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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
 |  Jun 27 2011, 5:20 PM

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It might come as a surprise to some that it’s possible to purchase a six-passenger sedan, but in previous decades, large sedans with front bench seats and space for an extra passenger in the middle were mainstays of the American automotive landscape.

While cars like the Ford Taurus and Mercury Grand Marquis were once available with six seats, the sole remaining sedan available with a front bench seat is the Chevrolet Impala. But with a new model coming in 2013, GM has to decide whether to keep producing a six seater vehicle, which accounts for roughly 25 percent of Impala sales.

With the new Impala salted to be built on a narrower platform, and GM offering a full lineup of crossovers that can carry more than 5 passengers, it makes little sense for the company to continue producing a six seater Impala. If the General continues down this path, we’ll be seeing the end of an era for American motoring – not that we’re too torn up about it.

[Source: Detroit Free Press]

 |  Oct 05 2010, 3:22 PM

It’s official. Ford has announced that production of Mercury vehicles for retail customers will end on Sunday, October 10 this year. It’s not entirely the end of Merc manufacturing – vehicles will continue to roll off the assembly lines for a few more months, but they will be aimed strictly at fleet buyers – rental car companies, government agencies and the like.

But even as production winds down, there actually seems to be fewer deals to be had – including the loss of bonus cash offers – quite extraordinary, since sales of Mercury vehicles have spiked recently. In August, the brand sold 9,039 vehicles for the month, comprising 2,976 Mariner SUVs, 2013 Milan mid-size sedans, 651 Mountaineer SUVs and, get this, 3,399 Grand Marquis full-size sedans – proving that even on its deathbed the old body-on-frame rear drive mastadon is just as much a gravy boat now as it ever was.

Although production will be ending on Sunday, Mercury dealers will still be selling cars as long as inventory remains available. So if you fancy getting yourself one of the last examples of Ford’s original medium priced brand, better get your skates on. Here’s some of the offers currently being pedaled by dealers and good at least through Monday next week.

  • 2010 Mercury Grand Marquis: 0% for 36 months, plus $1,000 bonus cash and two years of free maintenance, or $4,000 in total cash back .
  • 2010 Mercury Mariner: 0% for 60 months and two years of free maintenance, or $2,000 in total cash back .
  • 2010 Mercury Mountaineer: 0% for 36 months, plus $1,000 bonus cash and two years of free maintenance, or $3,000 in total cash back .
  • 2010 Mercury Milan: 0% for 60 months and two years of free maintenance.
  • 2011 Mercury Milan: 0% for 60 months, or $2,000 cash back.
  • 2011 Mercury Mariner: 0% for 60 months, or $2,000 cash back

[Source: USA Today/Drive On]

 |  Jun 02 2010, 3:02 PM

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Mercury, we hardly knew ye – as anything more than a place where re-badged Ford products could linger in obscurity, serving their purpose as rental cars and female-marketed A-to-B transportation. After 71 years, this model is no longer sustainable, and Automotive News reports that today, Mercury will be sent to the great garage in the sky, next to Saturn, Pontiac, Oldsmobile and Plymouth.

Mercury sales fell 74 percent from 2000 through 2009 and dropped 11 percent in May. “Sales had sunk too low to keep Mercury around,” John Wolkonowicz, an auto analyst with IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Mass, told Automotive News. “The volumes are now probably too small for it to be profitable.”

Key Mercury models like the Grand Marquis and Milan are set to end production at the end of 2010, leaving Mercury without two crucial products.

[Source: Automotive News]

Buying American: It’s In the Numbers (and Letters)

Want to know where a car is made? Look at the VIN.

 |  May 04 2009, 4:59 PM

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The All-American Impala: Made in Canada

During President Obama’s press conference last week when he announced that Chrylser would file for Chapter 11, he asked Americans that if they were looking to buy a car, to look at American cars. The “buy American” philosophy drew harsh criticism from the American International Automobile Dealers Association (AIADA), which pointed out that buying American doesn’t necessarily mean buying a car from an American brand.

“AIADA objects to President Obama’s ‘buy American’ solution for the auto sector,” AIADA President Cody Lusk said in a statement. “In today’s globalized economy ‘buying American’ can mean anything from buying a Chevy Avalanche built by Mexican workers in Silao, Mexico to buying a Toyota Camry built by Americans in Georgetown, Kentucky.”

On that note, there is one way to tell exactly which country a car is manufactured in – the VIN number. That’s right, that odd 17-digit sequence of numbers and letters found on the dash under the windshield (and in numerous other places on a vehicle) holds the key to a vehicle’s country of origin.

Many VIN numbers, actually start with a letter. Those that start with a “J” are built in Japan and those with a “K” are from Korea. Most of the rest, however, aren’t so intuitive. VINs that start with a “W” are from Germany, while an “S” signifies England. Swedish cars get a “Y.”

The United States, Canada and Mexico all use a number system, with American-made cars using a VIN that starts with the number 1, while Canadian-made cars use a 2 and Mexican made cars use a 3.

The number of American vehicles made outside the U.S. is actually quite significant, while many “foreign” cars are built in American. In fact, one of America’s best-selling vehicles (and one that is also typically American) is actually built in Canada – the Chevy Impala.

Other made-in-Canada cars include the Buick Lacrosse, Chrysler 300, Dodge Challenger, Dodge Charger, Ford Flex, Lincoln MKX, Lincoln Town Car, Mercury Grand Marquis and the new 2010 Chevrolet Camaro.

Made-in Mexico cars include the Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan and Chevrolet HHR. And as for the the Chevy Aveo sub-compact, it comes from Korea.

On the flip-side, there are plenty of Japanese (and even some German) vehicles built in the U.S. of A. Some of the most significant include the high volume Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, while the Honda Element and Toyota Avalon are also U.S. products. Nissan builds several models in the United States while BMW manufactures the Z4 as well as the X5 and X6 in South Carolina.

… The more you know…

[Source: La Times]