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|Body and chassis|
|Class||Mid-size luxury / Executive car|
|Body style||5-door hatchback|
|Engine||2.9 L Cologne V6|
|Wheelbase||108.7 in (2,761 mm)|
|Length||186.4 in (4,735 mm)|
|Width||69.5 in (1,765 mm)|
|Height||54.6 in (1,387 mm)|
The Merkur Scorpio is a modified version of the European Ford Scorpio with four doors and liftgate (hatchback). It was manufactured between 1987 and 1989 and sold by Merkur as 1988 and 1989 models. It first went on sale in the United States in May 1987, but was discontinued in October 1989. It was unsuccessful in the American market for a variety of reasons, and some contemporary observers blamed poor marketing of the brand and model for its quick demise.
The Merkur Scorpio, along with the Merkur XR4Ti, was developed from two of Ford's European executive cars: the Ford Scorpio Mark I and the Ford Sierra, respectively. They were manufactured in Germany and sold in North America as captive imports.
The XR4Ti only came as a two-door vehicle with liftgate, and the Scorpio only came as a four-door with a liftgate. Unlike the popularity the European Fords enjoyed, both the Merkur Scorpio and the XR4Ti fell prey to several different issues that led to the Merkur name being discontinued 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.
The Merkur logo was featured on the front as a flush-mounted hood ornament, on the standard alloy wheels, and on the steering wheel. A variety of exterior color choices were available, each matched to either gray or brown lower body cladding.
Power came from a 144-horsepower 2.9 L V6 engine. While offering reasonable performance for its time, it fell short of other premium hatchbacks such as the Saab 9000 Turbo and Sterling 827 which offered more powerful engines.
The original starting price was $23,390 (equal to $49,308 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 $55,664 today). Prices rose nearly 8% for the 1989 model but hefty incentives, due to slow sales, more than offset the increase.
On October 20, 1989, Ford officially announced it was discontinuing imports of the Scorpio to the United States due to poor sales and the high cost of converting the car to meet new U.S. safety regulations. This effectively dissolved the Merkur franchise as the Merkur XR4Ti, the brand's only other offering, had been discontinued earlier in the model year.
Most parts for Merkur Scorpios are widely available, although certain custom features are not. Most parts are available in the United States, but some have to be located in Europe and shipped internationally.
The Scorpio used a high-security design called a Tibbe key in the ignition; this design is still used on European Fords and most Jaguar cars, but they are relatively uncommon in the U.S. A few unused blank keys for replacements remain in the states, and most have to be sourced from Ford of Europe. Some of the Tibbe keys had a built-in, battery-powered, micro flashlight. This key was a Ford Chubb design used on most Ford UK models prior to 1994.
|Calendar Year||American Sales|
- "Ford Scorpio Merkur"
- Black Enterprise, November 1988, p. 102
- Merkur Desktop — a directory of webpages related to Merkur.
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Merkur road car timeline, 1985–1989