• Sep 3, 2007
The writing's on the wall for Ford's pseudo luxury brand Mercury, which is now tipped to face extinction within the next couple of years. Flagging sales and no major new products in the pipeline mean Ford execs are likely to close the book on Mercury for good, and it could happen as early as 2012. Both industry experts and Mercury's own dealers are predicting the brand won't be around much longer. In fact, a recent survey of 125 dealers found that nearly four out of every five dealers were concerned that Ford is planning to dump Mercury.

Sales for Mercury last year totaled 180,848 units in the U.S., less than eight vehicles a month per franchise and the lowest total for the label since 1960. Remember, Chrysler killed the Plymouth brand because its sales dropped to 246,000 units per year and GM said goodbye to Oldsmobile when its annual tally dropped to 289,000 vehicles. So where does that leave Mercury? According to one expert, it leaves Mercury on life support. Of course, we've heard similar reports before, and yet Ford brass continue to pledge support for Mercury with their words. Too bad they refuse to do so with decent products.

[Source: Automotive News - Subs. Req'd]


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  • 61 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      Just thought I'd throw my 2 cents in. I definitely prefer the styling of even the current Mercury cars to Fords. Being able to go to the Lincoln-Mercury dealer, which is more upscale than Ford, would also be a perk of buying a Mercury. My main beef with Mercury is, what in the hell is the logo supposed to be? I've been trying to figure it out for the last 20 years, and I'm still not really sure! Why don't they bring back the Mercury god logo, which they did on the Marauder, and give the brand a stronger personality? I would never have considered a Plymouth or Olds, so I don't care that those brands are no longer around. The products, especially Plymouth, had nothing distinctive about them in the end. But there is something about Mercury to me that could be really cool, if Ford would invest more into the product offering. Lincoln product needs help, too. I believe that killing off Mercury would be a mistake, because Fords just do not interest me enough to purchase and Lincolns are too expensive for what they are right now and I'd rather purchase a European car for the same money. Okay...now for my silly "Bold Moves" part...Mulally has Mercury bring out a new "Topaz" model based on the Mazda3 to remind buyers of the original beloved Topaz...not! Please do not do that, or you will definitely kill the Mercury brand! I like Mazdas...nobody loved the Topaz! Let that name rest in peace, please!
      • 7 Years Ago
      The American auto companies like Ford have been on aggressive affirmative action hiring programs for the better part of the last 20 years (read hiring discrimination policies mostly against men). They are more interested in being politically correct organizations than top-notch engineering firms. If one starts hiring and promoting based on race, ethnicity or gender, then one will be hiring and promoting not based on merit. The entire company will eventually lose as less-qualified people are promoted into positions where they fail or are uncompetitive to companies that don’t engage in this activity (or level of it).

      It is particularity tragic to see companies like GM and Ford try and integrate women into the auto design process on an equal footing with men. This has been a disaster. Ford had a whole team of women on the re-design of their minivans (Freestar) and they were boasting in the late 1990’s about how many women they were hiring in their engineering/design programs.

      http://www.ftlcomm.com/ensign/carfolder/ford1940/freestar/freestar.html

      “ …Sherlyn Green, of Cropper Motors in Naicam explained that Ford realised that most Windstars were being driven by women and a growing number of senior citizens and their design team was almost entirely made up of women engineers…….”

      Fast forward to today and Ford has managed to take minivan sales from 250k down to 65k. And to get 65k out the door they have to pile on the incentives -- hardly a way to make money. Ford is now exiting the minivan market -- can’t compete. The Freestar was finishing last in reviews the day it arrived in the show room floors. Funny how the minivan market has become very lucrative for Toyota and Honda selling ~ 150k minivans with very high ASP’s (average-selling-price).

      Women don’t compete on equal terms with men in many areas such as chess, math, and engineering/design -- despite the liberal feminism in our colleges that wants to pretend men and women are equal in all areas of endeavor. Men are generally much better in these areas, particularly when it comes to inventing and applying new technology and processes. The best scientists and engineers are men and they’re the ones that will innovate and drive these companies forward. Look at the history of invention -- women are a footnote.

      Look at the auto after-market -- how many women do you see modifying their cars? How many women do you see tinkering with different exhausts, chipping out their engines, and so on and so forth? Virtually none. And yet we are to believe that women who show little real interest (and aptitude) in these cars and their engineering will make good auto engineer’s? These women are 9-5’ers looking for a job. The best engineers have a real interest in their job that goes beyond a 9-5 paycheck.

      Companies like Ford (Chrysler and GM) will fail to innovate and end up following the competition years behind. And when it comes to designing new products, it takes longer for these (poorer engineers) to get these second rate products out the door.
      • 7 Years Ago
      i think a better case could have been made to save Olds versus saving Mercury. Ford should save the coin on Mercury brand cars and use it to improve the core Ford lineup.
      • 7 Years Ago
      "Flagging sales and no major new products in the pipeline mean Ford execs are likely to close the book on Mercury for good"

      Just exactly who do these Ford execs think are running Mercury? Who do they think are making Mercurys saleable, or bringing new products to the brand?

      Do they think that someone else is somehow magically responsible, besides themselves?

      That is the kind of BS that makes no sense. It makes perfect sense why Mercury is failing, when it is being starved to death. But why are these ford execs starving it to death, and then wondering why it is hungry?
        • 7 Years Ago
        Or maybe Mullaly is seeing how stupid former execs are. Mercury should have been killed off years ago. And it is finally taking a new exec (who has brains) to clean up the mess.

