Bring Them Back: Five Automakers We Want To See Make A Comeback
The auto industry can be a ruthless business. A handful of automakers have witnessed this first-hand and, far too often, the consequences have been devastating. In the best of cases, a company can weather the storm of mediocrity until it finds its footing again, whether through its own perseverance or simply getting a lifeline in the form of another automaker. Volvo knows this more than anyone now that it’s thriving under Geely ownership after years of uncertainty. That said, not everybody is as lucky as Volvo. Countless automakers have bitten the dust over the years for one reason or another, be it because of managerial ineptitude or simply not being able to keep up with its rivals.
This list is an ode to those companies. It’s made up of automakers whose returns to the industry we pine for to this day. It’s not a guarantee that we’re going to get our wish and see these brands get resurrected, but we can still dream. Either way, there’s nothing to lose as far as wishing upon a star is concerned, right?
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
Mercury isn’t the first car brand that comes to mind when people talk about muscle cars. But, back in the 1970’s, the dissolved American manufacturer the Cyclone — a pony car that has since grown in stature today because of the limited number of models that were built during its nine-year life span. It’s hard to come across a Cyclone these days, let alone one that still runs like a thoroughbred. In the event that you are looking for one that fits this bill, Alexander Brevik has one over in Norway.
Unlike some of the beaten down Cyclones that you might stumble upon in God-knows-where, Brevik’s Cyclone isn’t just in working condition, it’s actually in incredible shape — so much so that Brevik himself describes it as if it just came out of the factory. One look at the Cyclone in this video presented by Petrolicious and it’s easy to see what the young Norwegian is talking about.
This man, after all, earns his keep by restoring cars, a passion he admitted was cultivated when he was still a child. He’s got an impressive list of project cars that he’s working on these days, but he’s real pride and joy is his 1969 Cyclone, which he restored to the hilt. The polished orange paint on the muscle car glistens under the sun like it’s brand new. According to Brevik, his Cyclone has a three-speed manual gearbox, standard suspension, stiffened shocks and springs, and racing wheels. It also has a 5.8-liter, V-8 Windsor engine that lets out one of the most natural engine roars you’ll ever hear from a Cyclone. The sound the engine makes when the ignition is turned is pure magic.
A Mercury Cyclone running roughshod on the backroads of Norway may seem ridiculous to some people, but for Alexander Brevik, it’s an everyday occurrence.
We have already been over Cadillac’s “automated” driving system, which is basically just an adaptive cruise control system that takes over the steering too. Basically, it is not a true automated driving system, but it is semi-autonomous. Well, we all knew that Ford wouldn’t just sit back and watch GM take over this realm, as it has just announced that its engineers are working on a slightly similar, but far more restrictive, system.
The system that Ford is working on is called Traffic Jam Assist, and it does exactly what its name tells you. When you’re get stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic, you can enable this system and it will move the car with traffic and keep it within the lines. This frees up your hands to do far more important things than look at the road, like text message, enjoy a coffee and doughnut, or reprogram your stereo system.
One the traffic clears up, the system asks you to take over and you’re then forced to attempt to complete the uncompleted tasks that you started in traffic while driving… What a bummer.
Ford has even released a video displaying the system, and we have to say that on 99 percent of the roads in the U.S. with heavy congestion, we doubt this system will do little more than increase your stress. From what we can see, this system waits for the car in front to get a good car length or two ahead of you before moving your car forward. That just may induce a few “friendly” honks and one finger salutes from the less patient drivers behind you.
So, unless Ford can develop a way to have the system respond more quickly, we can see this being a really cool feature until you catch the first severe traffic jam. Fortunately, this system is nowhere near ready for release, so Ford has lots of time to perfect it.
We’ll let you know if any new features of this system pop up.
September is a month of warm weather, shorter days, school, and this year, the death of Mercury. According to a new report from Automotive News, Mercury will be shut down in September, before all the big holidays. The website is stating that it has three dealers that have confirmed this to be true.
The ancient Grand Marquis will be going on Sept 30th, the Mountaineer on October 1st, the Milan on Oct 2nd, and the Mariner on Oct 3rd. After that, the 71-year-old brand will be gone for good.
