Friday, May 28, 2010

Mercury Brand To End Edsel Ford Legacy

Plans Scraped - The all-new 2011 Mercury Cougar will come with three engine choices and two powertrain choices currently offered. The base engine for the Cougar is Ford's new Duratec 3.7-liter dual-overhead cam V6 engine that will deliver around 305 horsepower and supposed to get 19 and 30 mpg on city and the highway respectively. Originally, the Mercury Cougar was introduced ton consumers in 1967 as an upscale Ford Mustang. The Cougar shared the same platform as the Mustang from 1967 to 1973 when the Cougar was shifted over to the Ford Torino platform in 1974. In 1977, the Cougar and Thunderbird were redesigned and shared the same platforms from 1977 to 1997. Finally, in 1999, the Cougar was redesigned again and downsized to the CDW27 platform and which ran until 2002. Image Credit:

Mercury Brand To End Edsel Ford Legacy

It began as a response to General Motors Co.'s strategy of building a "Ladder" of brand nameplates so that as a customer grew in income and status, so would his choice of GM car. It was a strategy of customer retention, automobile culture development, and corporate growth that propelled GM to pass ford as the world's largest automobile manufacturer.

Mercury, which began life as a responsive idea from Edsel Ford, the son of the founder of Ford Motor Company, Henery Ford, now joins the dust heap of cultural nameplates that carried its own identification just to hear the sound of the name, like Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Plymouth, Saturn, and this is just since the turn of this century!

The 1967 Cougar was based on that year's refaced first-generation Mustang, but with a 3 inch (76 mm) longer wheelbase and new sheet metal. A full-width divided grille with hidden headlamps and vertical bars defined the front fascia—it was sometimes called the electric shaver grille. At the rear, a similar treatment saw the license plate surrounded on both sides with vertically slatted grillework concealing taillights (with sequential turn signals), a styling touch taken from the Thunderbird. A deliberate effort was made to give the car a more "European" flavor than the Mustang, at least to American buyers' eyes. Aside from the base model and the luxurious XR-7, only one trim package was available for either model: the sporty GT. The XR-7 model brought a wood-grained steering wheel, a simulated wood-grained dashboard with a full set of black-faced competition instruments and toggle switches, an overhead console, a T-type center automatic transmission shifter, and leather or vinyl seats. The GT package, meanwhile, supplied a much larger engine, Ford's 390 in³ (6.4 L) FE-series big block to replace the small-block 289 in³ (4.7 L) standard powerplant. Along with this came an upgraded suspension to handle the extra weight of the big engine and give better handling, more powerful brakes, better tires and a low-restriction exhaust system. The Cougar was Motor Trend magazine's Car of the Year for 1967 [ht: Wikipedia]. Image Credit: Eric English

"Mercury is a brand that has lost its meaning in the American automotive marketplace and it isn't worth trying to change that," CEO Jeremy Anwyl said in a statement.

Mercury was supposed to give Ford a mid-priced car that fit between the more pedestrian and inexpensive Ford models and its more luxurious brand, Lincoln. For several decades that strategy seemed to work, with Mercury, especially with breakout models such as the Cougar and the popular Marquis selling well.

As of 2006, one can buy a DeLorean DMC12 built from the ground up using a combination of new, original and reproduction parts for around $42,500, while un-restored but good condition vehicles run from about US$20,000 upwards. Businessman Stephen Wynne has purchased all the remaining parts for the car and plans to build them in Houston. Image Credit:

So Mercury joins all of the other nameplates on the pile that also include Studebaker, Hudson, Packer, Nash, American Motors ... which included the models of Rambler, Pacer, Javelin, Marlin, Ambassador, Spirit, and Hornet ... with Tucker and DeLorean thrown in for good measure.

Today, the only place one might find a Cougar would be as a principle character on a TV sitcom, or trouble on a cruise.

... notes from The EDJE

(ht: WSJ/Bloomberg)

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