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Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The Next Cougar?

A reader asked me if I knew what the plan was for the next Mercury Cougar. I do not have inside information on this. But, I can speculate, 'cause this is a blog.

At the 2003 Detroit Auto Show, Ford showed a concept car called the Mercury Messenger, which looked to me like a variation on the 2005 Mustang (S197) platform. I would not be surprised if Ford developed a Cougar off of the Mustang platform, and perhaps even a Lincoln variation. They could call it the Mark IX.

The problem with this idea is that the Flat Rock, MI plant which builds the Mustang, AAI, is running full throttle building Mustangs. They may not have the capacity to build 3 variations of the Mustang.

Another possibility is that the Wixom assembly plant (Lincoln LS, Thunderbird, Towncar) could be re-tooled to produce the Mustang platform. Plans for Wixom have not been announced, and Ford people are concerned that the plant may be closed when LS and Towncar run out.


Courtney & Dave Thomas said...

actually I see them taking the current mustang platform and building the next Lincoln LS. make it a real sports sedan.

GLS said...

Mercury is no longer "The sign of the cat." Did you not notice the theme in naming their new vehicles?
Mountianeer, Monterey, Mariner, Montego and soon the Milano.
Even the name "Mercury" means "Messenger of the Gods."
But maybe you're right, they are really going to bring back the Cougar, right after the Lynx and the Bobcat.

Big Ford Fan said...

I hope Ford does not bring back the Cougar this way. It was bad enough in the 80's when they rebadged the Mustang as the Mercury Capri. Doesn't Ford have a platform other than the Mustang's to put under a new sport coupe?
I liked the Cougar that was available from 99-03, based on the European Ford Mondeo (Contour/Mysique here in the states) and I know they have redonce that chassis.

As for the other comment about building the LS from Lincoln on the new Mustang platform to make it a "real sport sedan". Isn't the new Mustang platform a shortened and strenghtened variation of the LS platform? The same one that sits under the Jaguar S Type?

I understand that Ford will soon discontinue the LS and Thunderbird. But why not bring out the Lincoln Mark X concept roadster and stuff the supercharger from the Jaguar S Type R in there? Ford has the materials if they use them.

For pictures of the Mark X you can check out my blog; or the link for Lincoln Luxury in Motion on my link page

The Auto Prophet said...

If they do it, it won't be a raw re-badge--that would dilute the image of the Mustang. It would have to be a substantial re-design.

Does Ford have other coupe platforms? None that are ready to go in the US, that I know of. There is the Focus ZX3, the Miata, the (dead) Thunderbird, the Mustang, and the Jaguar XK. Of those, the Mustang makes the most sense to me.

The problem with bringing over a foreign platform, like the Mondeo or what GM did with the Holden Monaro, is that a lot of expensive re-work has to be done to meet US crash and emissions standards, not to mention left/right hand drive issues. It only makes sense if it is a high volume product (like the S40/Mazda3) which will sell well.

The LS was going to be the platform for the Mustang, but I read in the press that Ford decided it was too expensive and too heavy. So they wound up doing a mostly new platform for the Mustang, with a solid rear axle.

I am not sure about the Mark X, since it was based on the T-Bird, which is going away.