• Apr 2, 2011
Merkur Scorpio TV spot - Click above to watch the video after the jump

Actor and comedian Tim Allen, the former Home Improvement star and the man behind Toy Story's Buzz Lightyear, has seen steady voiceover work of late as the pitchman for Chevrolet (and Campbell's Soup, and Michigan tourism). Now, all the recent activity has gotten Allen plenty of attention of late, but he's an old hand when it comes to this stuff.

If you turn the clock back to 1988 you can watch Allen, sporting glasses and a rail-thin physique, try to sell us on the Merkur Scorpio (then dubbed Road and Track's best sedan under $27,500). German engineering at your Lincoln/Mercury dealer... what could possibly go wrong? Hit the jump to watch the 60-second spot. Just remember that operators are no longer standing by.

[Source: YouTube]



I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 32 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      I called that phone number. No one ever picked up! It just went to a fax machine. I was hoping for information on the Scorpio. It sounds like an awesome car!
      • 3 Years Ago
      This commercial makes me think for a minute: I was thinking about how in the late 1960's and early 1970's, Buick sold the Opel brand, which is a German brand of GM products. Just as Mercury dealers had no clue how to sell small imports to the younger crowd, Buick dealers also had no clue and subsequently, the Opels and Merkurs never made much of an impact on American car buyers.
      The Capri, which was sold from 1970 until the late 1970's made a huge initial splash "the sexy European", but sort of withered away but not before the nameplate was slapped on a Mustang.
      Now, all the sedans sold by Buick are Opel-sourced. Beats being shut down altogether.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm curious since I wasn't old enough to remember what Merkur was like when they were on sale...why did they flop? Were they overpriced, unreliable?

      Just curious, cause I like the Merkur XR4i which looks just like a Euro Escort Cosworth =)
        • 3 Years Ago
        The Merkur XR4TI used the shell of a Ford Sierra XR4i and the engine from a (what I believe to be) a Mustang. The US car used no Ford of Europe engines. In short, it was a recipe for disaster right from conception.

        The Scorpio pictured used the Ford Scorpio's top-line 2.9 litre Cologne V6, an engine which had been around in various guises for many years in FofE products, and a derivative was also used in the Ford Bronco II.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Actually it was a rebabged Ford Sierra, not a Escort.
        • 3 Years Ago
        The big Fords here in Germany are a strange story. The "Granada" (not related to the same named US car) had the problem to be seen as a "car for nomads" (big, cheap and often seen overloaded). To get better sales they replaced this with the "Scorpio" in the mid 80th. Not a bad car - but times for "big and cheap" were fading away. In 1995 the car got a new design, which was called to be "American", even though it didn't look like any of Fords US models. This was as called to be "sucked round" by German press and was a total failure - in 1998 the big Ford was finally gone. Plans to replace it by a Lincoln LS were given up.
        • 3 Years Ago
        In europe this was Ford Scorpio I (there was a II too as it's succesor). No Escort, no Sierra.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Actually a Ford Granada which used a stretched Sierra platform.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Makes a lot of sense now, I appreciate the information, especially you Summa. I had no idea that Merkur had so much potential, and it makes sense now based on the new competition of the era that they had a rough start. They really had an opportunity to create a niche all their own in the American marketplace.

        My bad on the Escort name, it is definitely derived from the Sierra. Shouldn't have messed that up, because the Sierra RS Cosworth is one of my favorite cars =)
        • 3 Years Ago
        My favorite euro Ford was always and is the 1990 Ford Sierra RS Cosworth 4x4

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGUNGo8-duk
        • 3 Years Ago
        @CarCrazy24,
        I think it was a couple of things. First, the Merkur XR4Ti introduced three years before it had some reliability issues which sort of tarnished the Merkur brand and second, the U.S. market wasn't entirely sold on the idea of luxury hatchbacks except maybe Saabs.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I remember the cars but didn't remember that they were THAT expensive.
      ... that car is about $50,000 in today's money when adjusted for inflation!

