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Ford makes it official: Storied Mercury brand to be axed

Ford said this afternoon that it would kill its low-sales Mercury brand by the end of the year, ending the badge's 71-year run.

The car was a creation of Henry Ford's son, Edsel, who developed it in 1939 to fill the gap between the Ford brand and the luxurious Lincoln.

Ford said it has seen a number of Mercury customers move into Fords in recent years. Now, it can concentrate its energy on the Ford brand, with its widespread cost appeal, and its luxury Lincoln line, which has a small market share.

The demise of Mercury has been anticipated for years because the company had seemed to deprive it of resources and new models. Even before today's news, Mercury would have been down to only two models by the end of this year.

Mercury has less than 1 percent of the total U.S. auto market share.

Ford hopes to really upscale Lincoln and go head to head with Cadillac, Lexus and European luxe brands.

Ford has benefited the most from the Great Recession, taking market share from GM and Chrysler. Ford was the only one of the Big Three automakers to not take a federal bailout.

Here's my colleague Peter Whoriskey's piece from a few days ago on Mercury's demise.

By Frank Ahrens  |  June 2, 2010; 4:16 PM ET
Categories:  Autos  
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That is what happens when you start marketing a brand of automobiles only to single women and homosexuals.

Posted by: screwjob16 | June 2, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

R.I.P. Mercs...I grew up coveting a '49 Merc (flathead V-8) chopped and channelled hot rod with lakes pipes, fender skirts, frenched headlights, flames, and requisite suicide knob on the steering wheel.

Posted by: MoonDoggie | June 2, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Mercury has been all but dead for years now. With Ford's dramatic resurgance, there's no reason to keep around a brand that offers nothing but a chintzier version of Ford's main product.

Rehabing Lincolin should be Ford's main focus. The current lineup is utterly uncompetitive in it's market segment. Lincolin really needs a CTS like hit that makes people realize that the brand is not just a Fusion with better interior.

Posted by: jbanks979 | June 2, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

With Mercury gone, could it make sense to bring back the Oldsmobile?

Posted by: Bitter_Bill | June 2, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Isn't anyone going to blame unionized auto workers?

Posted by: knjincvc | June 2, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

I'll be adding Mercury to the car dealership I hope to open next year. It will join Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Plymouth, De Soto, Studebaker, Hummer and Saturn. Should be a huge success! :-)

Posted by: MrBethesda | June 2, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Great move by Ford. Devote resources to the main brand and the luxury line. There are still Americans who will purchase America luxury over the Europeans. With Mercury's fiscal resources Lincoln can reclaim a seat at the head table of luxury automobiles.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | June 2, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

@Screwjob16: You have no idea what you are talking about. Get your head out of the sand and live in the 21st century with the rest of us human beings. I would certainly like to know what cars are marketed towards homosexuals. The only company that ever caters to the gay crowd has been Volkswagen. And they make a pretty decent car IMHO.

Posted by: yeayea911 | June 2, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Smart move on Ford's part. Now if they only design and deliver some exciting Lincolns to compete with the CTS they'll really be eating GM's lunch.

Posted by: snake_taylor | June 2, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

bye bye Jill, see you on WipeOut

Posted by: chillsonic | June 2, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Moondoggie, I believe you missed the hidden gas tank pipe.... Amen on the rest of it; they were the best lead sleds.

Posted by: tws1372 | June 2, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

screwjob16 says: "That is what happens when you start marketing a brand of automobiles only to single women and homosexuals."

screwjob16 doesn't know beans about the car business. Mercury was never marketed to single women and gays. It was marketed to 85-year-old grandpas. That successful companies Subaru and BMW are marketed to single women and gays, the ones with lots of spending money.

Posted by: gasmonkey | June 2, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

I have had several Mercury's over the years. The reason I have not bought any more is that I began to feel obligated to work on them myself, because the service departments invariably cobbled them up so badly. Their attitude generally seemed to be "that'll teach you to bring it in for warranty work."

Posted by: roketscientist | June 2, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

@screwjob16. Your comment is offensive. No self respecting homosexual would drive a Mercury. Homosexuals on average make twice as much as a simularly situated heterosexual and has 3 times the disposable income. Homosexuals as a target market provide a lucrative return for those business which see fit to taylor their products, advertising, and policies to the GLBT consumer.

Posted by: 907guy | June 2, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

That's too bad (not really). My next car is a Leaf.

The '68 Cougars were pretty cool though.

Posted by: johng1 | June 2, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

I have a Mercury Milan right now that I love but I bought it in 2007 and I am thinking about trading it in at the end of this year. Does anyone have any suggestions for what kind of car would be a good replacement? I hate going shopping for new cars and I never know what to buy. I like the handling of the Milan it takes a corner at a high rate of speed with very little body sway and it has good get up go so I want something new that has a nice size engine and great handling at high speeds. Any suggestions?

