• Feb 11th 2008 at 7:37PM
  • 43
Not long ago here on Autoblog we wondered, what exactly is the point of the Mercury brand? As it turns out, dealers have nearly the same question, and they aren't getting any clear, compelling answers. At the Chicago Auto Show, Ford's Group Vice President Jim Farley said "Its role is changing, but we're not going to compromise Mercury." Around the Detroit Auto Show, CEO Alan Mulally said Ford remains committed to Mercury. Of course, Mulally also said Jaguar was part of The Way Forward -- no one knew that he meant it was the way forward for Tata.
There is only one problem with Ford's statements of support: there's no new product in the Mercury pipeline (the upcoming hybrid Milan doesn't count as a new piece of original product), and no one at Ford is giving any indication of when there will be. A huge amount of elbow grease is being expended to polish the Ford brand, and after that, Lincoln is taking up all the space on a second stage. It's clear that Ford would rather sell Lincolns than Mercurys. Last year, Mercury sales dropped almost 7 percent, while Lincoln sales rose more than 9 percent. Still, Lincoln sold 37,000 fewer cars than Mercury.

But all of this, understandably, has dealers wondering what's really going to happen with Mercury. People who buy Mercurys want Mercurys, with its "independent-minded" image and greater percentage of female buyers "very loyal to the brand." Ford can't afford to shed Mercury sales while it works to shepherd Lincoln to the top of the heap. Yet until Ford reveals what it's going to do with the house of the Grand Marquis -- indeed, that it's going to do anything at all -- then one can only assume that brand interest will suffer... and with it, sales.

[Source: Bloomberg]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      I just view Mercury products as Fords with an extra nice $2K trim upgrade.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Lincoln does not sell enough to stand alone. There are drawbacks to a Ford/ Linncoln dual dealership. Mercury is a necessity as a step up from Ford. These are logical imperatives. Never-the-less the intrepid Ford leadership also just announced that their distressed Taurus and Sable were the car of Homer Simpson (sic) and that the good engine is not going to be available on their new Lincoln S for a year.( I kid you not on that last one the girl at the Chicago Auto show has that in her speech). Are they trying to kill their own, ( eat their own children so-to -speak), the vaunted plants that make the Taurus and Sable and Lincoln S in Chicago. In the meantime there are rumors that all of the Canadian Frod plants will close at the termination of the CAW contracts in 2 years.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I think Mercury is a left over from a bygone era where all you had was American cars. In today's market, it's redundant. I think Ford may be better off starting a new brand geared towards youth - like Scion. Mercury has too much association with old people, kind of like Buick.
      • 7 Years Ago
      if Ford NA is going to get Ford UK why dosen't Mercury become Ford AU?

      such as Falcon and LTD?

      Mercury could be a Rear Wheel Drive company like Infinity?
      • 7 Years Ago
      Mercury is being crowded out by Ford's downgrading of Lincoln to a rebadged FWD Ford division.

      If they sell Jaguar, then they could take Lincoln back upscale with RWD luxury sedans, and Mercury could be a place to sell Euro and Aussie Fords, and maybe some rebadged stuff.
      • 7 Years Ago
      To the Gentleman that commented on Saturn's poor performance - where did you get your data from? New Saturn products have done an outstanding job of bringing in showroom traffic and resulting in sales which otherwise could have went to Mazda, Honda, etc etc. Vue, Sky, Aura are all solid products. You cannot possibly say anything about Belgium built Astra because it has JUST went on sale. However I do hope and wish that GM will properly advertise Astra, rather than mark it as a failure cause it's a hatchback in its attempt to prove hatchback lobbyists wrong! haha

      On the topic of Mercury, Ford needs to keep it around to keep Lincoln & Mercury dealers happy for little while longer. I don't think they have the cash to make them go away, at least not for the time being. Read between the lines, all they're saying is that for the foreseeable future Mercury dealers will get new product, but they need to prepare themselves for termination of that brand.

      I also don't believe in re-badging, and I would never sign off on branding Euro Ford products as Mercury here. It would dilute Ford image both in US and rest of the world, not to mention create overlap. Ford has a strong name, it just needs to utilize it through one universal design language with minor market tweaks such as F-150, Mustang, etc etc for US market, or Falcon Ute for Aussies!

      Mercury has to go, there it has outlived its purpose, and instead of chasing volume Ford must chase profit-per-unit with a variety of vehicles built on flexible platforms, components, etc etc.
      • 7 Years Ago
      This story DOES and DOES NOT illustrate what is wrong with the Ford Motor Co. and Mercury in particular....no (apparent) long term product/marketing plans. It looks like Mercury will play second fiddle to Ford and Lincoln, as long as the stylists can continue to come up with grilles and option packages that turn workaday Ford products into cars and SUVs that women find to be appealing. Yes, I realize that every time Mercury has tried to step out from under Ford and try to market a distintive car...it has generally been a disaster. But isn't possible that some of the cars were just poorly marketed? I'm thinking Merkur and the FWD Capri. In the '50s and '60s Mercury built great cars that sold in respectible numbers, and Mercurys WEREN'T clones of Fords (think of the hardtop wagons in the '50s that Mercury sold and no equivalent Ford was sold, or the 1st gen Cougar, the early Montegos that set NASCAR on fire).
      • 7 Years Ago
      I don't think they'll be using the name 'Cougar' again.Negative connotation for women buyers.
      • 7 Years Ago
      She is soooo hot! I like the Milan to being with, she just makes me wanna look under the hood!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Lincoln is so far behind Cadillac, I am not sure they will ever catch up. GM has come out with innovation after innovation, new design after new design and Mercury stays stale. Nothing. If it is not making money, dump it already. Put more effort into the design of Ford products and marketing. Ford needs a lot help!
      • 7 Years Ago
      I agree, Mercury could be a Buick fighter if they ever did things right. Also Ford needs Mercury to fill in that gap between the new Lincoln
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