For years everyone has suggested that Ford kill of its Mercury division. The division simply sells rebadged versions of Ford products, that don't usually have higher levels of performance or luxury. The brand has been seen as a waste of valuable resources and a severe drain on the parent company. Lately Mercury has had somewhat of a revitalization.
Mercury now has the best lineup that they have had in years, thanks to the new Mariner and Milan. Most "car guys" still don't care, but according to a recent article in the Detroit News, women do. According to Warren Post of the Washington Post, female buyers are one of the main reasons why the brand still exists.
In his article Post, tells how his wife and assistant both liked the 2008 Mercury Mariner better than the 2008 Ford Escape that they had driven a few weeks earlier. They stated that the Mariner was more fun and different than the Escape. (Most of us know that the Mariner is basically an Escape with a different grille).
Since the Mariner is essentially the Escape it is very interesting that the women actually liked it better. Is Ford actually on to something? Mercury's marketing tends to focus on women and their needs. Can a brand actually survive that is geared towards one sex?
More info: Detroit News