Ford has yet to release any dates on the Mercury shutdown since it was announced on June 2. Dealers submitted their final orders last month and those should take around 30 days to process. There are around 1,712 dealerships that carry at least one other brand, so it looks like many of the dealerships will survive.
Ford has offered dealers with Mercury a cash settlement, but they won’t get their money until they sell all the remaining models on the lot. So, if you’re looking for a good deal, Mercury might have some.
Goodbye Mercury, it was nice knowing you. Let’s face, though, this was bound to happen. Even Jill Wagner couldn’t save the once great brand. Mercury’s sales have plummeted in recent years and the brand only accounts for 0.8 percent of Ford’s overall market share.
In a press conference this afternoon with Mark Fields, Ford’s president of the America’s and Derrick Kuzak, group vice president of product development, the automaker officially announced the end of Mercury.
With the progress that Ford has been making over the past few years, no brand-specific models were given to Mercury. Instead, Mercury was forced to sell, what basically was a Ford with a different badge. The cars that did sell were mostly through discounts offered to retirees, friends, or family.
Mercury’s dealer network is in the process of being informed about the decision and owners are being told that they can still get there cars serviced at any Ford dealer.
Yet, despite the loss of a great company, Ford isn’t feeling blue. Ford is using the demise of Mercury to refocus and beef up Lincoln. The beef up will include the 2011 MKZ Hybrid and the refreshed 2011 MKX. On top of that, Ford will give Lincoln seven all-new or slightly refreshed models, including the brands first even C-segment vehicle.
Lincoln will also be getting the EcoBoost motors across the entire lineup, including the next generation Navigator. Ford is clearly showing that they are committed to the Lincoln brand.
Press release after the jump.
Breaking News: Ford calls 3pm EST press conference, confirmation of Mercury’s forthcoming demise may be announced
Ford is calling an unexpected press conference today at 3pm EST and in instances like this, you can expect the news to be ground-breaking. Reports coming out of the Blue Oval is that the press conference will be all about "brand and product strategy", which is pretty much confirming what’s been reported over the past few days regarding the fate of one of its brands, Mercury.
Unless Ford announces that they’ve developed a car that can travel in space - we’re not holding our breath on that one - you can expect that this press conference will be all about the demise of the Mercury brand.
Stay tuned for more details.
Struggling to recoup the lost glory it enjoyed back in the 70’s, Mercury has become a prime candidate to be the next auto brand to be axed, according to reports from Bloomberg citing two unnamed sources that are familiar with Ford - Mercury’s parent company - and its plans.
When asked, Ford refused to give any indication on whether the reports of Mercury’s demise were more than just birds talking. According to Ford spokesman, Mark Truby, "Our plans regarding Mercury have not changed. Like any good business, we constantly assess our business portfolio. If things change, we will let you know."
Despite the diplomatic response, some folks within the company have said that Bill Ford, the company’s executive chairman, as well as members of the Ford family, have expressed their desire to see Mercury fall by the wayside and join GM’s Pontiac, Saturn, and Hummer brands in the growing list of axed car brands.
The move to kill off Mercury comes as no surprise to a lot of people, especially since the brand, which was golden back in the late seventies, has not made any significant impact in Ford’s global sales over the years, highlighted - or is it lowlighted? - by a paltry 1.9% sales volume of all Ford vehicles all over the world for the first quarter of 2010.
It looks like the owner of this 1960s Mercury Comet loves his car so much that when he decided to get himself a motorcycle, he made sure that his second best ride would have to be the exact same replica of his favorite muscle car, only that on two wheels. And this is the result: a Japanese motorcycle that looks like an American muscle car…that is very unusual, but how else would you expect the Comet motorcycle to be?
As the internet rolls into our cars Ford has decided that safety should follow. Ford announced that it is now offering protection against hackers and viruses with its onslaught of security features which will come standard with any Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury vehicle equipped with SYNC technology. SYNC made its debut in 2008 and gave drivers the capability of hands-free phone operation, media player control, emergency assistance, diagnostic and information services, and traffic reports and directions. The next generation of SYNC technology will also include an in-car WiFi system powered by the car owner’s USB mobile broadband modem. It’s no wonder that with all of these advancements in your car’s connectivity that Ford opted to roll out the safety red carpet and introduce the following safety features:SYNC Firewall SYNC Phone Pairing Protection Encrypted Jukebox "Home" Protection Engine Immobilizer Securicode keyless entry
“Customers are likely to get ‘all the good things as well as the bad things’ that come with Internet connectivity,” said Jim Buczkowski, director of Global Electrical and Electronics Systems Engineering (EESE) for Ford Motor Company. “It’s important that we take those lessons learned from the Internet and bring them to the car.”
