Mercury is eliminating the four-cylinder automatic in its 1999 Cougar lineup, and is altering the content and price of V-6 Cougar models to meet unexpectedly strong demand for the larger engine.
Swamped with dealer orders for V-6 engines, Mercury is cutting the base price of V-6 Cougars matched with either a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic.
But along with the price cut, Ford is reducing the list of standard features on the V-6 models and bundling the equipment into a new Sport option package.
The redesigned 1999 Cougar officially goes on sale Thursday, May 7.
The base price of the V-6 five-speed manual is now $17,095; the V-6 with automatic transmission is $17,910. Prices include destination and delivery charges. Base stickers on V-6 models are reduced $1,400 from prices announced March 20.
The V-6 models now carry the same standard equipment as the four-cylinder manual model, which retains its original price of $16,595, including transportation charges.
Mercury is eliminating the four-cylinder model with automatic transmission because that model was priced only $500 below the repriced V-6 automatic.
Previously standard equipment on V-6 models is rebundled into an optional Sport package, which includes a rear spoiler, 16-inch aluminum wheels, four-wheel disc brakes, a light group, fog lamps, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and upgraded sport seats, console and door trim.
The V-6 manual with the Sport package retails for $17,870. The V-6 automatic Sport retails for $18,685, including delivery charges.
Cougar options include antilock brakes and front-seat-mounted side airbags. It will be the first Ford Motor Co. car in North America equipped with side airbags.