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Ford may close Mercury

Consumer Reports News: May 28, 2010 12:42 PM

Reports have been spreading from Dearborn like wildfire about a Ford Motor Company proposal to wind down Mercury. Bloomberg, Detroit News, and others have cited an internal proposal regarding Mercury, though the corporation has acknowledged publicly only that it is considering ideas. That said, the tea leaves and product line support this move.

In reality, every major corporation has to constantly review its business and consider plans for how to move it forward. This has been especially true of the automotive industry. In the past year, Ford’s two domestic rivals went through bankruptcy proceedings, accepted significant federal aid, and have emerged much leaner than Chrysler and GM of the past. There is no question Ford has been reshaping its long-term strategies, evidenced by the Blue Oval selling off its Premium Automotive Group--Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover, and Volvo--to overseas corporations.

Ford Motor Company is now down to its core brands, Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury. Many dealers sell all three. It is conceivable that after seven decades, Mercury could be the next domestic brand to fade away into the history books. Nostalgia aside, consumers would be just fine.

The brand already seems forgotten
There are just four models in the line up. Four. Porsche has more than that. And, the Grand Marquis and Mountaineer are expected to retire this year, as the Ford Crown Victoria and Explorer end their production runs.

A new Explorer is in the works for the next calendar year, but there has been no mention of a Mercury companion vehicle. We have seen this happen before. Long accompanied by a Mercury Sable, the redesigned Taurus now rides alone.

While there may be high-level discussions going on, it is clear the product planners saw this coming. And now so do you.

Jeff Bartlett

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