Some good friends of mine called today, they were out car shopping. They had just shopped the Malibu Maxx hatch/wagon from Chevrolet, and wanted to know what would compare favorably to it. Now in this price range, the low $20k's there's not much to compare to the flexability of the Maxx. With it's much improved 3.5L V-6, sliding rear seat, large hatch opening and low price, the Chevy seems to be without much head to head competition.
Sure the Mazda6 has a 5 door liftback, and is available with the 221 hp V6, but what else is out there? I thought of Honda, Toyota and Nissan, but they have no 5 doors or wagons in this size. The VW Jetta wagon, is no longer I believe, and none of the other Europeans can compete in this price range. Subarus, would be a natural choice with the Legacy, right? No their prices run several thousand dollars higher.
Really, the Mazda6 liftback and Sport Wagon are the only two within the price range and size, that aren't a mini ute. Even our friends from Korea don't offer wagons, depending on the mini suvs, like the Sante Fe and Tuscon. So your only choices are the Mazda twins and the Malibu Maxx.
So here's another oportunity for Mercury. Since Ford dealers have the FreeStyle, and soon the Edge, but Mercury will have neither, why not give the Milan either a 5 door or wagon version? Or better yet, both. Admitedly this segment is not a huge one, but why let Chevy and Mazda have it all to themselves ? If the "Way Forward" is supposed to "Inovative," why not take the chance, especially with the lower volume brand? If it fails, which it won't, you only slightly compromise a model, that is a wallflower. If it hits big, you invigorate a brand that suffers now anyway. It's a gamble, but it's not a disaster waiting to happen.
Hey, here's a question. If Ford uses any of my ideas, can I ask for a percentage? Or do you think they have a few brain cells still working around Dearborn, and may come to this conclusion on their own?