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SOURCE: LeftLaneNews.com

Report: Ford of Europe designing future Mercury model

Ford’s Mercury division has been devoid of any new models for several years now – with suppliers revealing there is nothing in the pipeline beyond 2011 — prompting several rumors that Ford is planning to kill off its once-proud marque. But Ford has been consistent in its backing of Mercury, and a new report seems to confirm the Blue Oval’s allegiance.

According to Automotive News, Ford has handed over the reins for a future Mercury model to its European division. Ford has gone on record that the ‘new’ Mercury will consist of premium small cars, and it looks as though this is the first step towards that goal. And since Ford has no plans to sell its Mercury brand in Europe, the new model is expected to be headed State side.

But fans of Ford of Europe shouldn’t get too overly excited. While the next Mercury model will have strong European roots, it will not be a completely new model.
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Mercury = Saturn?
 

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old Mercury= Oldsmobile
new Mercury= original Saturn
Current Saturn= Oldsmobile

Strange huh?
So, may be if GM rename Saturn as Oldsmobile all will be well with the world?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Mercury = Saturn?
No, I dont think that this will mean that Mercury = Saturn and FoMoCo is taking a page from GM's book exactly.

Mercury is slated to get a range of about three or four products that will range from the low end of the market to the mid-sized segment. Those market segments are all areas where Ford of Europe either has full responsibility for creating these products for the rest of the Ford Empire or significant influence. So this isn't really surprising.

However, that doesn't mean that the next Mondeo will replace the Milan directly. Alan Mulally has stated that Ford's will have a common look world wide and share paltforms, components, design, etc. Since he assumed the CEO role, he has pretty much drilled this point home.

That means that the next Focus will look like the European versioin. Same may hold true for the Mondeo and the Fusion, the Kuga and the Escape, etc.

However, one area that probably will NOT match up exactly are the interiors. While I have no doubt that Ford of NA will step up their game in the area of interior design, materials fit, and finish - I doubt that they'll be as rich as their Ford of Europe in this respect.

However, this is where Mercury would step in. In this news that Ford of Europe will have some responsibility for Mercury, I believe that they'll create unique looking exteriors that are different from the normal Ford of Europe products. Afterall, if Mulally gets his way, then Ford's Europe cars will look like Ford badged North American products - it wouldn't make sense to make them exactly alike.

But what may be carried over are the interiors. Ford of North America can probably get away with charging a few dollars more for the interiors found in most Ford fo Europe products if they are badged as Mercurys. So while the exteriors will probably look different, the interiors may stay close to their Ford Europe cousins.
 

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However, one area that probably will NOT match up exactly are the interiors. While I have no doubt that Ford of NA will step up their game in the area of interior design, materials fit, and finish - I doubt that they'll be as rich as their Ford of Europe in this respect.
Interiors will be the same. It costs MUCH less to simply have a common interior of soft-touch foam-plastic than it is to engineer both a soft-touch foamy plastic dash, and an injection-molded Tupperware dash.

The main difference will be suspension tuning and feature content. HIDs on a Fiesta? Probably not, at least not for the Ford version. The Euro suspension tune will still be available (think Sport model or trim), but the normal models will be somewhat looser.
 

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So, may be if GM rename Saturn as Oldsmobile all will be well with the world?
The "new" Saturns should of took on the Opel name instead. Saturn still has its heritage as the small, plastic, dent resistent cars. Nothing like the ones they have today. Plus this Mercury thing is not the same. The next Aura is supposed to be a completely different car than the Insignia. Oldsmobile was going no where, using that name the cars would still go no where.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Interiors will be the same. It costs MUCH less to simply have a common interior of soft-touch foam-plastic than it is to engineer both a soft-touch foamy plastic dash, and an injection-molded Tupperware dash.
I hope you are right. I've heard them say time and again they couldn't make money on it and things were either altered or the materials were dumbed down. Either way, this is refreshing news.
The main difference will be suspension tuning and feature content. HIDs on a Fiesta? Probably not, at least not for the Ford version. The Euro suspension tune will still be available (think Sport model or trim), but the normal models will be somewhat looser.
That's fine, as long as the rest of the vehicle carries over.

