DETROIT - Mercury hopes to lure buyers with a high-performance sedan that rekindles memories of 1960s muscle cars.
The 2003 Marauder is designed to create a buzz for Mercury while it waits for new products in the coming years. But whether the Marauder will satisfy pedal-to-the-metal enthusiasts is debatable.
The 302-hp Marauder is based on an unlikely candidate: the Grand Marquis.
Unlike the Grand Marquis, whose average buyer is age 70, Mercury is aiming the Marauder at auto enthusiasts from 35 to 55. Mercury says these buyers crave a rear-drive, high-horsepower American sedan that handles nearly like a Mustang yet accommodates a family's needs: lots of room, four doors and a big trunk.
The car also is aimed at owners of the 1994-96 Chevrolet Impala SS who may be tiring of their big, V-8-powered performance sedans.
"What we found out is that the owners of the Impala SS are not loyal to a brand. They are loyal to a muscle car, a performance car," said Eric Koehler, Marauder assistant brand manager. The California Impala SS Club has invited Mercury to show the Marauder this summer at several events.