a New MERCURY riddle/heresy - Ford Inside News Community
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post #1 of 31 (permalink) Old 07-15-2012, 11:40 PM Thread Starter
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a New MERCURY riddle/heresy


this is a precursor/foreshadowing for a Mission 2020: Mercury! thread that I've been 1/2 pondering, 1/2 threatening...

prompted largely by
the trucks in the LincStang thread
a lot of Lincoln-talk in the "ngM" nextgen Mustang thread
& some thought-provoking posts
in the Buick Adam thread at GMI
plus various threads on
BON, here's an example

to wit:
* saw a Lot of apologies for posting "heresy"
* imho Mercury used to do a Lot of what GM has tried to accomplish, at one time or another, with Buick, Opel, Pontiac, & Saturn ... and is STILL trying
* I wonder if what WE are "cross-posting" about in not-quite-appropriate threads on FiN, may point to a need that Mercury might fill better than either Ford or Lincoln
* the recurring question of expanding a lineup or Brand vs (re)opening a sales channel/Brand to focus on those needs
* paraphrasing, "...you WILL buy a Brand, despite any protestations, if at the right price point, the right car for you were only/best available from that Brand..."

recapping:
- a lower-powered, more-affordable Mustang-like car
- a utility pickup-car...of whatever luxury level
- a pony-based sedan
- smaller than 'usual' lux/premium vehicles
- vehicles that Ford & Lincoln don't offer anymore-or-yet (Tbird, Lincoln "C" car)
- vehicles with new/alternative styling that may not suit established Brands
+ any other 'heresy' vehicles

thus the riddle(s):
Could (some of) the above vehicular needs be the basis for a profitable 3rd Brand from Fomoco?
Which 'niches'/'heresies' would work well together as a cohesive lineup?
&
Could that Brand be a reborn Mercury?


+ + + + +

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post #2 of 31 (permalink) Old 07-16-2012, 02:18 PM
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Re: a New MERCURY riddle/heresy

Personally I wish Mercury was still on the market. To me Mercury should be the competitor for Buick, Acura, Infinity and other near luxury brands. Lincoln could focus on only the top tier brands.
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post #3 of 31 (permalink) Old 07-16-2012, 09:54 PM
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Re: a New MERCURY riddle/heresy

This is a double edged sword imo.

Think about it, we can partially blame Toyota, Honda, and Nissan for this in a strange way if you think about it... they were the first ones to start with the 2 brand strategy in the late 80s / early 90s. This made the in between brands / step up brands irrelevant because a Toyota offers it why doesn't a comparable Ford, Chevy, or Plymouth/Dodge offer it? Oh you have to step up to another brand?? It also can be blamed on parent companies for neglecting their brands. Look at how long Plymouth was irrelevant. Look at how DIFFERENT the US automotive landscape is now.

Lets go back to 1995

Ford:
Ford (since 1903) - Entry level and Performance
Mercury (since 1939) - Entry level Luxury
Lincoln (since 1922) - Luxury
Jaguar/Land Rover (since 1989) - High End Luxury
Aston Martin (since 1991) - Ultra

General Motors:
Geo (since 1989) - Entry level
Chevrolet (since 1911) - Entry level
Saturn (since 1990) - Entry level
Pontiac (since 1926) - Entry level and Performance
GMC (since 1909) - Trucks
Hummer (since 1992) - Trucks
Oldsmobile (since 1908) - Entry level Luxury
Buick (since 1908) - Entry level Luxury
Cadillac (since 1909) - Luxury

Chrysler:
Plymouth (since 1928) - Entry level
Dodge (since 1928) - Entry level and Performance
Eagle (since 1988) - Performance
Jeep (since 1987) - Trucks
Chrysler (since 1925) - Luxury

When looking at this and comparing it to Toyota/Lexus and Honda/Acura and Nissan/Infiniti you can see there is a TON of overlap. Was there a point to GEO? What could GEO offer that Chevy couldn't? What could Plymouth offer that Dodge couldn't? What could Mercury offer that Lincoln couldn't?