As for Mercury, I hope that they do it justice. If all we get is a Focus with a waterfall grille, I'd be disappointed. In fact if Ford of Europe is responsible for future designs, I hope they come up with a different look than the waterfall grille. Its getting tired. And the fact that Lincoln has traditionally been sold with their own version of a waterfall grille - and now a 'split wing' waterfall grille - right alongside similar looking Mercurys makes even less sense. I'd love to see something NEW that will grab the public's attention.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
The "new" Saturns should of took on the Opel name instead. Saturn still has its heritage as the small, plastic, dent resistent cars. Nothing like the ones they have today. Plus this Mercury thing is not the same. The next Aura is supposed to be a completely different car than the Insignia.
Its funny you bring this up and point out "what's in a name"

A buddy of mine who knows a thing or two about cars (or at least he thinks he does) was talking to me about the GM/Chrysler merger proposal, etc. He brought up Saturn and wondered how it would fit in a "new GM Chrysler Motors", etc.

A few minutes into the conversation he kept talking about how Saturn was at "the low-end of the market for bargain buyers" or was great for parents with their "polymer panels" etc.

I obviously corrected him: Saturn is now positioned someplace between Pontiac and Buick; and Saturn's do NOT have polymer panels any longer.

But the point was made. Even after 2 or 3 years of the "new, relaunched Saturn" the image that people have of the car - whether it's their market position or the types of cars they sell - has remained intact. After hundreds of millions in advertising and over $3 billion in launching a slate of new products for Saturn, people still don't understand what the new products or values of Saturn are - and that's not just sad, its depressing.

But the larger point is made: If someone who knows a few things about cars doesn't know or understand Saturns new direction - if these points in the repositioning or product image haven't been established - then how can the wider car buying public truly "GET" what the new Saturn is about?

Just an observation on my part - and may point to what kind of troubles the brand may experience in the near future.
 

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Its funny you bring this up and point out "what's in a name"

But the point was made. Even after 2 or 3 years of the "new, relaunched Saturn" the image that people have of the car - whether it's their market position or the types of cars they sell - has remained intact. After hundreds of millions in advertising and over $3 billion in launching a slate of new products for Saturn, people still don't understand what the new products or values of Saturn are - and that's not just sad its depressing.

But the larger point is made: If someone who knows a few things about cars doesn't know or understand Saturns new direction - if these points in the repositioning or product image haven't been established - then how can the wider car buying public truly "GET" what the new Saturn is about?
Problem is Saturn marketed themselves as the little dent resistant car company for years and their new ad campaign has no stand out message to change that image. I always think of Saturn as the offical car for geeks and hippies. The new models don't fit that, but the old ones did. Many don't like to admit that, but if you think about it you know that its true. I know I couldn't drive a Sky due to the Saturn name, but I'd kill for a Solstice. Now if it were an Olds Sky, I could be sold one (but would still lean toward the Pontiac) and if it were an Opel, no question asked, I'd have no preconcieved ideas that would stop me from buying and I'd probably take it over the Pontiac.
 

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I hope you are right. I've heard them say time and again they couldn't make money on it and things were either altered or the materials were dumbed down. Either way, this is refreshing news.

That's fine, as long as the rest of the vehicle carries over.

As for Mercury, I hope that they do it justice. If all we get is a Focus with a waterfall grille, I'd be disappointed. In fact if Ford of Europe is responsible for future designs, I hope they come up with a different look than the waterfall grille. Its getting tired. And the fact that Lincoln has traditionally been sold with their own version of a waterfall grille - and now a 'split wing' waterfall grille - right alongside similar looking Mercurys makes even less sense. I'd love to see something NEW that will grab the public's attention.
Every Mercury-ized FoE Kinetic vehicle I've seen with a waterfall grill has looked truly awful. They need to figure out some new design cues for the grill that are actually in harmony with the rest of the design.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Problem is Saturn marketed themselves as the little dent resistant car company for years and their new ad campaign has no stand out message to change that image. I always think of Saturn as the offical car for geeks and hippies. The new models don't fit that, but the old ones did. Many don't like to admit that, but if you think about it you know that its true. I know I couldn't drive a Sky due to the Saturn name, but I'd kill for a Solstice. Now if it were an Olds Sky, I could be sold one (but would still lean toward the Pontiac) and if it were an Opel, no question asked, I'd have no preconcieved ideas that would stop me from buying and I'd probably take it over the Pontiac.
Absolutely. The fact is that marketing matters - and it lingers even when what was once true is no longer a reality.

Look at Olds. At one time they sold over 1 million cars a year and they had an enormous following. Then things began to change, their share dwindled, and GM needed to act to repair their image. They came out with the, "This isn't your father's Oldsmobile" tagline and it hurt more than they could have imagined. And instead of rebounding sales, it helped to push them further in the tank. Even after the campaign ended and a new one was adopted, people would still say that tagline over and over again. It stuck and it HURT Olds more in the end than any bumbled product launches could.

