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A paucity of hot product, and an unintentional buyer boycott has claimed the last Mercury-only dealership. Dealerships trading singularly in Mercury products were always few and far between; the brand was usually paired with Lincoln, but Community Motor Company in Canonsburg, PA has sold only new Mercurys for 57 years. The small family run dealership will continue to sell used vehicles, which have seen the franchise through even as yearly sales of new Mercurys have dropped to one third of their 1989 high point of 300 cars. The only salesperson, Joe Mastrangioli Jr., didn't feel any pressure from the Blue Oval to hang it up, but Ford does need to trim its retail network. Elevated age, health concerns, as well as a tough sales climate have made it feel like the right time for Community Motor to bow out.
Mercury appears to be gasping for breath like a porgy washed ashore. They are nice enough cars; the Milan is handsome and nicely trimmed, the Sable got a more distinctive face this year, and the Mountaineer is what every Explorer should be. Initial quality is better than most, according to JD Power, and the brand knocked it out of the park on Power's 2007 Dependability ratings, too. Despite that, nobody seems to be paying any attention to Mercury (sales are down 6.7% through November). It could be that the brand has nothing unique to offer other than tarted up Fords. The fleet-only status of the Crown Victoria makes the Mercury store the only place to get the Panther platform without the Town Car drag, but the Grand Marquis long ago had its day in the sun. Every time we lament the fortunes of Mercury like this, we get an email from Ford letting us know it has product in the pipeline for its Roman god of Commerce and Speed (how ironic is that?). We'll have just have to wait and see.

[Source: Auto News - sub req., Photo: Larry Rippell]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      I've onlyseen old foggies driving them and they are always the slow pokes in the left lane. BTW I'm 67 and drive a RAM 2500 diesel.
        • 7 Years Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      Sorry but the last desirable Merc was the 49/50 tudor and coupe. 55/56s were pretty cool also,but they became nothing but tarted up Fords. Let them die a dignified death along with Oldsmobile (Plymouth, other than the 60s muscle cars....who cares?)
      • 7 Years Ago
      Ford has alieniated traditional americans who were brand loyal to Ford by undermining their values.Boycotts like the AFA have shed light on Ford's practices and I ,for one,a traditional F-150 customer,am now agressively cross shopping their products.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I want Cougar back... I've driven a Mercury Cougar since 1982 and have now owned four. My current '99 is getting tired and I sure hate to replace it when the Camaro comes back.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I spent a decent chunk of my early years riding shotgun in my parents' sporty "personal luxury coupes". We had our silver '84 Cougar for the longest.
        I even fell hard for the sleek black Marauder Mercury put out a few years back (and was teased by pics of a coupe version), too bad I wasn't in the position to buy one. We were teased yet again by Lincoln's Mark IX and Mark X. I agree with the earlier poster, rather than keeping around the dinosaurs, why isn't Mercury widening its appeal with say an updated Capri/Miata rival, or even a tuxedo'd Scion for goodness sake? My girlfriend and I loved our black, tan leather interiored Taurus rental, so I just knew that I'd love it's even more gussied up sister, the Sable (or even the Milan)... but I'm a coupe/convertible guy. :-/
      • 7 Years Ago
      It's about time. I'm glad to see the American car manufacturers dropping like flies. People are getting tired of seeing these oversized, gas guzzling dinosaurs on the road. Perhaps they cold learn a thing or two from European or Asian manufactures and start making their cars more efficient and safe.

      I never understood the logic of creating two nearly identical vehicles and putting different names on them. But I suppose that shows the state of mind of the average, ignorant American consumer.

