KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Mercury dealers will get little or no advertising support for the new Mariner Hybrid. No ad campaigns are planned, said Tom Brewer, Lincoln Mercury general marketing manager.
Instead, Mercury will promote the vehicle on its Web site and rely on specially trained salespeople at dealerships to sell the 2,000 Mariner Hybrids slated for production in the 2006 model year. Production is scheduled to increase to 4,000 units in the 2007 model year.
Mercury delivered the first Mariner Hybrids to dealerships this month. Mercury started taking orders on the Internet for the compact SUV in July and has sold about 500 units, Brewer said.
The Mariner is nearly identical to the red-hot Ford Escape Hybrid. The two SUVs use the same powertrain. But the Mariner comes with richer interior trim and only has all-wheel drive. The Mariner is priced at $29,840, including shipping.