<IMG SRC="http://www.swedespeed.com:81/resources/gallery/auto_shows/geneva_01/ford_group/images/large/06.jpg"> <P>In his column at Forbes, columnist Jerry Flint has confirmed that Ford will bring the new Mondeo to the US as the replacement for the Mercury Sable ( <A HREF="http://biz.yahoo.com/fo/010309/0309flint.html" TARGET=_blank>http://biz.yahoo.com/fo/010309/0309flint.html</A> ). Trouble is, Mercury is still somewhat of a misunderstood enigma.<P>The new Mondeo looks like a great car, and future versions of this platform could be shared with the S60 at the very least.<P>Personally, I think Ford needs to figure a direction for Mercury and stick with it. For years, Mercury has gotten rather bland rental car style cars because any sporting character should go to Fords. The fact of the matter though is that the Taurus SHO is long dead and there is little, other than the Focus, for the sporting enthusiast.<P>So here's my suggestion for Mercury.<P> <IMG SRC="http://www.swedespeed.com:81/resources/gallery/auto_shows/geneva_01/ford_group/images/large/10.jpg"> <BR>Focus - Sell it as the Focus ala the Plymouth/Dodge Neon. Give it some different option packages and models, like the European Focus RS rather than Ford's SVT and maybe sell the RS as a sedan and wagon as well. <P>Cougar - Keep it, and redevelope it on the new Mondeo platform. An all-wheel-drive version of the car, even in limited numbers, would compete well with the $20-$30K sport coupes on the market. Use the RS name on a limited run top end for more emphasis on the enthusiast. This would also play well in making a C50 for Volvo and even close in size to the P1800.<P>Mondeo - Use the Mondeo name. The Sable name is dumb and won't resonate with enthusiasts. Stationwagon, awd, and RS versions of this should be available also.<P>Grand Marquis/Marauder - Keep it. It sells to older people and with the Marauder it won't hurt a new enthusiast-oriented Mercury.<P> <IMG SRC="http://www.swedespeed.com:81/resources/gallery/auto_shows/geneva_01/ford_group/images/large/21.jpg"> <P>Maverick - For the US, it is Escape and Tribute, but in Europe the Escape is the Ford Maverick. Keep the name but put a Mercury Emblem on it. Make a Maverick RS.<P>Mountaineer- If it sells, I guess keep it but I'm not big on this vehicle.<P>Villager - The new one will be Windstar based. Make an RS version of the car.<P>RS should be a hot AWD version, a brand within a brand. They should also come up with a new logo, as the current circular horoizon M design doesn't really resonate.