The Ford Cougar is a coupé which was produced between 1998 and 2002, and sold in Canada and the United States from 1999 to 2002 as the Mercury Cougar. The car was originally intended to be the third-generation Probe, but after a rationalisation of the three coupés available in the United States, the Probe name was dropped in favour of the Cougar.More
The Ford Cougar is a coupé which was produced between 1998 and 2002, and sold in Canada and the United States from 1999 to 2002 as the Mercury Cougar. The car was originally intended to be the third-generation Probe, but after a rationalisation of the three coupés available in the United States, the Probe name was dropped in favour of the Cougar.
The Cougar was Ford's second attempt to reintroduce a sports coupé in Europe, in the same vein as the successful but long-absent Capri – the first attempt having been the Mazda MX-6-based Probe. Just as the Capri had been based on the Cortina, the Cougar was based on the large family car available at the time, the Mondeo.
It premiered in December 1998 to mixed reviews, partly due to the then-new and controversial New Edge styling, a crisp style which was subsequently applied to most of the Ford range. Unlike its famous forebearer, the Capri, Cougar sales were never brisk, despite good reports of the model as a "driver's car".
Like its (indirect) predecessor, the Ford Probe, the 1998 Cougar was sold and built in the United States. Cars destined to be sold in Europe and the United Kingdom were finished in Ford's Köln plant in Germany, where the cars had European-specification lighting installed, Ford badges applied (and in the case of United Kingdom and Australian cars, converted to RHD); in the United States, it had different branding, in this case being branded as the Mercury Cougar, while in Europe and Australia, it was known as the Ford Cougar. In the United Kingdom, Ford unveiled the car in July 1998 at the British Grand Prix, Silverstone. The television advertisements featured the silver model driven by Dennis Hopper due to his appearance in the film Easy Rider. At the same time, Steppenwolf's 1968 hit "Born To Be Wild" played, as this was featured in the film and the same scene the advertisement recreated.
The Cougar was retired from the European market in August 2002. After the first two years of production, only 12,000 units reportedly had been sold in the United Kingdom. Released in Australia in October 1999, the Cougar only came with the optional 2.5-litre 24-valve Duratec V6 and continued through until March, 2004.Less
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