        Mullaly can: Import Euro Ford models. This can be expensive. But if they can sell them for a higher price, things can work out. Or Mullaly can kill the brand. This, too, can be extremely expensive. Plus, what will the Lincoln dealers do afterwards? Killing off Mercury would kill off, what, half their sales.

        Ford is in a tough situation. Mercury is redundant. Lincoln can't go up market or they interfere with Jag. Lincoln, in my opinion, sort of interferes with Volvo at the moment (think Acura and entry level luxo).

        Now, Ford COULD sell off Jag and Volvo. Lincoln can be pushed up market and be made into a true luxury company. And Mercury can be put into Lincoln's place as a entry level luxury company (think Acura again). That way for has one true luxury company and one entry level luxury company. Instead of two each.

        At this point, Ford would be best off to kill Mercury and focus on Lincoln and possibly selling off Jag and LR. If they do that, Lincoln can be pushed up market and Volvo can become the "new Mercury" (Euro entry luxo).

        This is just my opinion really...
      • 7 Years Ago
      New Cougar plz, kthxbye.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Personally I had my fingrs crossed when a few month back there was talk of Ford doing the deep six and closing up shop but no such luck! The biggest mistake Ford has made in the last 10 years was naming that thing the "FOCUS"! It reminded me of the two African American Girls who were getting their picture taken by a photographer; One of the girls asked why that man put the black cloth over his head? the other one answered,"he's going to FOCUS", the first one asked "BOF US" I read about the name 2 years before they brought the car out and wrote the Ford people about the "joke" but it didn't stop them! My son just bought a 2007 Focus because the Ford Dealer in his area was the only one who would deal! He wanted a Chrysler STRATUS but they wouldn't deal! Right after he bought the Focus he removed the name off the trunk and replaced it with "MY CAR" now, his wife can drive the car without worrying about the cat calls they got when they drove it for three days before closing the deal!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Question: If Ford is serious about selling off Jaguar and Land Rover (which I seriously hope does not happen), and then proceeds to sell of Volvo (which would be even worse), and later kill Mercury, that only leaves Ford with Lincoln (and a 33.3% share of Mazda). I guess Ford could make it work the way the Japanese automakers do, but I just can't see Ford being reduced to 2.33333 brands in the next 4 years. I guess with the extra cash, Ford could buy the remaining 67% of Mazda, but why? For some reason, unlike GM, Ford can't figure out how to keep all it's brands and still have a successful turnaround.
        • 7 Years Ago
        As good of an idea as it sounds, Japanese companies can't be owned more than 33% foreign owned. At least thats what i've heard
      • 7 Years Ago
      It certainly doesn't look good for the brand.
      They key is having product in the pipeline, and we don't have that - at least not publicly.
      If we don't have product, then the long-term plan is to drop the brand.

      I don't think we should drop the brand, as it is a good niche above Ford and below Lincoln.
      I know that the brand does not take many resources away from Ford because the designers are working from the same base. That is a two-edged sword, yes, as it also doesn't distinguish much from the Ford it is based upon.

      As for many of the other comments:
      - We are selling Jaguar and Land Rover. Those deals are nearly done.
      - It is likely we will sell Volvo. While it is profitable, we aren't using much of their technology and it is a distraction from the core market. Most of the Volvo technology is going into the Jaguar & Land Rovers.
      - We are not going to move away from Mazda and we can't get any more of it. We are using a ton of the Mazda technology in our smaller cars.

      One of Mulally's directives is to bring Ford back to the "affordable" category. Nassar had said he wanted to "upscale" Ford. That didn't sit well and it hasn't worked well.

      You probably won't see much of the European / Asian "design" in the US cars, but they will have the same underpinnings. What Mulally is addressing right now is the internal things - everything from floorpans to steering columns to seat frames. We are going from some 38 seat frames to 2 (globally). He (through Fields) recently approved a wiring harness and design for steering columns for both US and Europe. Until 2 years ago (Fields started the project before Mulally was hired) we had different wiring systems in our steering columns for each continent. In some cases, we've had different ones between different vehicles in the same class.

      It is amazing we've stayed afloat as long as we have.
      Thomas C.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Ford Motor Company August 2007 U.S. Sale Numbers.

      FORD 180,282

      MERCURY 12,296

      LINCOLN 10,423

      VOLVO 9,119

      LAND ROVER 4,853

      JAGUAR 1,359

      Looks like MERCURY should be the least of Ford's worry's

      http://media.ford.com/article_display.cfm?article_id=26662
      • 7 Years Ago
      When was the last time the Mercury division had a purpose? They've been selling Fords with slightly different grilles and taillights since the '60s. Through its decades of stewardship, I don't think FoMoCo ever really figured out what it wanted to do with the brand. There's not really an identity to "get back in touch with."

      The Marauder and Cougar are the only nameplates I'll miss, and Mercury managed to tarnish those in half-assed revivals anyway. They really haven't had a compelling product since the late '60s.

      This isn't to say that Mercury's current lineup isn't competitive in places--the Milan and new Sable are both solid, competitive products. But the Ford versions of these vehicles have cleaner styling and a stronger image, so there's no reason to waste money on the additional tooling and marketing support these redundant Mercury duplicates require, especially not when Ford's in a cash crunch.
      Chris
      • 7 Years Ago
      I am all for MERCURY!!!!!!
      Chris
      • 7 Years Ago
      I also this this would make a great new Mercury Sable

      Perfect Mercury Sable
      http://www.ford.com.au/servlet/ContentServer?cid=1137385394472&pagename=Page&c=DFYPage
        • 7 Years Ago
        @Chris
        Sorry, but I think that the 2008 Mercury Sable is better than the Falcon.
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