      "Give it to 'em anyway... Those idiots will buy anything!"
      • 7 Years Ago
      Back in the 50's, the phrase, "made in Japan" translated to "cheap junk product", and such products had a small metal oval tag attached with JAPAN centered in the oval. The resemblance of the FORD blue oval to the made in Japan metal tag always conjures up the same feeling whenever I see it - "cheap junk product"! As the Mercury line has always been a step up the quality ladder for Ford Motor products, Ford would do well to retire the Ford logo and lineup and put its entire and hopefully improved lineup under the established quality Mercury nameplate!
      • 7 Years Ago
      If Ford does not get rid of some of their shady salesmen at the dealerships then they ought to go under. I have bought new Fords for the last 36 years, and F-150 pick-up trucks, and I bought my last one because of the lying
      deceitful dealings of their company. I just wish I had time to prosecute them.
      • 7 Years Ago
      That seems kinda sad, kind of like the end of an era. Ah well... I hope that family still does okay. Ford, well, they'll do what they like (U.S. vs. EU Focus anyone?).
      • 7 Years Ago
      very good points.

      It would be cheaper to re-invent and re-invigorate Mercury to new success than to can it.

      And that is revenue that Ford would likely not recoup from other brands it owns. Losing those other brands lost those companies money initially, as well, IIRC.

      I think what was meant by Mercury subsidizing lincoln, is at the dealership and distributor level. Mercury added enough volume to the Lincoln supply chain, and dealers, that they could remain profitable, and not close up local shop doors, which would put Lincoln in a pinch.

      If mercury were to somehow vanish from existence, and all else being the same, it would probably shove Lincolns directly onto local Ford lots, where they would receive much less attention by being less volume saleable from Ford dealers, and probably less sales support getting to the customers.

      Lincoln buyers will buy Lexuses or something else, and certainly not Tauruses, if they get treated like ford focus buyers at a Ford dealership. Service means something at that level, and it is expected for the price.

      Mercury was, and still somewhat is, the volume leader for the Lincoln-Mercury dealerships and service centers, which aren't always Ford blue oval dealers and shops. I doubt those shops would stay open if Mercury vanished.

      Contrarily, they would probably flourish with some new sporty Mercury cars to sell along side the Lincolns, especially if the product attracts people otherwise shopping at the BMW, Audi/VAG, Infiniti, and Acura dealerships. Maybe it might create enough buzz for Lexus or CTS-Caddy shoppers to stop by for a look, as well.

      FoMoCo just needs to pull it's collective head out, and start putting out some *compelling* product, especially for Lincoln and Mercury, where the margins are probably a bit higher than Ford, but the sales volume is currently suffering.

      The current Mercurys would make great Fords, if Mercury had an available step up to take. RWD and non-compact is where they can really shine, and the new Kinetic-design euro-Focus marketed as a premium Mercury 3-door or even 5-door, and the S-max as a people-mover, is a good stop-gap until that gets established.
      • 7 Years Ago

      Mercury should not "subsidize" Lincoln. If it does, that only goes to show the poor position L and M are in in both marketing AND product strategy.

      If this were true, then there wouldn't be the multitude of *sucessful* Cadillac only dealers that there are now since GM revamped Cadillac's product strategy.

      Yes, Mercury is long overdue for retirement, but something that is easily overlooked by the Mercury haters is that Ford is in a tough position. If it follows the lead of GM and Chrysler and shudders Mercury, it will be saddled with literally MILLIONS in lawsuits and settlements against LM dealers who would feel they were losing their bread-and-butter product line.

      This is precisely what happened with Oldsmobile, and to a lesser extent Eagle and Plymouth. In fact, I remember a GM exec on at least one occasion remarking that the Oldsmobile shut-down was something that was often regretted among the upper GM ranks.

      There is alot more in the background that you have to consider when you talk about axing a brand. It's just not that easy.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Mercury subsidizes Lincoln dealers, giving them lower priced offerings and, more importantly, extra cars to fill up their service departments - which dealers make a lot of money on. As feeble as Mercury seems, it actually outsells Lincoln at this time. No, this is not a very ambitious goal for Ford and they could do much better by Mercury if they tried, but it's also not a complete waste of time, and I'm sure the Lincoln dealers appreciate it - I certainly don't hear them calling for the end of Mercury.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Mercury is still company?
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