What Could Have Been
What 2012 could have been like for Mercury.
April 21, 2011
By: Ross Musick
As the breakup scene of any John Hughes flick will tell you, don't waste your time thinking about the girl after you've lost her. That ship has sailed.
Much like we grow attached to significant others over time, though, we also form emotional attachments to certain cars and brands. As anyone whose even been left high and dry by a lady-friend can tell you, the sudden closure of a favorite automotive marquee can leave you with a coupe-shaped hole in your heart.
After the Great Recession and subsequent near-collapse of the auto industry, fans of the Mercury brand watched as Ford brass announced that the nameplate would be no more. While rumors of Mercury's pending death had been swirling for years, the company's recent announcements about a new brand strategy seemed to be the salvation that fans were hungry for.
The last Mercury, a Grand Marquis sedan, was produced in January of this year.
Before the execution, however, Ford management had made allusions to a new strategy for Mercury; to stock the brand with "premium" subcompact and compact models. The first fruit of this plan was to be the 2012 Tracer, a version of the new-for-2012 global Ford Focus.
I don't doubt Ford's reasoning for killing the brand: Mercury had always suffered from a severe identity crisis, sometimes being sportier models, sometimes more luxurious, and for the last 20 years, mostly rebadged Fords. With the skyrocketing public perception (and accompanying ATP's) of the Ford brand, Mercury just didn't make a lot of sense.
Like a teenager with a first taste of love, though, let's take a look back at what might have been. Let's say Ford fleshed out their plan for a new, succinct lineup of premium compacts and subcompacts. What should they have done? Here's how this blogger sees it:
Purpose: To offer uniquely styled, technology advanced, expressive array of B- and C-segment coupes, sedans, and hatchbacks.
Concept: TRON-inspired futurism blended with cutting-edge technology, offering styling and interior appointments that are more expressive than their Ford brethren.
Tracer: Focus-based range of sedan and hatchbacks. Available hybrid and PEV power packs. Would likely share greenhouse and interior hard points with Focus, though would receive unique front and rear clips, dash skin and trim.
Capri: Focus-based coupe and convertible.
Comet: Fiesta-based 3 door and 5 door hatchback. Shared greenhouse with Fiesta, unique front and rear clips, and interior.
Propel: 5 seat MPV based off the SWB C-Max. Shared greenhouse, unique front and rear clips, and interior.
So, what do you think? What would you like to see?