Mercury pumps $23M into Milan marketing
By AMY WILSON | AUTOMOTIVE NEWS
DETROIT -- Mercury is spending $23 million on a fourth-quarter marketing campaign to jump-start U.S. sales of the Milan sedan.
Mercury executives have told dealers the advertising push is part of a plan to sell at least 50,000 Milans annually.
Through November, Mercury sold 32,980 Milans. That puts it on pace to sell fewer than 40,000 for all of 2006.
So Mercury has some work to do to hit its target. That's where the new marketing campaign comes in.
"We'll get more momentum with our advertising," said Mike Richards, Lincoln Mercury general marketing manager. "You get more word of mouth."
Mercury started running new Milan TV commercials in early October. Two spots tout features of the 2007 model. One focuses on all-wheel drive. The second emphasizes what Mercury officials describe as "cool features," such as an iPod jack.
Milan sales picked up in November, Richards said. He wouldn't confirm the sales target or the advertising budget for the Milan.
But marketing support on the Milan is expected to continue at strong levels into 2007, Richards said.
Even including the Montego, Mercury's other mid-sized sedan offering, Mercury is far from replacing the sales volume of the discontinued Sable. Mercury routinely sold 100,000 or more Sables annually, though volume tailed off before it was dropped in 2005. By contrast, the Milan and Montego are on pace to sell fewer than 60,000 units combined in 2006.
Richards said it's not an appropriate comparison: "Sable was a huge fleet car and a different set of industry circumstances."