Half-Ford and half-Mercury, these unusual products filled the gaps in Ford Motor Company’s thin Canadian dealer network. Here are the whys and hows of the Meteor and Monarch.
The postwar product strategies of the American automakers in Canada can look awfully strange—until we recognize that the country has slightly more geographical area than the United States, but barely one-tenth the population. As a result, the dealer networks were spread thin. There weren’t enough retail locations to go around, especially in rural areas. Ford and General Motors, to name two, invented some novel product lines to compensate for the geographical gaps. At Ford, the solutions included two uniquely Canadian products: the Meteor and Monarch.
The Meteor (1956 Meteor Rideau above) was sold through Mercury dealers in Canada from 1949 through 1961 and 1964 through 1976, replacing the similar-themed Mercury 114 of 1946-1948. Essentially an American-style Ford with distinctive chrome trim and details, the Meteor was intended to give Mercury retailers a Ford-priced product in their lineup. Under the same strategy, Canadian Mercury dealers offered a line of Mercury-badged Ford trucks. Meteor model names included Rideau, Niagara, and Montcalm, adding some local flavor. From 1964 on, the Meteor was based on the U.S. Mercury body shell.
Along similar lines, Ford dealers in Canada were given a Mercury-class car for their showrooms. The Monarch (1950 model above) was offered from 1946 through 1957 and from 1959 through 1961. (In 1958, the Edsel briefly filled the Monarch’s marketing slot.) Behind the badges the Monarch was essentially a Mercury, but with a different grille and trim to distinguish it from the regular Mercury line. Prices were in the Mercury range as well. Naturally, as transportation and communications improved and Canada joined the global village, the automakers no longer had any need for these unusual product alignments. At Ford these days, the strategy is one world, one Ford.
There was one more Canadian oddball that was offered for only one year, the Frontenac (below). Technically, the Frontenac was not a Ford or a Mercury but a standalone brand that allowed Mercury dealers to sell a rebadged version of the Motor Company’s new entry in the compact class for 1960, the Falcon. When Mercury introduced its own version of the Falcon, the 1961 Comet, the Frontenac was discontinued. Fewer than 10,000 Frontenacs were produced at Ford’s Oakville, Ontario plant.
Article courtesy of Mac's Motor City Garage.