Jerry York: Ford Should Sell Mercury
Automotive News [sub] interviewed Jerry York, former Chrysler CFO, GM board member and, most importantly of all, Kirk Kerkorian's man about Motown. Now that Captain Kirk owns five percent of FoMoCo, 'Jer's handing-out advice on how to fix The Blue Oval Boyz. York says he's "very confident that (Mulally's turnaround plan) is the answer." But then the Lion's cub demonstrates how much he really knows about the business: he says Ford should sell Volvo and Mercury. OK, we're with you on Volvo, although I'm not sure how you'd separate all the Volvo/Ford products (Ford Taurus/Sable, Lincoln MKS, Ford Taurus X, Ford Flex, Ford Galaxy, Ford S-MAX, Euro Ford Focus just to name a few). But York's suggestion for "selling" Mercury has to be some kind of joke. Selling Mercury would be like GM selling the Chevy LTZ models and keeping the LT/WT/1LT/2LT models. One can only hope York meant Ford should sell the name. But who in the world would buy it? Perhaps Mr. York should stick to selling Ford, er, I mean, selling Fords. You know; the actual cars. To real customers.
I am not sure what's Mercury without Ford. Every Mercury sold in the past 20 years was a Ford with a little more chrome and a nicer interior. Mercury is a brand name, not a company. The only non-ford thing that Mercury has is its brand name.
I don't think that selling Volvo is as difficult as some people make it sound. Volvo designs and produces its own engines (I don't understand why this waste wasn't chopped a decade ago, that could certainly save money). The only non-Volvo engine that Volvo vehicles use is made by Yamaha. For the most part, Volvo also designs and produces its own platforms (except for those based on Mazda 3 platform).
Some years ago Ford announced that the Mercury brand would no longer be sold in Canada. Lincoln/Mercury dealers either disappeared or changed to Ford/Lincoln outlets. Ford also stopped selling Crown Victorias to anyone other than the police, replacing them in the showrooms with the Mercury Grand Marquis, a strange anomaly of a model from a manufacturer who no longer sells the brand in this country. At least it rationalized the models a bit and stopped much of the overlap between competing Ford and Mercury brands. With a market one tenth that of the US, we couldn't have sold many Mercurys even at the best of times in Canada. If this solution worked here why couldn't it in the US? Is it the franchise laws that prevent it? Why not just offer identical models for each brand then, differentiated only by a badge and one bar more or less in the grille?
Ford is trying to keep Mercury alive? News to me. What is there product plan -- Mountaineer 2? Son of Sable? retro Bobcat?