Last Mercury Cougar Rolls Off Assembly Line at
FLAT ROCK, Mich., Aug. 30, 2002 (FCN) – After four years in
production, employees at the Ford-Mazda AutoAlliance International
plant in Flat Rock, Mich. said goodbye this week to the Mercury
Cougar sport coupe.
The last of more than 230,000 units rolled off of the assembly
line on Wednesday, a moment marked by a brief employee ceremony. It
also marked the last day of production for the Mazda 626 sedan,
which is scheduled to be replaced by the all-new Mazda6 in October.
After having initial success drawing younger buyers and women
into the Mercury brand when it was re-introduced in 1998, sales of
the Cougar quickly cooled.
"A lot of
blood, sweat and tears has gone into these vehicles," said Phil
Spender, president, AutoAlliance International. "Cougar was very
much a niche product and its styling was avant garde at the time,
but unfortunately, styling like that dates very quickly. That was
clearly a factor."
For Cheryl Rakoczy, a 15-year quality inspection employee at AAI,
the discontinuation of the Cougar carried special significance. Back
on March 16, 1998, Cheryl was selected in a drawing to drive out in
the first re-designed Cougar during Job #1 ceremonies for the 1999
model launch. On Wednesday, she was also on hand, driving the last
model off of the assembly line.
"I'm sad to see it go," said
Rakoczy. "I really liked this vehicle. But we're thankful to be able
to focus on a new product coming in this fall, which is exciting
Last Mercury Cougar rolls off the
"We're all looking forward to the future," said Spender. "Today
marks a new beginning, starting with the new Mazda6 launch which we
commence in October, and then move on to a second Ford product after