My first car was a Mercury. I always though Mercurys were pretty cool growing up because they offered unique styling that was, in most cases, better than Ford.

Now we look at the landscape its very different.

Ford:
Ford (since 1903) - Entry level, Entry level Luxury, and Performance
Lincoln (since 1922) - Luxury

General Motors:
Chevrolet (since 1911) - Entry level and Performance
GMC (since 1909) - Trucks
Buick (since 1908) - Entry level Luxury
Cadillac (since 1909) - Luxury

FIAT/Chrysler:
FIAT (since 2009) - Entry level
Dodge (since 1928) - Entry level and Performance
RAM (since 2008) - Trucks
Jeep (since 1987) - Trucks
Chrysler (since 1925) - Luxury

There is still a quite a bit of overlap here, but with Ford its now offering so much more. That is why we see a Fusion start at 22,000 and max out at 38,000, but if you take a look at a comparable Camry we start at 22,000 and max out at about 35,000. It is a similar strategy. Ford cannot decontent it self just to make Mercury look good because then it is not competitive with Toyota. On the flip side it scary to see a 38,000 FORD, but it is something we have to get past, throw out the old way of thinking.

If Mercury were to come back it would have to TRULY offer something that Ford and Lincoln cannot. What would it be? Would it be so far off the track that it would not be what Mercury was founded for? At this point then why call it a Mercury?

Just my 2 cents.

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post #4 of 31 (permalink) Old 07-16-2012, 10:15 PM
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Re: a New MERCURY riddle/heresy

Ford mistake was making Lincoln FWD luxury vehicles that could have been Mercury. Also Mercury was supposed to be the Buick competitor, so Ford problem is not making Lincoln a high end Luxury brand that it should of positioned it self when Jaguar was sold.
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post #5 of 31 (permalink) Old 07-17-2012, 09:31 AM
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Re: a New MERCURY riddle/heresy

Mercury really lost their purpose way back in the late seventies. Before then, Mercury would take a Ford platform, stretch the wheelbase & length, give it a better interior, unique exterior, and offer a few more engine choices. When the gas crisis and EPA regulations hit, automakers spent most of their resources trying to meet these requirments, and the fewer the variations, the better. By the eighties, Mercury was left with standard Ford platforms, and had to settle on design and features to make a difference. As the eighties drifted into the nineties, unique design faded into unique badge and trim. Years later it was discontinued, and unfortunately, only the end is remembered by most people.

I see three strikes against a Mercury Rising.

1. Structure of dealerships has changed.
2. One Ford wordwide has made anything unique a virtual sin.
3. The Mercury name is still strapped with the "just a little nicer trim of Ford" stigma.
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post #6 of 31 (permalink) Old 07-17-2012, 10:27 AM
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Re: a New MERCURY riddle/heresy

The MKS, current MKZ(not 2013) and MKX would have made for the perfect Mercury allowing Lincoln to move higher up or should I say Reach Higher??.

There is opportunity here to reinvent Mercury now that it's on a temporary(?) vacation. It can be more than a fancy Ford as in the past. I guess the plan was to end Mercury, fix Lincoln then bring Mercury back? But what about all the payouts spent to shut the Mercury dealerships? That money could have been used to fix Mercury instead.

Of course if Mercury were to come back from the dead, the Brand would have to be a stand alone or sold through with Ford dealerships and NOT go back to being a Lincoln Mercury Division. Lincoln is finally headed in the right direction even if the process is slow and we still don't know the full plan.
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post #7 of 31 (permalink) Old 07-17-2012, 01:17 PM
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Re: a New MERCURY riddle/heresy

Rigth now Ford is half entry level, and half entry level luxury brand. The Titanium trim in Focus, Fiesta, Escape and Fusion lines are really luxury vehicles.Some of this premium Fords ( like the Taurus SHO or the FlexTtitanium or F-150 Limited ) are competitive with Audi, Acura and Buick Perhaps, they need some distintion: maybe different grilles or more changes in the bodies to differentiat them from the other models. Lincoln need, desperatetly, be a real luxury brand, with RWD cars, a coupe and convertible, a proper flagship/limousine and 2 or 3 Crossover/SUVs really competitive with the luxury offer from infiniti, Lexus and Mercedes Benz. A premium small car wil be needed soon, too, to compete with Mini, and the small cars from Mercedes, BMW and Lexus

