Ford Mercury in retrograde — permanently

1968 Mercury Cougar

The Mercury Cougar, long considered among the finest muscle cars ever produced. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Last week, it was announced that executives of the Ford Motor Company would be putting forth a proposal to shut down the Mercury brand. It was announced on Wednesday, June 2, that the death of Mercury had become official. Ford will stop producing Mercury brand vehicles at the end of the year, and Ford will be making Ford and Lincoln the top priorities of the company.  Car makers with multiple brands have been trending toward eliminating the underperforming lines, as Pontiac, Saturn, Hummer and others have also gone the way of the dinosaurs.

Mercury vanishing like quicksilver

Ford has weathered recent troubles, but the Mercury brand has not been performing well.  According to the New York Times, Mercury as a brand held less than 1 percent of the market share in domestic auto sales and moved less than 93,000 cars in 2009.   Ford does not anticipate that there will be many side effects, because no dealerships sell Mercury vehicles exclusively.  Ford has been raking in the payday cash from Ford and Lincoln sales, so it appears Ford is not worried about ending the Mercury line.  There was a proposal last week to ax Mercury, but now it’s official.

Mercury’s orbit

Mercury was launched as a middle ground between the economical Ford and luxury Lincoln brands back when Ford was losing ground to General Motors after the second World War.  The brand itself was launched by Edsel Ford, only son of Henry Ford, according to CNNMoney.  The brand was actually popular for some time, enjoying successes in the 1960s and 1970s, especially with the Mercury Cougar.  Dealers reportedly are quite all right with the change.

Smaller brands dying off

This is not the first underperforming brand being cast into oblivion by the parent company.  Plymouth, Pontiac and Hummer all went off into that good night when the bottom line wasn’t being met, and Ford divested themselves of Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin and is currently trying to get rid of Volvo.

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