Ford Motor Co. executives confirmed that Mercury will get a new car on the same platform as the Ford Focus.
Ford executives told dealers Sunday at the make meeting that the small Mercury is coming in 2011, the same year the Focus arrives. Two dealers who attended the meeting say the car will be called the Mercury Tracer.
"Here in the United States, the trend toward fuel-efficient vehicles is very important, and the trend toward small cars is coming back," Mark Fields, Ford's president of the Americas, said after the meeting. "Our strategy is pretty simple: have a broad-based lineup."
Ford also told dealers they can start ordering the new Fiesta small car on Monday, Feb. 15. The Fiesta will hit showrooms this summer. More than 60 percent of dealers have indicated they will order high trim levels of the car, said Ken Czubay, Ford's vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service.
Ford has started training dealers to sell and service the Fiesta and Focus. It will also train them on selling and servicing the redesigned Super Duty truck to be launched midyear, dealers say. That truck will offer a new 6.7-liter diesel engine that dealers say is critical to Ford's quality reputation.
"Ford realizes it has to do a better job with diesels," said Bob Tasca Jr., owner of Tasca Automotive Group in Cranston, R.I., and chairman of the Ford-Lincoln-Mercury National Dealer Council. Past Ford diesels have had quality problems.