03 June 2010

Mercury Brand Axed

Ford has decided to discontinue its Mercury brand, leaving only its Ford and Lincoln brands. The Mercury brand had no independent dealerships and did not have a distinct customer profile of its own. According to the company's President, as paraphased in hte Denver Post, "Mercury's sales make up such a small percentage of the North American market — less than 1 percent, compared with the Ford brand's 16 percent — and that the profile of Ford and Mercury shoppers is so similar, it makes more sense to focus on Ford and Lincoln."

There are currently 276 Mercury-Lincoln dealerships and 1436 dealerships that sell Fords or Fords and Lincolns as well as the Mercury brand. "Mercury's sales peaked in 1978 at more than 580,000 vehicles. Just more than 92,000 Mercurys were sold last year."

General Motors cut its array of North American brands down to four (GMC, Chevy, Buick and Cadillac) in its most recent bankruptcy, but it remains behind the trend. The demise of Mercury leaves GM as the only remaining American automaker with a mid-range brand, Buick. Chrysler's current brands are Jeep, Ram (now sold as its own brand instead of being submerged in Dodge), Dodge and Chrysler, it is scheduled to begin selling Fiats. Meanwhile, growing Hyundai and Toyota have fairly luanched new brands. Hyundai has launched a luxury Genesis line, and Toyota has added the economy Scion line to its mix of offerings.

Ford is now the only big three automaker with its own financing arm.

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