Questions have been raised about Mercury's long-term future as Ford puts its focus on the new Premier Automotive Group. Mark Hutchins, Lincoln Mercury president, was asked about Mercury's future last week. His answer:
'We continue to launch products. The concept Mercury Mountaineer (at 2000 auto shows) is 80 percent correct to the (production) Mountaineer coming out in the fall.
'Mercury retail sales were up over 10 percent last year. We set a record with Grand Marquis sales of 122,000 units. We sold 100,000 Sables. We sold 56,000 Cougars. Sales of the freshened Villager are up 18 percent.
'I can go on and on. But no matter what I say, I get the question. Does that sound like a product line that is ready to die? Give me a break.'