In the mid-1980s, Ford turned to its largest offering in Europe to provide a product that would help it move upmarket and expand its offering in North America. 5-mph bumpers and U.S. lighting made them eligible for importation. They were built alongside the rest of the world market cars in Germany, and the unconventional hatchback body style further differentiated the vehicle from its more standard saloon rivals from Mercedes and BMW. A
Merkur was a sub-brand of the Lincoln-Mercury division of Ford, and the Scorpio was its flagship model line. Its production lifespan was brief, lasting from 1988 to 1989. Its body style was a five-door hatchback with front engine placement providing power to the rear wheels. Its appearance was similar to its Mercury Sable cousin but was 4.5-inches shorter in length, 2.7-inches longer in wheelbase, and 1.3-inch narrower. It used a long-wheelbase Ford DE-1 chassis version of the Ford Sierra along with four-wheel independent suspension setup. It was one of the first vehicles sold in North America to use anti-lock brakes as standard, along with four-wheel discs. Power was from a 2.9-liter V6 engine sourced from the Ford Scorpio and shared with the Ford Ranger and Bronco II. It used a five-speed manual transmission as standard or an optional four-speed overdrive automatic.
Much of the interior was sourced from the Ford Scorpio, with power-reclining rear seats and a tilt-telescope steering column. Options included a power moonroof and the Touring Package. The base price of the Merkur Scorpio was $23,390 which put it in Lincoln Town Car territory. Due to the high price, sales were limited, with 5,178 sold in 1987 and 9,516 in 1988. Combined 1989 and 1990 sales were 7,316 units. Ford announced on October 20th of 1989 that it was officially ending imports of the Scorpio to the United States. Sales of the XR4Ti had ended earlier in the year.
By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2020
Along with the steep prices, the Scorpio faced an unstable exchange rate between the German mark and the U.S. dollar. New passive safety regulations proved to be too expensive to redevelop the model line for North American sales, prompting the demise of the Scorpio and the Merkur in North America.