• Jul 24, 2010
In life, Mercury was an under-funded brand mainly composed of waterfall grilles stapled to bone-stock Ford models. In death, however, Mercury apparently gets to see some of the money it always dreamed of having when it was alive. According to Automotive News, Ford CFO Lewis Booth claims that shutting down Mercury before the end of this year will cost the Oval roughly $500 million overall. Booth says Ford already took a $247 million charge in the first half of 2010 to cover the neglected marque's mercy killing.

The lion's share of the money being spent will go toward buying out 700 of the 1,700 Mercury dealers across the United States. Back in June, we told you about a package that Ford was presenting to dealers who sign a termination agreement. The reported buyout totaled as much as $200,000 per dealership. (Actual dollar amounts for individual dealers were based on the number of vehicles they sold over a three-year period; more cars moved meant more FoMoCo cash received.)

Would a half-billion invested in updated Mercury product instead of a cash-lined casket have made a difference? Mercury's sales numbers (or lack thereof) suggest that few car shoppers would have even noticed. Ditching Mercury to concentrate on bread-and-butter Ford has seemed like a no-brainer for years. More importantly, Lincoln, which hasn't exactly lit up the monthly By the Numbers reports of late, should only benefit from the much-needed infusion of resources that were previously being wasted keeping Mercury afloat.

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]


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  • 54 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Maybe Ford will buy back a part of its former Premier Automotive Group if they can't make Lincoln into something grander. Most of its former marques still use Ford parts and engines to fill their lineups.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I agree in part. Ford should maintain Volvo as a joint venture, not an outright sale. Continue to use Volvo platforms for their technology and safety and us Geely as a way to make them for less.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I've never been a fan of American luxury cars. But Mercurys especially always seemed pointless to me. It was just a bigger, chrome-ier badge for old people to feel good about on their Grand Marquis.

      Are there any American Luxury cars that aren't for old people? I'm not being snarky, I'm genuinely curious.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yes, modern Cadillacs are no longer geared towards old people. They are really quite attractive cars and with models like the CTS-V are real performers too. Cadillac used to be an old people brand, not anymore.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @James

        You do realize the Saturn brand has been dead for a while now? I was a fan of their products but I would never dream of comparing them to any luxury make. An Ion or an Astra does not compare well to anything Acura makes.

        What may still sting for Ford is the dealers who haven't taken the deal. In Canada there were some quite costly lawsuits from dealers over the killing of Mercury. I can't see Ford getting away without lawsuits in the US.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Lutz said Pontiac was to compete with BMW. They did make a couple good cars in this period, but the division was killed before the idea could take hold. It's quite likely it never would have taken hold.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Cadillac is pretty hip these days, Lincoln would be okay if they'd just let people know the brand even existed. Buick is (unsuccessfully) trying to lower its age, but they could get there with some interesting engines. Saturns are almost as nice as Acuras ... but I'm not sure if that's a positive about Saturn or a negative about Acura these days.

        I remember Pontiac used to say it competed with BMW. Hah!
      Herod
      • 4 Years Ago
      One of the "big three" will not exist in 5 years. The world is changing due to the development of technology in other countries. Chrysler will probably be the first to go under. Ford will probably be reduced to a truck manufacturer.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Herod
        You forgot about governmental subsidies of car-making countries. South Korean one made Hyundai big requiring/helping buying KIA; German one fertilized Volkswagen to become an empire, now GM is recovering its empire thanks to US government. Italian and USA governments contributed to FIAT rebirth and it’s merging with Chrysler. Also Japanese government will never let fail Toyota - I guess? I'm afraid to comment about Chinese and Indian companies even more dependent on their governments.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I reed, hey from Las vegas i agree with you......
      • 4 Years Ago
      Should have had a plan to really do something with the brand, either expand or end it years ago, but now, it is for the best to shut it down.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I will miss the Mercury of old. Mercury had a few nice cars in the 60's and the Marauder in the 70's but other than that they've really not had anything spectacular. Their cars of the 40's and 50's were the best. I always loved the '57 Turnpike Cruiser. I'm looking for a '57 Monterey now as the Cruiser is too expensive for my pocketbook.
      • 4 Years Ago
      the more pressing question is, will they keep Jill Wagner and let her become the new Lincoln spokesperson??

      Kate Walsh watch yer back, rawr.
      • 4 Years Ago
      They should have returned Mercury to its original roots . . . high-performance RWD V8s with sporty styling.

      Yet when they tried (2003-2004 Marauder-- the last "real" Mercury) they were too chinzy to do it right.

      And too bad they didn't use Mercury as a niche for high-performance hybrids. A hybridized EcoBoost/Displacement-on-Demand V8 in a euro-sized RWD sedan/coupe at a reasonable price point would have given Mercury something entirely unique.

      Mercury lost its way back in the John McNamara days, and with a tiny handful of exceptions (early Cougars, 1960s Marauders, Cyclone GT), they never recovered from the cheap, fat, and lazy, near-luxury "badge engineered" plan that ran the marque into the ground.

      Mercury: A huge missed opportunity. Old Edsel Ford would be ashamed at how it turned out.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I am really sorry to hear about Ford, not making the Mercury anymore, I have driven Mercury's for 43 years, Mostly Cougars, and my dad drove Grand Marquis's. I don't care if any of you say all their were was a Ford, they were great cars and very dependable. I currently have a 68 and a 95 Cougar, also have a 2000 Ranger truck. I have never owned nothing else but a Ford product and never will. IT will always be Ford products for me.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Given that Mercury really had no models of it own, it would have cost billions to make it be a proper, sustainable brand. It will cost billions to fix Lincoln. So although it is lamentable that Mercury dies, but Ford cannot fund both and remain profitable. And Lincoln is more important at this point.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Forget Mercury. I only watched their ads to see Jill Wagner.
      • 4 Years Ago
      They'll just have to expand the Lincoln lineup.
      Ford Mustang based Lincoln please for the higher end.
      Ford needs to look at the demographics here.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Mustang-based Lincoln sports coupe? Yeah I'm liking the sound of that. Problem is, of course, that an optioned-out Mustang GT is already around G37 prices, so the Lincoln would be hella expensive compared to its competition.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Or, maybe Ford will continue to move upmarket and put a bullet in Lincoln, too.

        That's how they killed Merc.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Mustang-based sports coupe"? You mean something like a Mk VIII-successor? A "proper" MK IX?

        That'd be cool - it would mean Lincoln got their mojo back.
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