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post #8 of 31 (permalink) Old 07-17-2012, 10:09 PM
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Re: a New MERCURY riddle/heresy

Lincoln is glaring guilty of everything Mercury supposedly got killed for doing. It had been run into the ground with blatant stupidity...yet, still outperformed Lincoln on any given month.

I still think Ford was horribly wrong to kill the division, when they could have repositioned it a hair and really moved Lincoln upmarket...IF, and only IF, they'd been willing to really spend money to make Lincoln unique.

Sadly, I don't control the brand and product decisions in Dearborn. With all due respect to Bill and Alan (which is quite a bit), they've made some poor decisions regarding both Mercury and rwd.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cobra#1 View Post
Ford mistake was making Lincoln FWD luxury vehicles that could have been Mercury. Also Mercury was supposed to be the Buick competitor, so Ford problem is not making Lincoln a high end Luxury brand that it should of positioned it self when Jaguar was sold.
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post #9 of 31 (permalink) Old 07-17-2012, 11:22 PM Thread Starter
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Re: a New MERCURY riddle/heresy

imho the "Titanium BRAND", to a large extent, IS Mercury
(just a touch of alchemy transmuting one metal into another (look up "iosis"))
plus
the F-Awd Lincolns UNDENIABLY could have kept the Merc logo
(imho)
But enough history (it's too depressing)
what about the future? ...thinking near 2020
Quote:
Originally Posted by Logans Run View Post
...
1. Structure of dealerships has changed.

3. The Mercury name is still strapped with the "just a little nicer trim of Ford" stigma.
1. the dealer situation has been IMPROVED imho with fewer of them
& more changes are still needed imho (gruesome smileys omitted)
3. imho only carfans have much idea about Merc, AND Great Balls of Fire...to be a bit nicer than a modern FORD! is practically saying it'd have to be Full Lux/Sport - prolley Audi-minimum imho or for RWD then Cadillac!! That's really the only GM Brand that beats the Ford BRAND imho.

but
I see 2 needs or category of needs for the U.S. market
an "alternative" group of vehicles, starting higher in price than BASE Fords and NOT getting as hoity-toity as Lincoln's facebook page tries to be. Part of the impetus for this thread was all the posts asking for vehicles that Ford/Lincoln just don't deliver.
a real entry-CHEAP Brand to entice people away from buying used...
...with maybe a Luddite trim-option for those who just don't care if their CAR can duplicate the gizmos in their pockets OR the gizmos they don't even want IN their pockets. Part of the impetus for this thread was all the posts asking for vehicles that Ford/Lincoln just don't deliver.

kinda wondering if platforms could be found that could serve as the basis for a 2nd duality, like a uniformly lower-cost FordLincoln without any of their heritage (which an be a negative as well as a positive imho)
ex:
a Bronco? that could be bone-basic thru nice-but-not-fussy

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post #10 of 31 (permalink) Old 07-17-2012, 11:28 PM Thread Starter
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Re: a New MERCURY riddle/heresy

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZanatWork View Post
Lincoln is glaring guilty of everything Mercury supposedly got killed for doing. It had been run into the ground with blatant stupidity...yet, still outperformed Lincoln on any given month.

I still think Ford was horribly wrong to kill the division, when they could have repositioned it a hair and really moved Lincoln upmarket...IF, and only IF, they'd been willing to really spend money to make Lincoln unique.

Sadly, I don't control the brand and product decisions in Dearborn. With all due respect to Bill and Alan (which is quite a bit), they've made some poor decisions regarding both Mercury and rwd.
AMEN!

tho need to point out Lincoln, as well as Mercury, is really just a "sales channel"
the stupidity/insanity is Fomoco's

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