Check out the full story after the jump for more details.
It’s been a while since we last saw a new Mercury roll out of production, but if Ford’s President of the Americas Mark Fields is to be believed, we might just see a new one out sometime soon.
Based on Ford’s new global compact car platform, Fields recently announced that the company is scheduled to release up to 10 vehicles for its compact car architecture with one of them being a new – yet still to-be-named – Mercury compact car.
Speaking to a group of Ford’s US dealers at the National Automobile Dealers Association in Orlando, Florida recently, Fields made it known that Ford is exahusting any and all efforts in jump-starting some life into a Mercury brand that has been relatively idle for quite some time now.
It’s worth noting that while Mercury didn’t suffer the same fate as some of Ford’s other brands – Tracer, Sable, and Cougar – the fact that it hadn’t released a new model a while has led to some spculation that Mercury’s head would also end up on the chopping block.
But now that we’ve heard the brand is getting a new car straight from the horse’s mouth, it should douse any lingering doubts as to whether or not the future of Mercury remains in question.
A big part of Ford’s decision to produce a compact Mercury is caused by the increasing interest for fuel-efficient mid-premium cars has also given Ford the green light to jumpstart Mercury by releasing its own model that fits that particular market segment.
"The trend towards more fuel-efficient vehicles is very important, the trend toward (small) cars in general is coming back. We are responding to that," Fields said.
We’ve all seen the inordinate number of convertibles cruising along America’s highways these days, but how often do you see a fully-restored 1955 Mercury Montclair Convertible out on the streets? Not a lot, right?
Anybody who’s willing to spend for an American classic would be wise to use it on this one and only classic from 1955. Predominantly white with some red trimmings and a soft, black rooftop, the ’55 Montclair’s enduring legacy is a testament to its classy look and superior drivability.
The car retains most of its original stylistics while also adding a few technologically advanced features, infusing the car with a combination of old-school ‘feel’ with new-school technology. This particular Montclair convertible comes with automatic C4 transmission, front sway bars, tilt steering, power windows, CD player.
Moreover, the car has undergone a full off-frame restoration, complete with originally modified front disk brakes, converted to 12 volt, A/C, intake and carburetor. The cars’ frame has also been powder coated, giving it extra protection from unnecessary wear and tear. Likewise, the car’s original nuts and bolts have been upgraded to stainless steel, thereby reducing the amount of rust these parts could accumulate.
While this ’55 Mercury Montclair Convertible has had its fair share of restorations, the enduring image of driving on the roads with this one-of-a-kind vehicle is still something we all secretly dream of doing someday.
VOGA means fashion in Italian. It is no wonder why Ford designer Camilo Pardo, the designer of the Ford GT, chose this name when he introduced the upscale appearance package in 2006 on the vehicle named after the Italian fashion capital, the Mercury Milan. Since then Mercury has expanded the elegant VOGA line to include the Mercury Mariner crossover based on the Ford Escape.
Being an aesthetics package, the VOGA option is much more about design than function. In order to purchase the high-class VOGA equipped Mercury, future Mariner owners must first upgrade to a Mercury Mariner Premier, and then purchase the Moon and Tune package that includes a large panoramic sunroof and a seven speaker MP3 compatible sound system and much more.
Continued after the jump.
I learned to drive on the interstate at age 14 in a first generation Mercury Sable. It belonged to my grandparents, and it was the three of us on a trip from Louisiana to Florida. Within a few hours my grandfather decided it would something special for both of us to share my first highway driving experience. He was right, I’ll never forget the car not because it was an exceptional automobile, but because of what I got to do with it.
That’s the kind of legacy that the Mercury Sable leaves. It’s not meant to be a driver’s car, but instead an affordable and usable car where the memories are made from what families are able to do with the car.