Monday, April 04, 2005

Mercury Cougar and Capri and the death of Mercury

Do you remember the last version of the Mercury Cougar from 1999 to 2002?
That was a nice little car, maybe not the beast from the 60's but still a nice car.
I remember hearing about an S version that was to get the 3.0 L V-6 to replace the 2.5. With 200 hp and a little suspension tuning, this could have been a very attractive alternative to the Mitsubishi Eclipse. Some young people have picked this up and there seems to be a new move to modify these sporty coupes.

Why did Ford kill this car?

What about the last Mercury Capri convertible? Ford's answer to the Miata.
While not as sporting as the Miata, it did find a market. With some work this could have been quite a little rocket. The turbo charged engine from the Mazda 323 GTX would have fit with little modification. What about the all wheel drive system from the same GTX? There was potential there.

The Cougar was based on the Ford Contour/Mercury Mystique which were in themselves based on the European Ford Mondeo. The Capri was based off the Australian Ford Laser which in turn was based on Mazda 323 mechanicals.

While neither were huge sellers, they were models exclusive to Mercury that generated foot traffic to the dealerships. I can't understand how Ford could have dropped these two great little cars, which could have rejuvenated the Mercury brand. What does Mercury have now?
Just a bunch of rebadged Fords, the Grand Marquis is a Crown Victoria, the Sable is a Taurus, the Montego is a Five Hundred, the Mountaineer is an explorer, and the Mariner is an Escape.
Mercury has no soul, no "Halo" car to set it apart. Ford has always mistreated this brand.
Is it time to say goodbye to Mercury? Ford doesn't seem willing to put any effort into saving it.

You can't just slap that waterfall grille on a Ford and expect people to pay a premium.

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