Posted by: mel2877 | June 2, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

It makes sense... but it's sad nonetheless. So many of the car brands from my childhood gone. (Mercury, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Plymouth)... makes me feel old!

Posted by: stswork | June 2, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

@mel2877: If you like the Milan, then you should get a new Fusion. It's the same car, and the 2010 models are awesome. I only got a Mercury Mariner (funny enough) over the Fusion because I have a family and wanted the extra cargo space for trips and whatnot. Otherwise, I would have bought the Fusion.

Posted by: DJOmega6 | June 2, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

R.I.P. Grand Marquis. Now if Detroit could go back to the past, and build standart stick shift, easy on gas, maybe the new consumers will buy them again

Posted by: WindLessBreeze | June 2, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Greetings folks,

I worked on and de-bugged Mercurys and Lincolns for 19 years after working on everything else.

Mercury was always a better brand than Ford because the car was better in every respect and NEVER had the problems the Lincoln brand had.
Mercury has better springs, shocks, actuallly HAD stabilizer bars that were bigger than Fords if equipped.
The cars handled better and darn near everything was standard.

Plus a Lncoln-Mercury mechanic/Technician was better trained (And cleaner) than the typical Ford mechanic. The Mercury Techs just finished uploading a computer program on a Lincoln but a Ford mechanic just replaced a transmission in a Ford garbage truck.

I'm sad to see Mercury go. Ford prices will go up and when the salesman shocks you with the sticker you won't be able to say, "I could buy a Mercury for THAT and have a College graduate work on it rather than a Goober for the same labor rate."

Posted by: Etek | June 2, 2010 6:58 PM | Report abuse

screwjob16, then you must have loved the Mercury brand

Posted by: bendan2000 | June 2, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse

The Mercury Mariner is just taking off. They should wait a year and trim a few models but keep the line going on the good ones.

Posted by: ernestoman | June 2, 2010 7:13 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: luccitrade | June 2, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

In the early 80s my roommate had a gold 76 Comet V8. Vrroom, vrroom. That thing could fly. Unfortunatley, we were poor and couldn't afford the upkeep. The horn honked when you turned left and it stalled if you took your foot off the gas at a light. We had tickets in excess of the value of the car and eventually it got donated to the DC government. But it was fun while it lasted.

Posted by: didnik | June 2, 2010 8:06 PM | Report abuse

There was no reason for Mercury to exist. They are just rebadged Fords. The Milan is a Ford Fusion. The Mariner is a Ford Escape. The only difference was trim. The people who are saying that Mercury's are higher quality than Ford are the same people who are convinced that GMC pickups are better than the Chevy version. If Mercury's were so much better than why were they only 5 percent of Ford sales. I think the buyers knew that you were just paying more for the same car. The only thing that Mercury had going for it was the pretty woman in the ads.

Posted by: buffysummers | June 2, 2010 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Ah, my first car was a Mercury Zephyr station wagon, essentially the same as a Ford Fairmont. V8!
What will all of the Dulles Flyer cars be replaced with?

Posted by: gfriday | June 2, 2010 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Another smart move by Ford. GM are you listening?

Posted by: moebius22 | June 2, 2010 8:20 PM | Report abuse

The fag contingency chimes in as usual

Posted by: screwjob16 | June 2, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse

It's sad to see the old girl go but it was destined to happen. My first two cars were Mercuries: an '85 Topaz and an '89 Cougar. I was really hoping FoMoCo would have eventually brought back the Cougar as an upscale near-luxury coupe for those who want a sporty car without the midlife crisis image of a Mustang.

Posted by: matt_s | June 2, 2010 9:23 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: zuoyeleng | June 2, 2010 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Mercury has always been the red-headed stepchild of FoMoCo. Lincoln was the brother that was always being compared to: "Why can't you be more like Lincoln?" Ford, even in the beautiful '50s was "okay". I used to have a 1980 LTD. Loved it to death. The thing that made it look even better was the Grand Marquis. A friend had a Marquis from the same period. I wouldn't even force the kid that used to bully me in elementrary school to drive that!

Ford: Good job. Secondly: Great job staying moving in such a time (bailouts) and I just have one suggestion. Make the Taurus the working man's luxury car like it used to be. Thirdly: Now's the time you should go out and buy a Marquis--they'll be cheap.

Posted by: ozzymarz | June 8, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

to knjincvc: What? What the heck are you talking about? The UAW has nothing to do with Ford making a decision. Are you so blind and so misled that you believe the UAW makes decisions in what company houses what brands?

Support your local union worker: He's your neighbor. Trust me; you know one.

Posted by: ozzymarz | June 8, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

To Bitter_Bill: I think the unfortunate has occurred. Olds (A GM BRAND) shut down. Mercury (A FORD BRAND) shut down. I wonder if they could all team up and bring the Yugo back!

Posted by: ozzymarz | June 8, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

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