Mercury Plans C-Segment Offering for 2012

What’s the next C-car variant on Ford’s agenda? A Mercury.

During a speech at the West Michigan Automotive Manufacturing Summit, Mark Fields, Ford’s president of the Americas, noted the automaker is planning on rolling out a Mercury variant of its new C-car architecture.

Fields comments echo those of Ford CEO Alan Mulally, who told Inside Line earlier this week the company still supported the brand.

“That’s our plan — to continuously improve the Mercury and Lincoln brands,” Mulally said.

A C-car — or any new car offering, really — would be improving the Mercury brand. Apart from the Milan and the aging Grand Marquis, the brand is devoid of any passenger car offerings

A Mercury C-car would also help Ford flesh out its promise to craft 10 new vehicles from its global compact car architecture. Thus far, we’ve seen four: the C-Max and Grand C-Max minivans were launched at the 2009 Frankfurt show (the latter is destined for the U.S.), while the new Focus sedan and five-door hatchback were unveiled at this year’s Detroit auto show.

“Certainly, one [variant] will be a Mercury,” said Mark Schirmer, spokesman for Lincoln-Mercury. “It’ll give us something to put into showrooms, and help energize the Mercury brand.”

Details on the “mini-Merc” are still somewhat scarce, but we’d bet on the new car — whose nomenclature has yet to be set in stone — to be either the new Focus, not a “whitespace” vehicle like the Grand C-Max, or the Lincoln C concept shown at the 2009 Detroit auto show.

The new Mercury model is slated to be unveiled later this year (likely at the Los Angeles auto show), and should go on sale in early 2011, shortly after the 2012 Focus arrives on showroom floors.

Source: Ford, Inside Line