• Dec 5, 2008
Next month Ford is expected to unveil the all new 2010 Ford Taurus at the Detroit Auto Show, but don't expect the large sedan to be accompanied by a new Mercury Sable. Ford spokesman Mark Schirmer told Automotive News that the spacious sedan will take a dirt nap in April, one month after the Taurus X drives off into the sunset. The Sable never did make inroads with customers despite of its unoffensive sheet metal, smooth ride, and spotless safety ratings, and sales are down 20% for the year through November. Schirmer stated that part of the reason for the Sable's departure was that Ford was readying itself for lower industry volume levels, which makes multiple nameplates more difficult to justify. Dealers will need to order their last Sables by March 6th, and production comes to a halt on April 30. In a letter to dealers, Ford stated that it was discontinuing the Sable to "have a laser sharp focus on delivering the products that consumers want the most." Fair enough.

We never quite understood why the Sable performed as poorly as it did. The Sable was no standard bearer, mind you, but even the Grand Marquis regularly kicked the Sable's arse on the sales charts. And it's been around since Jimmy Carter was president.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]


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  • 40 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      The Sable did as poorly as it did because the Sable has always sold just a small portion of Taurus sales (fewer dealers, less well known, Mercury is a badge-engineered brand only). And Taurus/500 sales have been in the toilet since day one, due to it frumpy styling. Ford gambled too cautious on this one and lost. It is also a good illustration that as much as people bitch about this or that grill design, it is the overall car that people look at, and no grill was gonna fix this pig.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The Sable and Taurus may have been ugly, but they sure are comfortable cars.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Awww, I liked the Sable compared to the Taurus which looks ugly to me. The Sable has a more refined and classy look. But I personally think that Ford needs to get rid of Volvo and Mazda and focus exclusively on Ford, Lincoln and Mercury (the way it use to be). Finally they could give Mercury its own identity. Ford is already shopping for a buyer of Volvo and has reduced their stake in Mazda. Sable...discontinued, revived, discontinued again!!!!
      • 6 Years Ago
      The Fusion is nothing more than a 2002 Mazda 6 with different sheetmetal.

      Just like the new Focus is nothing more than a 1999 Focus with different sheetmetal.

      Ford is failing in the US because they use decade old platforms for new cars. The competetion is already two generations ahead before Ford even starts on a new car.

      The cars that Ford does make that could compete are not made here because of union contract problems.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Mercury as a whole needs to take a dirt nap. Assuming we can continue to justify the Lincoln variants of Ford vehicles as "upscale," what's the argument for Mercury? "Mid-scale"?

      Mercury has only one distinct vehicle, the Grand Marquis. Everything else is a rebadged Ford. Kill it.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Wrong. The Grand Marquis and Crown Vic are practically identical. No distinction here and closer in fact than the Taurus and Sable.
      • 6 Years Ago
      If you think about it, previous Sables had different rear body panels than their Taurus counterparts. This Sable didn't even have THAT, so it was truly badge-engineering at its worst.
      I'm glad to see these two go, as although they are supremely competent vehicles, they are being replaced by supremely amazing vehicles (Flex/next Taurus).
      • 6 Years Ago
      So.... bring over the Mondeo! You don't even have to change it's name.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Just kill off Mercury. If someone wants a Sable, they can just buy a loaded Taurus. If they want a Mariner, let them buy a loaded Escape. All your doing is cannibalizing sales from Ford by having the current Mercury brand. Mercury was great in it's day, when it's models had a very apparent differentiality over their Ford cousins. Perhaps if the current Mercury lineup was more unique...

