Mercury revives classic logo for Marauder

DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. has brushed 43 years of dust off the Mercury Messenger logo for the 300-hp Marauder muscle sedan due in the spring.

The Marauder, a $30,000, limited-production halo car for Mercury, is expected to appeal to the same older crowd that made the 1994-96 Impala SS a hit for Chevrolet.

The god’s head logo has not been used on a Mercury vehicle since 1958; it will be cast into the Marauder’s wheels and stamped into the front passenger seats.

Mercury pulled the logo from retirement for two reasons, said Marauder brand manager Philip Smoker: It pays homage to Mercury’s brand heritage, and it is an attempt to tug at the heartstrings of older buyers who remember the tire-shredding Mercury hot rods of the 1940s and 1950s.

“It evokes the memory of that era. Customers remember that logo because it was on their first car or on their father’s car that they worked on,” Smoker said.

But the decision to use the old logo apparently caused considerable angst within the division. An engineer who worked on the Marauder and asked not to be named, said a battle raged last summer over which logo to use, the old one or the current Mercury logo.

Engineers, he said, fought for the classic logo to be used exclusively on the car because the Marauder’s likely customers will be older males who were Mercury fans in the 1950s. Mercury’s marketers, he said, were against the idea because it didn’t fit with the rest of the vehicles in the Mercury line.

Smoker denies there was any internal hand-wringing over the logos.

In either case, Mercury’s current logo will be used on the Marauder’s trunk, grille and steering wheel.

Smoker said he is not worried that the dueling logos will muddle Mercury’s brand image. “It’s not confusing,” he said.

The Marauder is the only Mercury vehicle that will use the classic logo. c

You can reach Richard Truett at rtruett@crain.com

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