Does Mulally Read TTAC? Ford to Axe Volvo and Mercury

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
does mulally read ttac ford to axe volvo and mercury

Ford PR is blooming all over! On the same day that The Detroit News declares that "Ford's recovery gaining traction," page one of The Wall Street Journal claims "Ford Eyes More Cuts As Recovery Advances." Readers of both pieces will find plenty of reasons to be cheerful: cultural change! lower labor cost (eventually)! common components! reduced development time! positive operating cash flow! less brands! more filling! So… who wants to talk about Ford's U.S. market share? Mr. Hoffman? Mr. Spector? Do we have to do EVERYTHING around here? FoMoCo's market share dropped from 15.1 percent at the end of 2006, to 14.2 percent at the end of 2007, to 13 percent this April. Big deal. "I don't care what market-share level you are," Mr. Mulally told the Journal. The goal is to "get back to profitability." Oh, and the New York paper says "According to people close to Mr. Mulally, he is looking at selling Volvo despite Ford's repeated statements that it intends to hang on to the brand. Similarly, he hopes to shutter the ailing Mercury brand." Hopes and dreams. Drive one!

Join the conversation
4 of 33 comments
  • Menno Menno on Apr 24, 2008

    Did anyone else see this yet? I have to agree that Mercury could easily go and nobody would miss it at all. Except automotive historians, of course. Badge engineering of cars is, or should be, dead. Mercury is simply a money wasting distraction. Personally, if Ford execs do read this, I want to say "thanks" for swallowing your pride over the AFA thing - perhaps other companies will learn a lesson you learned, that potentially insulting a huge portion of the public to snuggle up to 1-2% (who buy Subarus anyway) doesn't play well in Peoria - or Texas, where you really truly need to turn around the fact that a LOT of new full sized Toyota pickup owners have turned in Ford pickups on trade over the last year or so. I also want to mention the fact that bringing back real car names would benefit Ford and Lincoln. I'm sure I'm like a huge portion of the public, in that when I hear a jumble of letters as a car's name, I simply don't register or remember them. A name means something (especially if well chosen). For example, bring back Zephyr for Lincoln's sportier CAR line. Perhaps bring some iconic, classic, clean styling for a luxury Lincoln CONTINENTAL CAR line - yep, even with rear hinged rear doors, please. Also, did anyone else "happen" to notice in the linked article about Ford, that they are now breaking out Volvo's numbers for the first time? I have to wonder if Volvo will soon be in the hands of some company such as Peugeot-Citroen. At least Peugeot group would then have some kind of presence in the United States, and could potentially re-launch the Peugeot brand in Volvo dealers, as a lower-cost Euro-alternative. Interestingly enough, Peugeot is already collaborating with Mitsubishi by building Peugeot and Citroen SUVs, and Mitsubhishi has an underutilized plant in Normal, Illinois. Imagine Volvos coming from Illinois, and Peugeots from South America being sold in the US at Volvo dealers.... it would work. Also, Ford could then concentrate on Ford and Lincoln, by killing off Mercury. It is simply a distraction. I'm hoping Ford succeeds. Here in Michigan, we need a Michigan based company to survive.

  • Jthorner Jthorner on Apr 24, 2008

    "The platform sharing has been a boon for Ford." To quote Chris Matthews: Hah! The Volvo based Fords have been flops. Five Hundred/Taurus and Freestyle/Taurus X. The current Taurus is perhaps the best vehicle in it's class (if you limit the class to 2.8 members), but it isn't selling worth a darn. Mazda has contributed greatly to Ford's successful developments, but Volvo .... not so much.

  • CarShark CarShark on Apr 24, 2008
    Actions do speak louder than words: See any new Mercury product on the horizon? @Lichtronamo: It dawned on me a day after TTAC blogged that Ford just announced a fairly substantial MCE for the Fusion (a staggeringly important vehicle) but didn't mention the Milan at all. Mercury's not getting a Flex, but Lincoln is (MK...T, I think?) Mercury didn't get an Edge, but Lincoln did. Seems they're just going to starve it to death. @Geotpf: Sounds like you're in the minority on this one. It seems to make great sense to me.
  • Geotpf Geotpf on Apr 24, 2008
    6G74 : April 23rd, 2008 at 8:23 pm If I’m not mistaken, Mercury’s so far down the tubes that they’ve been outsold by the Lincoln brand for a number of recent months. Of course it would vary by dealership, but overall, I think this is the case. Maybe in some months, but the overall trend is clearly that Mercury sells more units than Lincoln. Total sales during the first three months of 2008: Lincoln: 28,471 (down 18.9%) Mercury: 34,435 (down 21.5%) For March alone, things are even worse for Lincoln: Lincoln: 10,913 (down 26.1%) Mercury: 14,333 (down 17.7%)