Friday, February 04, 2005
This is a 1954 Ford sedan:
And this is its Mercury counterpart, the Monterey:
In the 1950s, buying a Mercury meant buying something different than a Ford, at least to customers. Engineers and others who knew about cars probably knew better. Some would argue that since all cars sold were so similar to each other, small aesthetic differences meant a lot. I contend that even now, cars are very similar to each other. They have similar engine displacements within their class, are forced to undergo the same NHTSA crash testing, numerous other government regulations, and with billions more dollars riding on their success. Even the steering wheels of cars need to be similar nowadays in order to hold an airbag.
Mercury's today look almost exactly like Fords. They have the same engines, the same everything. Mercury needs to be different.
Leather interior? That should only be available in Mercurys, standard. V8? Only a Mercury offering. And the designs should be as different as possible. Sure they should have the same exact platform to save money, but why do they also have to have similar chrome fronts? Is money that tight in the design departments? Only Mercury should offer coupe versions of the Ford sedans at the very least.
I don't believe GM needs to get rid of Buick or Pontiac, and model themselves after the Japanese with a middle class line of cars, and an upper class line of cars. The same goes for Ford with Mercury. There is room for both Ford, Mercury, and Lincoln. IF they differentiate their designs like they did in their heyday of the 1950s. Remember, car designing is free. Poor sales are not.