Good-bye, Grand Marquis (Grandpa will be sorry to see you go). Sayonara, Sable. May the force be with you, Mountaineer. These car lines are set to disappear from Mercury dealers in the next few years as Ford repositions Mercury as a seller of entry-level premium smaller vehicles.
Although it’s hard to think of a Mercury dealer not selling the Grand Marquis—the Marquis name has been a fixture at Mercury dealerships ever since it appeared as a trim option on the Monterey in 1967—Ford has decided to focus Mercury on smaller vehicles so as not to have overlap with similar Lincoln models in the same showroom. This means that Mercury loses the three biggest models in its lineup, but still retains the Milan mid-sized sedan (newly restyled for a 2010 model introduction in January 2009, including a new hybrid option), the Mariner compact SUV, and a yet-to-be-revealed premium small car set to début in 2010.
There have been no announced changes to the Lincoln lineup, so this does create one bit of overlap between those platform sharers, the Mercury Milan and the Lincoln MKZ. However, the styling of the MKZ is differentiated enough between it and the Milan (as compared with the Milan’s nearly-identical-twin-except-for-the-Gilette-razor schnozz Ford Fusion), and its price point lies several grand to the north of the Milan (somewhere in the Italian Alps, we presume), that there may not be much cross-shopping between the two vehicles. Also, the Milan will get the new hybrid option next year, whereas the MKZ will still eschew the electric-drive assist for now.
The rest of the Lincoln lineup will serve those looking for larger luxury sedans (such as the new MKS), crossovers (the MKX), and SUVs (Lincoln Navigator).
It’s not known exactly when the super-sized troika will leave Mercury showrooms, though a safe bet would be by the 2010 model year. Ford will introduce a greatly restyled Taurus in that year, but in all of the discussions surrounding its impending appearance, nobody has ever mentioned anything about its usual Mercury counterpart, the Sable. That was probably the first tip-off that the Sable would not be long for this world!
For the Grand Marquis (which is available only by special order these days—dealers don’t keep any in stock on the lots any more), there have been rumors that Ford would redesign the Panther platform that it shares with its stablemates, the Ford Crown Victoria and the Lincoln Town Car, sometime after 2010. However, in light of the fact that fuel costs have risen substantially in recent years, and that most of the Panther-class vehicles live on only in fleet sales, some wonder if these vehicles—minus the Grand Marquis—will survive at all past the 2010 model year.
As for the small car that will make its way onto the Mercury list in 2010, speculation abounds—could it be a reskinned Focus, à la the Tracer of yore? Might Ford raid the European parts bin and bring over the C-Max small people-mover (think a smaller Mazda5, but in Ford trim)? Whatever it will be, it will be based on the Focus platform.
via Detroit News