As if there was any remaining question Mercury's become Ford's chick brand (Jill Wagner, call the front desk) it's gone the way of the tube dress. That message's been strengthened by the introduction of Mercury's new VOGA-edition vehicles. It's the latest in a long line of Ford's designer-edition models, starting with the Bill Blass, Cartier, Givenchy and Pucci edition Lincolns of the mid-1970s. Like its siblings, the 2008 VOGA edition Mariner is the product of the Italian design house, not representatives of the Planet of Gold from Doctor Who. No, not even close.
FROM RUNWAY TO DRIVEWAY: MERCURY ANNOUNCES PRODUCTION OF FASHIONABLE VOGA VEHICLE SERIES
MIAMI, Nov. 9 - Mercury continues pushing fashion-forward design, with a new runway-inspired production series called VOGA.
Literally translated as "fashionable and trend-setting," VOGA hits primetime today at the South Florida International Auto Show, debuting on a 2008 Mercury Mariner. Over time, the VOGA series will be offered on a series of Mercury products.
"Mercury always has been about smart and contemporary design aimed at the style-conscious customer who appreciates a unique look," says Peter Horbury, executive director, Design, The Americas. "At a time when stores like IKEA and the concept driving Design Within Reach are influencing our choices of style, the Mercury brand and the new VOGA theme, in particular, are ideal for satisfying customers' desires for even more expressive vehicles."
VOGA came to life on a Mercury Milan VOGA concept revealed during Miami Fashion Week in 2006. Reaction to the vehicle and the idea of a more fashion-focused series resonated with consumers, making a dedicated production series a choice move.
"It's great to be back in Miami to announce the new series and show off the Mercury Mariner VOGA," says Eric Peterson, Mercury Mariner Brand manager. "Given the sophistication of the south Florida market and the enthusiasm around the launch of the Mercury Mariner last year, it made perfect sense to debut our first production application of the VOGA styling here."
The Mariner, along with the Milan sedan, continues to draw new, progressive customers to the Mercury showroom. New customer conquest rates for both vehicles are at nearly 50 percent. Sales of the Mercury Mariner, redesigned for 2008, were up 19 percent in October.
2008 Mercury Mariner VOGA
Already known for its distinctive flair and good looks, the stylish Mercury Mariner has been customized to create the VOGA edition.
At first glance, the Mariner VOGA catches looks with Moss Green metallic paint, special chrome brightwork highlighting the grille, rear fascia trim and unique VOGA badging. The additional brightwork matched with the 17-inch VOGA-capped chrome wheels lends this fashionable vehicle a sporty appearance, making the Mariner VOGA appear ready to hit the scene.
"VOGA is about making a fashion statement each time you go for drive," says Chief Designer Camilo Pardo. "I'm really excited to bring the concept of VOGA to reality across the Mercury line-up. It's my passion to design vehicles that emotionally connect with customers - that 'gotta-have-it' appeal is what fashion is all about."
The Mariner VOGA's distinctive style carries through to the interior, as well. A charcoal black environment surrounds the plush, unique VOGA-embroidered Cashmere leather seats, which are trimmed with contrast Ash stitching to match the exterior color. Charcoal black floor mats are embroidered with the VOGA label, reinforcing the personalized feel.
The focal point of the interior is the striking Tarragon metallic instrument panel covered in a unique paint. The subtle silver-green metallic spans across the center console and door switch plates as well. All of these extra touches provide Mercury customers with the look and feel of a personalized vehicle customized to suit their tastes.
"Customers definitely care about choice and personalization - from their MP3 player case to their cell phone ring tone - that's why Mercury strikes a chord with savvy individualists who aren't looking for the run-of-the-mill products," says Peterson.
The Mariner VOGA will include the same great host of features as the Mariner Premier edition, offering one of the most advanced safety packages in the compact SUV segment with standard side curtain air bags and AdvanceTrac® with RSC®. It also delivers fuel economy up to 24 miles per gallon.
Customers will be able to show-off their sense of style with the new Mercury Mariner VOGA beginning early 2008 when vehicles hit dealer showrooms. Mariner VOGA will join the Mercury Mariner and Mariner Hybrid produced at Ford's Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo, Mo.