Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Ford Cougar was Ford's attempt to introduce a European sports coupe in the same vein as the famous Capri. The car was named after its famous American musclecar ancestor, the Mercury Cougar. Just as the Capri was based on the Cortina, the Cougar is based on the mid-sized car available at the time, the Mondeo. It premiered in December 1998, but unlike its famous forebears, its sales were never that brisk. It was built in the United States, where it was placed under the Mercury brand name.
When the 1993-2000 series Mondeo was replaced by the New Mondeo, the Cougar was dropped in Europe. Reasons for the lack of sales is not clear, the Mondeo was always considered to be a great drivers' car and the Cougar followed suit. The lack of a prestige badge was probably the biggest problem with the car. The success of the BMW 3 series coupe proves there is a market for this kind of car, as long as the image is right.
The same vehicle was sold as the Mercury Cougar in the North American market, where it was considered a compact car. It was advertised as being the first example of a new school of Ford design called "New Edge," which apparently meant a combination of the rounded, aerodynamic look of previous Fords with a few sharply defined body creases here and there. This small Cougar was not a success and no further "New Edge" designs appeared.
Ford have no plans (currently) for a new Cougar based on the current Mondeo.
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