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Thread: Merkur Scorpio 1987-1989

  1. #1
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    Merkur Scorpio 1987-1989

    The Merkur Scorpio is an automobile that was sold by the Merkur sub-brand of the Lincoln-Mercury division of Ford. A mid-size luxury car, the Scorpio was developed as the flagship model line of Merkur, sold from 1988 to 1989. In an effort to increase sales of the brand alongside the XR4Ti, the Scorpio allowed Lincoln-Mercury to compete against European executive cars, including the Audi 100, BMW 5-series, Mercedes-Benz 190E (W201), Saab 9000, Sterling 827, and Volvo 740/760.

    The Merkur Scorpio was a near-direct counterpart of the Ford Scorpio Mk I (Ford Granada Mk III in the United Kingdom). As a captive import, the Scorpio was sold in the United States and Canada by selected Lincoln-Mercury dealers. In total, 22,010 examples were imported. The Scorpio was manufactured in West Germany by Ford of Germany in Cologne Body & Assembly in Cologne.

    Model overview
    Similar in appearance and size to the Mercury Sable, the Merkur Scorpio was nearly identical in height, 4.5 inches shorter in length, 1.3 inches narrower, and 2.7 inches longer in wheelbase than the Sable.

    Chassis specification
    The Merkur Scorpio shares its Ford DE-1 chassis with its Ford counterpart. Using a rear-wheel drive layout with four-wheel independent suspension, the DE-1 chassis is a long-wheelbase variant of the Ford Sierra, extending the wheelbase six inches (from 102.7 inches to 108.7 inches). In one of the first vehicles sold in North America, anti-lock brakes were standardized, along with four-wheel disc brakes.

    The Scorpio was offered with a 2.9L V6, producing 144 hp. In contrast to the XR4Ti, the Scorpio was not fitted with a powertrain specific for North America; its engine was the largest offered in the Ford Scorpio (also shared with the Ford Ranger and Bronco II). A 5-speed manual transmission was standard, with a 4-speed overdrive automatic offered as an option.

    Body
    In contrast to many of its European counterparts, the Scorpio was offered solely as a five-door hatchback in North America. The Scorpio's fastback (hatchback) design gave Lincoln-Mercury dealers an opportunity to offer customers a sportier premium alternative to the more traditional Lincoln Continental and Lincoln Town Car sedans. As with the Mercury Sable, the Scorpio was styled with blacked-out roof B and C-pillars, for a floating-roof effect.

    While less extensive than the redevelopment of the XR4Ti, several changes were made to distinguish the Merkur Scorpio from its Ford counterpart. The rear fascia is unique to Merkur; in line with Mercury, the Scorpio is fitted with a full-width taillamp lens. With the exception of badging, the front fascia is largely identical between Merkur and Ford, with the Merkur Scorpio fitted with fog lamps and headlamps in compliance with American regulations. Merkur also received its own model-specific alloy wheels.

    Sharing much of its interior with the Ford Scorpio, the Merkur Scorpio was solely offered in a five-passenger configuration. In contrast to the Sable (or the Lincoln Continental or Town Car), the Scorpio was offered with power-reclining rear seats and a tilt-telescope steering column.

    Pricing
    At its launch, the Merkur Scorpio was sold with a base price of $23,390 (equal to $52,638 today). Options included automatic transmission, power moonroof, and the Touring Package. Most North American Scorpios were sold with automatic transmission and Touring Package which raised the sticker price to $26,405 (equal to $59,423 today). While wearing a similar exterior as the Mercury Sable, the Scorpio rivaled the Lincoln Town Car in price. To attract customers to the vehicle, Lincoln-Mercury offered potential Scorpio customers a Guaranteed Resale Value Program, matching the resale value of the Scorpio to the Mercedes-Benz 190E.

    Discontinuation
    On October 20, 1989, Ford officially announced it was ending imports of the Scorpio to the United States; as the XR4Ti had ended sales earlier in the year, the decision effectively closed Merkur. At the end of 1989, Ford of Europe introduced a sedan version of the Scorpio.

    Coinciding with lower than anticipated sales (Ford sought 15,000 sales a year for the brand), Merkur fell victim to unstable exchange rates between the dollar and German mark, leading to further increases in price. As passive safety regulations were to be adopted in 1990, the Scorpio was required to adopt automatic seatbelts or airbag(s); as the Ford Scorpio was developed with neither feature, passive safety compliance proved too expensive to justify the conversion cost of redeveloping the model line for North American sale.

    Source: Wikipedia
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  2. #2
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    Any explanation on that last picture with the German number plate?
    Lack of charisma can be fatal.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Man of Steel View Post
    The Merkur Scorpio was a near-direct counterpart of the Ford Scorpio Mk I (Ford Granada Mk III in the United Kingdom). As a captive import, the Scorpio was sold in the United States and Canada by selected Lincoln-Mercury dealers. In total, 22,010 examples were imported. The Scorpio was manufactured in West Germany by Ford of Germany in Cologne Body & Assembly in Cologne.
    I think that making a press photo before shipping was a bit easier. That explains the letter K on the German number plate, Köln

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