      Merkur was a decent enough concept that simply failed miserably by inept Detroit executives. They should have either made Mercury or Lincoln more sporty/European instead of dumping a ton of money into developing a 4th division, or they should have priced the cars way more competitively with other sporting cars of the day. Oh yeah, and the division name was awful - that didn't help either and the fact that they simply looked like slightly trumped-up Tauruses also didn't help the cause.

      To put this into perspective, Toyota thoroughly researched the luxury market and introduced Lexus only 1 year after this commercial for Merkur aired. There's a very good reason that one of those brands is still around, and the other is looong gone.

      • 3 Years Ago
      My favorite thing about this commercial:
      http://pushroad.com/tags/r/58186

      The simple fact that there's no website to visit, but instead you have to "call toll-free" seems so ridiculous these days.
        • 3 Years Ago
        I had to laugh at your comment. What are you? 19? You think life before the internet is some historical event from eons past? Most of us have lived more years before the web than after. "Oh wow, an ad from 1988 has no web site! Oh my god how weird!" *rolls his eyes*
        • 3 Years Ago
        Yep! The guy only pointed the fact that in the old days you have to call, and that now this look incredible out of mind. He is not saying it is wrong, or critizicing it...

        Chill man...
        • 3 Years Ago
        Geez ram73, who pissed in your cereal this morning? Whether or not you grew up in those days, doesn't mean it still wouldn't seem ridiculous that such an offer came without a link today. Perhaps it's you that needs to grow up.
        • 3 Years Ago
        seriously. even in the 90s any product commercial that wanted to be taken seriously didn't bother with putting a phone number in it.
        • 3 Years Ago
        I'm 25 and I think it seems strange there's no website because I'm so accustomed to it.
        • 3 Years Ago
        I don't think the popularity of including a website in a commercial was popular until the 2000's. Before then websites were just around as a side thing and not a big fat major business like now.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @ram73: Your guess of my age is close, I'm actually 20, which puts me at the heart of the internet generation. This also means I was born in 1990 (2 years after this commercial was made), so you can't blame me for having this mindset.

        If you posted a comment about how crazy starting an engine with hand crank is, do you think it's appropriate for a 120 year old Autoblog user (if there are any) to come along and laugh at your comment?
      • 3 Years Ago
      Merkur went the down the same way as Sterling. The 80s saw many new luxo-brands appear such as Acura and the development of Lexus and Infiniti.

      Problem with Merkur is that they put too much emphasis on being from Germany: If being from Germany is better then why not go to the source and buy a BMW or Mercedes in first place? Same thing with the Big 3 touting their cars with "Euro" package (I remember the Lumina "Euro"), being sportier, better and "just cooler".

      In the end, the consumer just wants a decent car, that does not give mechanical problems, reliable, decent looking and priced well. This is the formula that the Japanese used to get where they are today and we see it with Hyundai and Buick: Bring good products at good prices and consumers will follow.
      • 3 Years Ago
      ..."sporting glasses and a rail-thin physique..."

      'rail-thin', or just 'not overweight/obese' which has become the norm...

      And yeah, the glasses are definitely too much... to complete the look with a more casual take on the commercial, he would have had a pastel sweater tied around his neck.
      • 3 Years Ago
      No thanks, I'll stick with my Sterling!

      By the way, nice glasses Tim! (NOT)
      • 3 Years Ago
      Growing up in Ireland in the 80's, I remember my dad's Scorpio (Grandada in Ireland), it had a 2.7 litre V-6 which was a huge engine back then, you have to pay a road tax on the size of the engine. He loved the car and still talks about it. He's still a Ford guy now drivin a '10 Taurus.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Jim Rome would constantly poke fun at his Merkur.. its funny to see that Ford was doing then with Mercury in a way what GM is doing today with, or was, with Buick by bringing in imported models..
      • 3 Years Ago
      "German engineering at your Lincoln/Mercury dealer... what could possibly go wrong?"

      Fifteen years earlier, the Mercury Capri was the 4th-best-selling imported car brand in the country--since Toyota, Datsun, and VW did not break out sales by model at that time, it might have been first or second.
      • 3 Years Ago
      To bad they never made it, that and the XR4TI seemed interesting at the time.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Im tired of hearing is voice on everything.
    • Load More Comments