Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Bell Tolls for Mercury

While Autoblog fairly recently posted that Ford is not ready to give up on Mercury, it seems the rumors of the brand's survival have been greatly exaggerated. In the very same post, AB laments the lack of future product headed to the showrooms of Ford's ugly stepchild brand. The truth is that Ford is likely just paying Mercury lip service to keep the dealers happy--no one wants to see the bottom fall out suddenly for Mercury stores before Ford can execute an exit strategy--while quietly phasing out all semblance of a product plan. 
I have it on pretty good authority that this phase-out will be complete after the 2011 or 2012 model year. 

It might have made sense for Ford to take my advice regarding the brand, and bring over Euro products as Saturn is doing. But this didn't work for Merkur, so Ford can be forgiven for declining this course of action. The fact is that even VW is planing to create a unique lineup to serve the lower-cost US market, and that's a brand that has spent years building its German-engineered rep. 

Saturn is still a grand experiment, and clearly by the time we find out whether it works, Mercury will be dead and buried. For now, let's just have a moment of silence for what might have been.

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