Merkur is an obscure and short lived automobile brand whose cars and Merkur parts were briefly marketed by the Ford Motor Company in the United States and Canada from 1985 to 1989. The German word Merkur is translated in English as Mercury. The Merkur brand was a separate franchise agreement and was offered to only Lincoln-Mercury dealers, of which about 800 took the franchise. Only two vehicles were ever sold under the brand; the XR4Ti and the Scorpio. The Merkur brand of automobiles produced Merkur parts and cars that cater to buyers looking for semi-luxury type of cars. The intention to build cars and Merkur parts that bore the reputation for dependability and speed.
Merkur parts have not so far generated a particularly significant amount of interest in the collector market. There are only few pockets of known collector groups that are interested in Merkur parts and cars, and even then their numbers are low in number. Merkur parts are available and due to the relative scarceness of them, Merkur parts may have to be sourced from Europe.
Thankfully some Merkur parts are identical to those used in some domestic automobile models. For example, Merkur's XR4Ti shares its engine with the Mustang SVO and the Thunderbird Turbo Coupe. Merkur parts for the XR4Ti were manufactured by Karmann in Rheine, Germany. This makes it easier for owners to maintain their vehicles when they require Merkur parts. The turbocharged 2.3 L engine in these cars is very robust and fairly easy to modify with Merkur parts to produce additional power and torque. Popular performance modifications to the XR4Ti chassis are larger turbochargers, intercoolers, and the heavier duty T5 transmission from the Mustang or Thunderbird Turbo Coupe plus Specific Merkur parts and accessories. Easy upgrades to 4-wheel disc brakes and heavier duty suspension systems and other Merkur parts are quite common as well.
Another Merkur vehicle, the Merkur Scorpio also has a reputation for easy maintenance, except for specific design features to the Merkur parts, the interior and body. The Scorpio was also introduced to replace another popular model, the Ford Granada. This started life as a 5-door hatchback, and later became available in a 4 door sedan and a 5 door wagon. An executive class vehicle in the form of the Scorpio Cosworth was produced, powered by Merkur parts, a 2.9 liter, 24 valve Cosworth V6 motor. It also featured Merkur parts and 16" aluminum alloy wheels similar to the high quality wheels found on exclusive luxury models, a rear spoiler, and additional ground effects.
The Merkur brands (Merkur parts and Merkur cars) were short lived on the commercial market. A major factor in the decision to drop the cars was the requirement to add either a Merkur part which would act as a passive restraint system or air bags for US models since these were not requirements for European models. Ultimately, XR4Ti was dropped first and the Scorpio a few months later in 1989.