Mercury appears to be gasping for breath like a porgy washed ashore. They are nice enough cars; the Milan is handsome and nicely trimmed, the Sable got a more distinctive face this year, and the Mountaineer is what every Explorer should be. Initial quality is better than most, according to JD Power, and the brand knocked it out of the park on Power's 2007 Dependability ratings, too. Despite that, nobody seems to be paying any attention to Mercury (sales are down 6.7% through November). It could be that the brand has nothing unique to offer other than tarted up Fords. The fleet-only status of the Crown Victoria makes the Mercury store the only place to get the Panther platform without the Town Car drag, but the Grand Marquis long ago had its day in the sun. Every time we lament the fortunes of Mercury like this, we get an email from Ford letting us know it has product in the pipeline for its Roman god of Commerce and Speed (how ironic is that?). We'll have just have to wait and see.
[Source: Auto News - sub req., Photo: Larry Rippell]