Mercury Dropping?

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
mercury dropping

Edmunds Inside Line hears from mysterious "supplier sources" that the Blue Oval won't build new Mercurys after 2012. Why on earth would Ford kill a beloved brand with such a rich heritage? Maybe because Mercury sales are set to drop below Lincoln's for the first time since 1938. The Fusion-based Milan should be the last of its current models manning the ramparts, once the Montego and Grand Marquis hit the dust sometime in 2011 or early 2012. Looking down the road, the Mercury cup hardly runneth over, without even a version of Lincoln's Flexible MKT crossover or the 2010 Ford Taurus. Edmunds rests its case with this quote from Ford Presidente del Americas, Mark Fields: "We've laid out a strategy to focus a lot of our efforts going forward on the Lincoln side of the franchise. That's where a majority of our focus is going to be, and Lincoln will become the dominant portion of the Lincoln-Mercury franchise, which is a flip from the history." But if that sounds too grim, note that Fields told Automotive News [sub] that "[Mercury] is an important part of the stable of brands." In fact, FoMoCo would continue to invest in the nameplate. Is this a sign of internal divisions over Mercury's fate? All things being equal, it's probably just a ruse to generate faith in the brand, while it's being taken out back to be shot.

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  • Geeber Geeber on Jun 11, 2008

    Here in Harrisburg there were two standalone Lincoln-Mercury dealers, both owned by the same dealer group. Three weeks ago, it was announced that both locations would be closed, and the franchise given to a local Ford dealer. So there is now one Lincoln-Mercury dealer, and it is part of a Ford dealer. Mercury shares a problem with the other old-line American medium-price brands - Buick, Chrysler, Pontiac, Oldsmobile and Mercury - namely, that its reason to exist no longer exists. Decades of badge-engineering and model-swapping have eliminated the distinctions between the low-price brands (Ford, Chevrolet and Plymouth) and their upmarket siblings. Thus, most people no longer view Mercury as a step up from Ford, or a Pontiac as a step up from Chevrolet. Foreign nameplates, meanwhile, are offering buyers a real choice. If you want to "move up" from a Ford or a Chevrolet, you buy a low-level Lexus, Acura or Infiniti. People can argue that Ford and GM can't afford to drop a brand for various reasons, but judging by the continually declining sales figures for these brands, the customers are making that decision for them. Sooner or later, sales of these brands will drop to the point that they are no longer viable, regardless of how many dealers or fans clamor for their existence.

  • Geotpf Geotpf on Jun 11, 2008
    TEXN3 : June 11th, 2008 at 1:29 pm I understand your point, but disagree very much. You have to think outside the box of keeping Lincoln and Mercury together. Lincoln only or Lincoln-Ford dealers can exist. A Lincoln only dealer can be smaller, that’s fine…works with other low and mid-volume brands. But the Lincoln-Mercury dealer has a large dealer's expenses. His lot is bigger than a smaller dealer's, so his lease or mortage, plus things like taxes and utilties, are going to be much larger than a smaller dealer's. That is, his expenses are based around selling X number of cars each year. If he's suddenly selling .5 X number of cars, he'll go out of business. If enough Mercury-Lincoln dealers go out of business, Lincoln goes out of business. Same theory with the whole "GM (or Ford or Chrysler) must shrink to survive" meme. There has never been a case where a large, failing business has become a small, profitable company. It simply doesn't happen.

  • IDANECK IDANECK on Jun 12, 2008

    He can move his business too...there are plenty of small dealer lots that are sitting empty...especially in places like Houston. There are seldom dealer owners that have just one large lot and not others, or just have one franchise. Or Ford dealers buyout the Lincoln franchise and move them into their stores.

  • Beelzebubba Beelzebubba on Jun 13, 2008

    Mercury is an utterly useless (and needlessly redundant) product line. The only vaguely interesting model is the Milan which is more tasteful (to my eyes) than the lower-level models of the Fusion. The Fusion with the Sport Appearance Package solves that problem, however. I have several friends who work for a huge corporation that issues Ford/Mercury vehicles as their company cars. They actually get to choose which vehicle they want and all of them AVOID Mercury. To folks my age (33) and under, it's almost embarrassing to drive one. The same applies to Buick (emphasis on the "ick"). My best friend has had a few Mercurys in the past which we quickly renamed to reflect our disdain for them. Mercury Mystique- appropriately renamed "Mercury Mistake" Mercury Sable- "Mercury diSABLE" (the previous-gen Taurus was a better choice- and that's sad)