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Old 12-06-2004, 06:00   #1 (permalink)
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US:Mercury to drop long-suffering Sable from lineup next spring

Mercury to drop long-suffering Sable from lineup next spring

AMY WILSON | Automotive News

DETROIT -- Mercury will discontinue its long-suffering Sable sedan after the 2005 model year.

Production of the Sable at Ford Motor Co.'s Atlanta assembly plant is expected to end in April, according to an internal company document. A Lincoln Mercury spokeswoman would not comment on the Sable's end date.

But with two new sedans in the Mercury lineup by fall 2005, the Sable is an also-ran, sources say. Mercury introduced the Montego sedan in September. The smaller Milan sedan will debut next fall.

Dealers have expected the Sable's demise. The Sable wagon was killed this year.

"With the Milan coming, I think that would give us too many cars in that segment at that price point," says George Benson, a Pittsburgh dealer and outgoing chairman of the Lincoln Mercury dealer council.

Benson said the Milan and Montego are big improvements over the heavily discounted Sable, which hasn't received a significant redesign since the 1996 model.

Sable sales have dropped 30 percent this year, to 40,088 vehicles through November. Mercury sold 61,342 Sables in 2003, down from a high of 120,977 in 1993
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