      Also, the three-tiered step up model was introduced in a day and age when a more defined three tiered society existed. The middle class (Mercury buyers) has been slowly eroding away since that time. Time to adapt FoMoCo.
      • 6 Years Ago
      If they had not recently unveiled the 2010 Mercury Milan, I would have assumed this to be the immediate death of Mercury as a brand. Afterall, how many vehicles will Mercury have to sell now? The Milan, a reworked Ford Fusion; the Grand Marquis, older than the folks that buy them; the Mariner, a reworked Escape; and the Mountaineer, based on the Explorer which dies next summer. Given the auto industry depression and Ford's need to consolidate to save money, I believe Mercury is gone by December 31st, 2011.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "...the Grand Marquis, older than the folks that buy them"

        Uh, no. Have you ever taken a look at who are the ones buying them? You'd have to go back to the Model A to get vehicle older than they are.
      • 6 Years Ago
      They're going to send all those octogenarians to a FORD dealer now? Are they mad?!?!?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Do I really have to explain the joke I was trying to make to you?
      • 6 Years Ago
      'We never quite understood why the Sable performed as poorly as it did. The Sable was no standard bearer, mind you, but even the Grand Marquis regularly kicked the Sable's arse on the sales charts.'

      That is why you (Ford) should fire your marketing companies and start fresh..... Find out what they drive (the marketers) and go from there... 100 bucks it's Japanese or German and most likely they have never been to Europe to see your products....

      Why doesn't the Ford Fusion kick more butt??? It not only looks better then any of it's competition, it also is as reliable and a great better 'drivers' car.... again, fire your marketers... get some people that actually love to drive..... Not fade away in the Accords into the bliss of tail-lights on the expressway....
      • 6 Years Ago
      i think most people here are missing the point. of course, they are 'badge engineered' cars. Mercurys have ALWAYS been a 'step up' version of Ford, from their very first year, '39. occasionally, like '57-'60 they were afforded their own bodies and extended platforms, but for the most part, they have always been a Ford+ if you will. the current Sable is an excellent car-it's the Volvo-based platform like the 500/Taurus, but with a bit extra glitz and glamor for very little more money. they're extremely competent and safe cars, they ride extremely well, and they're built to a very high standard. they will make excellent cars for the next 15 years probably. i'm very sorry to see them go. as much as i admire the euro Fords, i think they should be sold as Fords over here too. Mercury should always be a step up from a Ford-not quite a Lincoln, but a Ford with high-tech powertrains, maybe Hybrids, but with Ford-base platforms for economy of scale.
        • 6 Years Ago
        JZeke,

        I'm gonna completely disagree with this. Even most internet savvy folks don't know what engine their car has, let alone that it shares a platform with another brand. They just walk in, find the one that catches their eye, and sign on the dotted line for low, low monthly payments.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I never specifically said what those engineering changes could be, as I agree most drivers don't care much about the engine.

        A badge-engineered car, at its most fundamental, struggles to look that much different than the model its based on. You can't change the stance, the rear quarter panel or much of the glass. So you get a car that to even the most un-trained eye looks identical to the cheaper model.

        Unique engineering could be about changing the stance, or different rooflines. It could also encompass a different interior configuration, or even redesigned interior furnishings. Sit in a Mercury and a Ford and the main difference is wood trim. Sit in a Lincoln version, and theres an entirely different architecture. Those are the sorts of core changes buyers respond to, and comprehensive engineering challenges to the manufacturer.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Badge engineering made more sense back before the internet, when people would choose a brand on perception. Back then, a dealer could entice buyers with a "step-up" version when they were emotionally vulnerable to the visual "improvements" the step-up offered.

        Now, people are much more educated before they even visit a showroom. They will research a car's price, brand attributes and a myriad of other things before they decide to test. In this paradigm, people won't consider a step-up unless it offers more below the surface than a badge-engineered car could hope to offer.

        Sadly, Ford has struggled with this shift in perception and never gave Mercury a compelling brand story, nor unique engineering and features. Combine this with an overlap in Ford and Lincoln prices and Mercury gets squeezed out as not sufficiently distinct enough to justify further investment.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hey I'm not a Grandpa! and my first car was a Cougar and my current car is a Mountaineer. Mercury is a nice alternative to the Ford choices.
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