Ford Planning to Kill Mercury Division, Maybe as Soon as Year's End

[Bloomberg]


Mercury, the maker of higher grade Ford models with waterfall grilles such as the Milan and Grande Marquis, will have the same fate of GM's Pontiac and Saturn brands, according to a report from Bloomberg citing two unnamed people familiar with the plan.
The news agency said that Ford Motor Co executives could ask the automaker's board of directors as early as July to green-lit the (eventual) axing of the Mercury brand.
Ford did not give a straight out answer when asked about the report. "Our plans regarding Mercury have not changed," said Ford spokesman, Mark Truby. "Like any good business, we constantly assess our business portfolio. If things change, we will let you know." Bill and Elena Ford declined to comment, Truby said.
People familiar with matter said that Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford and other members of the founding family, who have an all-important 40% voting control of the automaker, clearly support the elimination of Mercury.
The Mercury brand was created in 1939 by Edsel Ford as a Buick-like, entry-level luxury marque slotted between mainstream Fords and premium Lincolns.
The brand's sales peaked in 1978 at 579,498 units, but have since plunged to just 92,299 vehicles last year. In the first quarter of 2010, Mercury's sales accounted for a mere 1.9% of FoMoCo's global sales.

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