Back in 1986, the then-new Ford Taurus energized the American mid-size sedan market. Its twin, the all-new Mercury Sable, slinked around in the large shadow cast by the bull, providing a modestly more up-market look to the higher-volume Ford. While the Mercury Sable first went out of production in 2004 (only to return in 2008), it is now officially out of production again, as of last Thursday.
Over the years, fewer and fewer buyers seemed to care about the Sable, especially as the Taurus slid into the "rental fleet only" category. Ford demonstrated that it wasn't willing to invest in the Sable, as the name was abandoned for the launch of the 2005 Ford Five-Hundred and Mercury Montego.
In 2007, new Ford boss Alan Mulally at the Chicago Auto Show that the Sable nameplate would return. Compared to the 2007 Montego, the 2008 Sable was significantly upgraded and proved to be an solid choice for those shopping for full-size sedans. (See our review on the 2009 Mercury Sable.) The sedan's huge interior and high seating position provide a comfortable environment for older drivers. Visibility is excellent, and performance with Ford's 3.5-liter V-6 is absolutely adequate for this class of car.
In the last few years, Ford has plucked many feathers from Mercury's helmet feathers. With Sable's exit, Mercury is left with the Milan (twin to the Ford Fusion), Mariner (twin to the Ford Escape), Mountaineer (twin to the Ford Explorer) and Grand Marquis (twin to the Crown Victoria). The Mountaineer and Grand Marquis are likely to go out of production in the next few model years. We have not seen any new Mercury products at Ford Motor Company events, so this does leave us wondering about the future of the brand.
The Detroit News touches on the future of the Mercury in their story on the Sable heading out of production.