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Mercury C557
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Discussion Starter #1

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?


:toetap: + :banghead: + :clap: + :facepalm: + :angel +
 

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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.

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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Mercury C557
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Discussion Starter #9
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
...
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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Mercury C557
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Discussion Starter #10
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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Mercury C557
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Discussion Starter #12
Sorry.....

.....but Mercury is DEAD for a GOOD reason. Why can't we let it stay DEAD.
s'ok, A-O-N
we can agree to disagree.

It's just that some of us believe Mercury is worthwhile
(actually way more than merely 'worthwhile')
&
remember that Merc sold 438,000 as recently as 1999
&
thus know that Merc didn't "die", it was "murdered"
&
will never, ever give up wanting it Back!
 

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s'ok, A-O-N
we can agree to disagree.

It's just that some of us believe Mercury is worthwhile
(actually way more than merely 'worthwhile')
&
remember that Merc sold 438,000 as recently as 1999
&
thus know that Merc didn't "die", it was "murdered"
&
will never, ever give up wanting it Back!
We want justice!
 

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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.....

Mercury
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......

Lincoln
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.
 

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syr74,
I like your suggestions, but Ford could take your ideas for Mercury, and simply expand the Mustang line to include all of these for a lot smaller investment. The Mustang has a great reputation, and sorry to say, Mercury was allowed to regress too much before it was killed.
 

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syr74,
I like your suggestions, but Ford could take your ideas for Mercury, and simply expand the Mustang line to include all of these for a lot smaller investment. The Mustang has a great reputation, and sorry to say, Mercury was allowed to regress too much before it was killed.
I thought about that too, and there is obviously an enormous amount of cred that comes with the Mustang name, but I personally don't agree with the notion that the Mercury name is too damaged to work in that regard, here's why. In the end, before Mercury was put down, I don't think the brand had a poor reputation so much as it had almost no reputation, the brands was all but invisible and, in another five years, I think that (sadly) most non enthusiasts will largely just remember that Mercury was here once, is gone now, but won't actually be able to tell you what they did when they were here. Going on that premise, in that regard using the Mercury name on a new lineup would be largely akin to starting a new brand with the only difference being that truly new brands start from absolute zero where Mercury starts from all but absolute zero but, as a bonus, gets a very small nudge from the fact that the enthusiast community remembers the cooler Mercury efforts from the now distant past.

Also, while I think there is some logic in the notion of the Mustang as a 'brand within a brand' which covers more than one car, I'm not sure I would want to see such a brand cover four door model along with the obvious two door model...it just feels like a bridge too far. In fact, I like the idea of the Mustang and Bronco nameplates covering more than one model, I'm just not sure how far from purity you can veer here and still remain in the 'good idea' category. It may well work and work very well, but it also feels like a very big gamble for the nameplate to me.

Still, good to know somebody else at least thinks that Mustang has serious potential as a sub brand that covers more than one car as well.
 

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Mercury C557
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Discussion Starter #19
OY!
my head has been spinning since yesterday with too many vague ideas to post
so
for now
I'm gonna stick with the vehicle I personally WANT
the Focus-based Mercury, called ANYthing but Tracer - my personal preference is to use "Cortina"
(esp since even IF Lincoln eventually gets around to a C-car AND doesn't make it look like "C"rap, as in "C"concept;
the preliminary trims of the new Z make me think I wouldn't find a version I'd like anyway... + I don't really want a push-button-trannie)
&
something else I'd cheerfully KILL for = that it'd have a "dual-back" hatch+trunklid like the Skoda Superb - something I thought would be a great differentiator for all Mercs

(wonder if just posting personal serious-wants would lead to a workable list of models?)
((Andrew,
if you see this, could you envision a Mercury to replace your LS?))


...I personally don't agree with the notion that the Mercury name is too damaged...
...I don't think the brand had a poor reputation so much as it had almost no reputation, the brands was all but invisible...
I'll never forget the excitement that was raised for Mercury
JUST by having Jill Wagner for 'our' spokesperson



&
re: the notion of the Mustang as a 'brand within a brand',
imho
there's enough "pent up desire" for a LincStang (sportsedan & coupe/cabrio)
to simply not look any further for expansion for the foreseeable future
 

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I'll never forget the excitement that was raised for Mercury
JUST by having Jill Wagner for 'our' spokesperson
Ms. Wagner definitely brought some attention to the brand at the very end.

2b2 said:
re: the notion of the Mustang as a 'brand within a brand',
imho
there's enough "pent up desire" for a LincStang (sportsedan & coupe/cabrio)
to simply not look any further for expansion for the foreseeable future
Yeah, if there is a 'no brainer' for Lincoln right now a Mustang-based revival of the Lincoln Mk VII is it.
 
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