Ford provided a serious jolt to its brands last week when it announced that Mercury was taking a permanent catnap in the Fall of 2010. Even though Mercury has been a shell of a brand for decades, the news came as a bit of a shock – a shock that Canadian Ford dealers felt way back in 1999, when Mercury sales were far healthier than they are today.

As Ward's Automotive points out, the Blue Oval decided to cut off Mercury in Canada before the turn of the century, and over 100 dealers promptly filed a class-action lawsuit. Ford settled the suit for $48 million, and 80 retail outlets took their portion of the money and closed their doors for good. The remaining dealerships partnered with existing Ford stores.

The situation could be a bit different this time around, as Ford is providing what it calls a "fair and reasonable" compensation package for its dealers. Ford claims that it intends to expand the Lincoln lineup to help make up for lost volume.

[Source: Ward's Automotive | Image: Justin Sullivan/Getty]

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