Mercury is launching its most ambitious product assault in the 65-year history of the Ford Motor Co. brand. The carmaker seeks to overcome its image as stodgy.
"We have lost a lot of customers for lack of product," says Darryl Hazel, president of Lincoln Mercury. The marque's new models "give us a real meaningful way to initiate a dialogue with them."
Critics have panned Mercury for selling premium versions of Ford models that weren't different enough. Its sales dropped by more than half in the past five years, to 202,257 vehicles in 2003. Sales are down 3.0 percent this year through August vs. the year-ago period.