serbs during the war. Got arrested yesterday after everybody were looking for him for over 13 years.
Oh, that's Radovan Karadžić? Never seen a picture before. That's one wacky do.
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Old 7/22/08, 01:27 PM
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Yep, that's him.
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Old 7/22/08, 01:37 PM
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Back on topic, here's Jalopnik's take on Merc's future:
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Old 7/22/08, 01:43 PM
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God I hope not. Ka is an ugly car with or without that grille.
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Old 7/22/08, 05:54 PM
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Yeah!

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Old 7/22/08, 07:06 PM
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I think the best strategy for Mercury is the one they are actually employing for Ford, but IMO the strategy they seem to be taking could work as well. That said, I've given serious thought to what great Mercury names of the past could be thrown on FOE vehicles myself. If you don't mind I'll borrow your list in the above link for the purpose of some name tweaking?

Originally Posted by Topnotch
MERCURY CAPRI based on the Mazda MX5
MERCURY COMET based on the Ford Focus Coupe-Cabriolet
MERCURY MACRO based on the Ford S-Max
MERCURY MARAUDER based on the FPV Falcon GT
MERCURY MARQUIS based on the Ford Falcon G-Series
MERCURY META based on the Ford Kuga
MERCURY MICRO based on the Ford Ka
MERCURY MONDEO based on the Ford Mondeo
My take on the same.........

MERCURY COMET based on Ford Fiesta Hatchback, and Vert (IMO the Comet name gives the impression of performance and fun...perfect for this little car. And since well over 90% of such a cars customer base are going to have no idea there ever was another Comet any stigma people may worry about wont matter)

MERCURY PUMA based on FOE Fusion (Ford/Mercury's other 'cat' names, including Puma, seem to lend themselves well to crossover suv's. Gives the impression of athleticism and off road prowess without sounding too 'trucky' IMO)

MERCURY METEOR based on Focus Sedan/Hatchback (IMO METEOR gives a youthful and sporty image without sounding low rent....not a bad thing. It also lends itself to some great marketing possibilities, particularly in conjunction with the Comet name)

MERCURY COSMOPOLITAN based on the Ford Focus Coupe-Cabriolet (I think the old Lincoln Cosmo name fits perfectly for what is blatantly a car aimed at women...sounds upscale and gives a premium feel. Guys wont like the name, but then that really shouldn't matter much. All in all another name which should offer great marketing possibilities)

MERCURY LYNX based on FOE Kuga (Keeps the car theme going for crossovers and works as well on this little suv as Puma does on the Fusion IMO)

MERCURY MONTEREY based on the Ford Mondeo (I love this name. I think it has a very upscale feel to it, much like Cosmopolitan, without sounding as 'girly'.....an important aside for this car)

If C Max and S Max are to come over under the Mercury badge in any guise I think the existing names for those vehicles work just fine.

Last edited by jsaylor; 7/22/08 at 07:07 PM.
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Old 7/22/08, 08:51 PM
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J, a good thought, but I just don't see the whole point in doing all that. Say they bring over all the cars you have listed. Now let me ask you, in your idea, do Ford dealers get ANY of them, or just a few of them? If they only get a few of them, that leaves Ford dealers **** out of luck for products that are globally known to everyone on the planet as FORDS!!! The Mercury dealers will get busy, but Ford dealers will be sitting there with their thumbs up their you know what! Not a good idea. Ford dealers themselves need pick me ups, not cars that go to a dead brand! With so many Ford dealers left, and so few Mercury dealers around, this just doesn't make sence IMO.
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Old 7/22/08, 11:58 PM
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Originally Posted by 05fordgt View Post
J, a good thought, but I just don't see the whole point in doing all that. Say they bring over all the cars you have listed. Now let me ask you, in your idea, do Ford dealers get ANY of them, or just a few of them? If they only get a few of them, that leaves Ford dealers **** out of luck for products that are globally known to everyone on the planet as FORDS!!! The Mercury dealers will get busy, but Ford dealers will be sitting there with their thumbs up their you know what! Not a good idea. Ford dealers themselves need pick me ups, not cars that go to a dead brand! With so many Ford dealers left, and so few Mercury dealers around, this just doesn't make sence IMO.
Actually, I think Ford should go a completely different way with the Ford brand which would solve this problem altogether, but we know what we will be getting from Ford and we know European Fords are a part of it.

That said, if the 'rumor' regarding Mercury holds true they wont be getting exactly the same cars Ford does. For example, there are versions of the Focus that, if sold here, would cost well over 20k and I'm not referring to high performance models or the RHT version. There is no way you can fit a C segment vehicle trimmed out in such an expensive manner into an American Ford lineup. You start talking about mainstream Focus sedans that can be loaded out to 24k and you'll blow most consumers right out the front door.

But you could fit a slightly restyled version of the same into a revised, near luxury Mercury lineup. It's still a tight fit, but it actually does make sense and provides genuine differentiation on a meaningful level. Seems like it might be something akin to an American take on Acura truth be told.
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