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Mercury Mountaineer

Mercury Milan Hybrid

Jill Wagner, spokesmodel for Mercury  (Source: The Blemish)
Another American car brand bites the dust

When General Motors and Chrysler were floundering and in desperate need of a lifeline from the American government, Ford was moving forward as a still independent company. Ford Motor Company has made some good decisions over the past few years including offloading its premium brands like Volvo, Land Rover, and Aston Martin.

Ford Motor Company is continuing to trim the fat and transform itself into a lean, mean fighting machine by offloading its long underperforming Mercury division. The Mercury division has long gotten the leftover table scraps from the mainstream Ford brand. The Milan, Mariner, Mountaineer, and Grand Marquis are all thinly veiled rebadges of the Ford Fusion, Escape, Explorer, and Crown Victoria respectively.

“Mercury originally was created as a premium offering to Ford and was an important source of incremental sales,” said Ford in a press release.  “However, the continued strength of the Ford brand – particularly during the past three years – has accelerated the migration from Mercury to Ford for many customers.”

Mercury vehicle sales totaled just 92,299 for all of 2009 compared to 1,445,742 for the Ford brand. Even Lincoln, which caters to a more affluent audience than either Ford or Mercury, managed to move nearly as many vehicles as Mercury with 82,847 vehicles sold.

Ford Motor Company will wind down Mercury production in the coming months and expects to cease all production in the fourth quarter of 2010.

With the laggard Mercury brand now out of the way, Ford Motor Company will now “fully devote its financial, product development, production and marketing, sales and service” to the Ford and Lincoln brands.

For the Lincoln brand, that means the addition of seven all-new or significantly revised models over the next four years. These new vehicles will include a surprising entry from Lincoln, a C-segment vehicle (think Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla).

Lincoln will also likely benefit from hybrid powertrains that Mercury shared with Ford – Mercury currently sells the Milan Hybrid sedan and Mariner Hybrid “cute-ute”. Hybrid powertrains would make a perfect fit for the Fusion-based Lincoln MKZ and the Taurus-based MKS.

Ford Motor Company is also looking to further distance Lincoln from Ford with an exclusive V6 for the brand, more efficient transmissions, adaptive computer-controlled suspensions, and active noise control.

"We have made tremendous progress on profitably growing the Ford brand during the past few years.  Now, it is time to do the same for Lincoln," said Mark Fields, Ford's president of The Americas.  "The new Lincoln vehicles will transform luxury for North American premium customers through an unexpected blend of responsive driving enjoyment and warm, inviting comfort. We will also offer our customers a world-class retail experience through a vibrant retail network."

As for Ford, we've already talked about the new vehicles in its pipeline including the new 2011 Mustang/Mustang GT, 2011 Fiesta, and 2012 Focus, along with Ford's turbocharged EcoBoost engines.

With Mercury out of the way, Ford and Lincoln products can only get better from here on out.

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By knutjb on 6/3/2010 12:53:51 AM , Rating: 1
Ford should have never even created Mercury in the first place. WTF is the point of coming out with a new company that sells the exact same crap with some different trim? It's cheaper to sell that trim as options.
Mercury came about in 1939 to fill the gap between Ford and Lincoln. Over the years Fords moved up market impinging on the Mercury's market segment. GM had Pontiac, Chevy, Oldsmobile, Buick, LaSalle, and Cadillac in that order of rank. Then with bean counters pinching pennies the cars blurred their market segments and became redundant.

Ever heard of thinking before you speak...

By Calin on 6/3/2010 7:52:47 AM , Rating: 3
It's like the VW Phaeton - it was built as competition to the high-priced Mercedes (E-Series, S-Series) and (somewhat) BMW large sedans (7-series). Its success was mediocre, as people that bought cars in that price range didn't want a Volkswagen, they wanted a Mercedes.
Changing the perception of a company can take a long time, and Ford wasn't probably seen as "good enough" by many people, and Lincoln was "too expensive" or "for filthy rich people".

By JediJeb on 6/3/2010 2:42:19 PM , Rating: 3
Tell me, WTF was the point of creating Mercury? Could you not just have add-in options for the Ford? Could you not just create new Fords?

Couldn't Toyota just made upscale Toyotas instead of Lexus? Couldn't Honda made upscale Hondas instead of Accura?

You can't apply that thinking only to US car companies, everyone has done it.

By monomer on 6/3/2010 7:24:27 PM , Rating: 2
They did do that. Acura, Lexus, and Infiniti were created solely for the North American market. In Japan, they were all sold under their original brands (Honda NSX, Nissan Skyline, Toyota Aristo).

By afkrotch on 6/4/2010 1:20:56 AM , Rating: 2
No. Importers are limited on how many cars they can bring over to the US. Thus, they created new companies to bring over more cars. Like Toyota and Lexus or Honda and Acura. I don't think Nissan and Infiniti is that way though.

Like the Lexus IS300 was originally the Toyota Altezza. The Scion xB was the Toyota bB. Lexus SC 400 was originally a Toyota Soarer.

"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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