The Tracer was discontinued in 2000 and didn’t have a Mercury branded replacement. Instead, the Ford Focus was supposed to cater to the former Tracer audience.
Mercury Tracer Overview
The Mercury Tracer was an automobile produced by the Mercury division of Ford Motor Company. It served as Mercury’s compact car offering during its lifespan, and its history is intertwined with the better-known Ford Escort with which it shared many components and was essentially a badge-engineered version for the Mercury lineup. The Tracer was introduced in the North American market for the 1988 model year as a replacement for the Mercury Lynx, which was the previous Mercury counterpart to the Ford Escort.
There were several generations of the Tracer:
First Generation (1988-1989): This version of the Tracer was based on the Mazda 323 platform, as a result of Ford’s partnership with Mazda. The Tracer was essentially a rebadged version of the Ford Laser, itself a variant of the 323. It was available as a 3-door hatchback, 5-door hatchback, and a 5-door station wagon.
Second Generation (1991-1996): After skipping the 1990 model year, the Tracer returned in 1991, now as a rebadged version of the Ford Escort and was based on Ford’s North American Escort platform. It was offered in sedan and wagon body styles. This generation saw a significant design update, making the Tracer more contemporary in its looks and features.
Third Generation (1997-1999): The Tracer received another update, closely mirroring changes to the Ford Escort. It was available as a 4-door sedan or a wagon. This would be the final generation for the Tracer as Mercury shifted its focus to other segments and vehicles.
The Tracer was discontinued after the 1999 model year. The compact segment for Mercury was left vacant until the introduction of the Mercury Milan in 2006, although the Milan was more of a mid-sized offering. The decision to end the Tracer was part of a broader strategy by Ford to realign and simplify the product offerings between Ford and its Mercury division, focusing Mercury more on the midsize and larger segments.