one of my favorite metaphors for Mercury has been
the 'hole' in Ford's corporate-DONUTso here's how I'd start to change that neglected center part into the Heart of a new F.M.L.
2008cy / 2009my Mercury lineup - in addition to Milan, Sable, Mariner, & Mountaineer:
Milanetto / XR3 / Capri - based on the '08 Focus
- body styles: I'd love to see hatches for both 2 & 4 doors but that might have to wait for C2. CAPRI would have a BAMR (big ass moonroof aka Vistaroof) standard, with future versions having a complete Sliding-Glass roof (probably 2 pieces that lower over the rear windshield).
- engines: 2.3 at least, hopefully the new 2.5 4cyl & a smaller displacement turbo for the XR3 sport model
- trannies: I don't know if a manumatic is possible (Mazda?) but if it is that would be sole offering for the first year. Hopefully the PowerShift/DSG Getrags will be available soon.
The Milanettos are intended to meet-or-beat the Mazda3's AND Jetta (& eventually/maybe the TSX & ...)
MetaSpace - CD3 people'n'stuff mover(s)
5 passenger - built in Hermosillo, based on the Milan
7 passenger - built in Oakville, based on the Mazda CX-9
but using as much of the same Milan-ish body as possible, these would be narrower and lighter than the Edge/MKX or Taurus-X.
Other differences: the 5 pass. would be about the same length as the Milan, ie longer than Edge/MKX; & the 7 pass. wouldn't be quite as long as the Taurus-X.
MetaSpaces would be marketed as 2 'flavors' of a single 'model'
and along with the Milan sedan,
would look at least as similar as the CX-7/CX-9.
note: This is a somewhat simplified version of my CUV proposal - if only one version is economically feasible, I'd vote for the 7 pass. version... but really prefer the two-fer approach, at Least!)
Panthers - since all models are concentrated at St. Thomas (& they've only built 114.7" and 120.7" wheelbases in the past), I'm reserving the largest as TC-exclusive and adding the 117.7" to Mercury (If STAP can also build the 123.7" wlb, then all 4 sizes can be utilized):
XR8 - 114.7" wlb, under 200" ovl, with a chopped-tail short trunk (that I'd love to be a hatch but...) = sport model
- 3valve 4.6v8 +DI +CVVT, approx 340~350hp
Marquis - 114.7" wlb, 207" ovl, with 'regular' trunk = deluxe family sedan
- 3.5v6 +DI, approx 285hp
Grand Marquis - 117.7" wlb, 210" ovl, " " " = premium sedan ("baby Lincoln")
- 3valve 4.6v8, just over 300hp
optional on all - 3.5v6 hybrid, approx 300hp
tranny: 6 speed manumatic Only
These three would share as much of their New sheetmetal as possible with the upgraded/restyled TC;
but the CV and any other 'Commercial Vehicle' would continue to use as much of the old/current sheetmetal as possible...
so there would be 2 distinct varieties of Panthers (more on this in future threads).
A lot of the rationale for the 3 Mercury Panthers has to do with maintaining platform-variations for commercial sales AND providing some additional volume for the renewed TC. Any sales of the BigMercs is almost a side-effect; yet the extra efforts of making 3 models is KEY to the choice-multiplicity that is part of my "Tailored for Mercury, Tailored for You" marketing theme... as well as 'setting the stage' for a new Rwd lineup when Huntsman & BOSS arrive.
note: the Marquis and Grand Marquis would Not try to Look different - the drivetrains and features would make for a Real difference and the 'stealth' nature of the GM is part of its appeal imho.
The Milanetto(s) and MetaSpace(s) would debut at the Chicago Autoshow AS THEY ARE ARRIVING AT THE DEALERS!!!
The XR8, Marquis, & GM would have some sort of Preview (partial cars, cutaway bodies, dis-embodied interiors as seating/rest areas, silhouette projections?) along with drivetrain specs and dimensions...
...and go on sale ASAP after the show (for some reason, I have a feeling they couldn't be ready before ...June?... Anyway, intro'ing One each month during the Summer sounds good to me).
Conclusion: 2008 marks the next step of Mercury's rebirth by doubling their number of offerings, built off existing platforms...
...just making as-much-as & the-best-that they can with what's available.
Next post I'll deal with the arrival of global plaforms (which gets a bit more adventurous).