Perception is always reality - and that's more true in the car industry than in some other businesses.

Take a look at this 2001 article from Research Insights on Olds to an interesting take on it.

But today, the same holds true of Saturn. Just like you say, XCR440SP, GM and Saturn did such a good job of selling their "bottom of the totempole position" and "polymer panel clad cars" that it attracted a loyal following and cemented its image in the minds of the public. People now KNOW what to expect from Saturn as a brand - and its hard to change that in the minds of most.

Now they've done a 180 and they think current owners and new buyers will follow?

That may be a bit shortsighted on GM's part - and lead to more problems down the line. Afterall, how long to you throw good money after bad before you finally say "enough is enough"?
 

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Mercury = Saturn?
It should, that would make sense. GM needs to ditch the Outlook, and get the Cors and Zafira here wearing Saturn emblems, and get the Insignia here with a Saturn badge and make that Saturn's lrgest vehicle. Then Buick takes over from there and make them companion brands.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Every Mercury-ized FoE Kinetic vehicle I've seen with a waterfall grill has looked truly awful. They need to figure out some new design cues for the grill that are actually in harmony with the rest of the design.
I agree. They really do need a new look.

And - like I said earlier - the fact that you've got Lincoln on the same showroom floor sold with a "waterfall-esque" grille does nothing to make it stand apart from Lincoln or other cars out there.

In my honest opinion, it would be better for them to just come up with something NEW and not rely on what was tried and overused. If the future of Mercury is to break with the past, a completely new styling direction is definitely called for.
 

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In fact if Ford of Europe is responsible for future designs, I hope they come up with a different look than the waterfall grille. Its getting tired. And the fact that Lincoln has traditionally been sold with their own version of a waterfall grille - and now a 'split wing' waterfall grille - right alongside similar looking Mercurys makes even less sense. I'd love to see something NEW that will grab the public's attention.
They have to come with something - otherwise it will be mistaken for a Buick........
 

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Its funny you bring this up and point out "what's in a name"

A buddy of mine who knows a thing or two about cars (or at least he thinks he does) was talking to me about the GM/Chrysler merger proposal, etc. He brought up Saturn and wondered how it would fit in a "new GM Chrysler Motors", etc.

A few minutes into the conversation he kept talking about how Saturn was at "the low-end of the market for bargain buyers" or was great for parents with their "polymer panels" etc.

I obviously corrected him: Saturn is now positioned someplace between Pontiac and Buick; and Saturn's do NOT have polymer panels any longer.

But the point was made. Even after 2 or 3 years of the "new, relaunched Saturn" the image that people have of the car - whether it's their market position or the types of cars they sell - has remained intact. After hundreds of millions in advertising and over $3 billion in launching a slate of new products for Saturn, people still don't understand what the new products or values of Saturn are - and that's not just sad, its depressing.

But the larger point is made: If someone who knows a few things about cars doesn't know or understand Saturns new direction - if these points in the repositioning or product image haven't been established - then how can the wider car buying public truly "GET" what the new Saturn is about?

Just an observation on my part - and may point to what kind of troubles the brand may experience in the near future.
I totally agree. The general public who don't know anythiing about cars would not know this. That's why I think GM should of changed the Saturn name to Opel. Same goes for Hyundai. They can launch this new Genesis, but I don't think they will get many buyers. The car could be outstanding, but it still has that name. They should of lauched a luxury brand for this car and the upcoming Portico crossover. Wonder why they didn't put their emblem on the front grill, I think that's why!
 

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Mercury = Saturn?
No, Mercury = Ford of Europe with smaller upscale models (priced below Volvo) to sell alongside American luxury. I visualize a well equipped Euro Ford Focus starting below $20K and extending up to performance (260 hp) versions that top out below $30K (compete against mini), C-Max or S-Max people movers as an alternative to large crossovers, a Kuga to compete against the Tiguan as a crossover (vs the Ford Escape trucklet), and the car announced in the article. No midsize sedan (that competes with the MKZ) and no large SUVs (that's Ford). Nothing to compete with Volvo).

The Fiesta takes the place of the Focus in the entry level segment of the Ford lineup.

I wouldn't do much in changing the FOE styling: they do a great job. No need to screw up a perfectly good design, unlike GM with the Insignia.
 
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