Re: a New MERCURY riddle/heresy
After giving it some thought over time, I think the best fit for Mercury was and still is as a rwd sport sedan brand to counter the genuine luxury car approach of a well executed Lincoln division. Lexus has proven that trying to accomplish both ends with the same brand just isn't workable, and as Lincoln makes a lot more sense as a luxury brand given their history and image I think casting Mercury as a sporting, rwd brand to fend off the 1-Series, 3-Series, C-Class, and A-4's of this world makes a lot of sense. For a quick example of how the two brands could work together you could have.....
1: Roughly E30-sized rwd sedan/hatchback as the entry-level Mercury offering (such a small platform could also easily lend itself to a Miata-esque sports car for Ford, Mercury, or both and a Capri revival to slot in below the next Mustang)
2: Roughly E46-sized rwd sedan as the mid-level Mercury offering (could easily be Mustang based)
3: Roughly E39 5-Series-sized rwd sedan as the largest, and top of the line Mercury offering (a stretched Mustang platform seems a natural here)
.....then Lincoln could offer......
1: A Focus based retractable hardtop fwd based model produced, primarily, for the ladies.
2: Fusion-based fwd based sedan as we have now with the MKZ (could we have real names gain please?)
3: lwb MKZ based fwd model on the wheelbase of the upcoming Taurus replacement
4: Convertible and coupe versions of the MKZ.
5: A new 'Continental' with rwd aluminum intensive platform to make use of all that money spent on R&D in the 90's, about the size of the lwb S Class sedan we get here in the US but lighter.
6: A long wheelbase Continental sedan, about the size of the Bentley Continental Flying Spur, yet again rwd.
7: A Continental coupe and convertible, once more rwd.
That only covers sedans, but the above two brands couldn't be more different if they tried. You have more coverage above than just about any current premium brand, but none of the confusion that comes with trying to cover every base, luxury and sport, under one moniker.
Heck, even the best model names from these brands fit these two basic outlines, it's like it was meant to be. For 1, 2, and 3 in the Mercury lineup you could break out names like Comet, Meteor, and Monterey; and if you decided to do a coupe version of number 3, you've always got Cougar waiting in the wings. For number 1 in the Lincoln lineup Cosmopolitan fairly screams 'pick me', and for 2, 3, and 4 Zephyr, Zephyr Executive, and Zephyr LSC are no brainers. And of course; Continental, Continental Executive, and Continental LSC are an easy slam dunk for 5, 6, and 7....the choices here are so obvious you almost don't have to put thought into it, I'm literally coming up with this as I type.
Even the history of these two brands is telling you where they naturally fit within the market, I think Ford should listen.
Just my two cents.