Mercury Cougar (new style)

Mercury Cougar (new style)
I have been wondering for some time if that car really is a Merc. It does not look like anything Detroit has ever produced before.
My guess is Mazda, although it looks a lot like a Toyota Celica.
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The Probe/Cougar was the last vehicle I worked with as a Ford Design Engineer, I retired in 1986. The car that was sold as the 1999 Mercury Cougar, and as the Ford Cougar in Europe, was a Ford design that we built off a Mazda FWD chassis. It was originally to be the 1989 Ford Probe, but Ford pulled the plug on the poor selling Probe, to settle on the Mustang as its sporty model in 1999. Mustang sales have been fantastic ever since so I guess the move was correct
FWD sporty cars just do sell to traditional sporty car buyers. FWD sporty cars where selling primarily to female drivers who were satisfied with the inferior handling of FWD vehicles. Mercury had a better change of attracting the female buyers, and the 1998 Ford Probe became the 1999 Mercury/Ford Cougar.
Sales were originally better for the car as a Mercury then they were for the last Probe, even though Ford had added more standard equipment and lowered the price by $1,400 on the 1997 Probe. Woman do not buy new cars as often as men and Cougar sales in 2000 were below those of the 1997 Probe and tanked after that and the decision made to drop the car.
mike hunt
" Paul " <"=?x-user-defined?Q??= Paul

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Good info. Thanks Mike.
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I just realize I posted this in gm. It was supposed to go in rec.autos.tech. Sorry.
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