Last Mercury stand-alone dealership closes

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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