The Falcon is Ford's orginal compact car, its design under the skin along with that of the midsized Fairlane would be used for years to come in many different Ford and Mercury automobiles. These include the Mustang, Maverick, Granada, Monarch, Cougar, amoung many cars based on the Falcon/Fairlane type unit-body.
The Comet was Mercury's version of the Ford compact and came in many different styles. Depending on the year a Comet may be based on the Falcon, Fairlane, or Maverick platforms.
The Maverick came out in 1969 as Ford's new small car and import fighter. Even with limited options in its first year, 575,000 Mavericks were sold with only the choice the 170 and 200 cid I6s and only a 2 door body style. The Maverick platform would later be stretched to produce the Granada in 1975.
The Granada and Monarch were orginally set to be the replacements for the Maverick and Comet, however due to strong sales of the Maverick and Comet Ford kept it in production after the Granada and Monarch were introduced. The Granada and Monarch were based on a long version of the Maverick unit body and share many mechanical components with the Maverick. Very few changes were made to the Granada and Monarch until they became rebadged Fairmonts in 1981.
The Fairmont was the first of Ford's FOX platform cars, this platform carries on today in a much modified form under the skin of the Mustang. The Fox platform was used for many Ford cars, starting in '79 for the Mustang and later including the LTD, Thunderbird, Cougar, Capri, and Granada.
The Tempo and Topaz were the first front drive ford compacts. Though never more than basic transportation, the cars still remained good sellers.
The Contour and Mystique are the first of Ford's new world cars and are the most technically advanced compacts Ford has made. The Duratec V-6 SE level Contour is the first preformance package available in a Ford compact since the demise of the Maverick Grabber and Stalion in '75 and '76.
The Cougar returned to it's compact roots for the first time since it was based on the Mustang. Today's version is a 2 door variant of the Contour platform.