Mercury Bites the Dust!
After a 72 year run, the Mercury automobile will cease to exist by years end.
Ford Motor Co. announced June 2nd, 2010 that it would cease production of its Mercury brand by the end of 2010 after years of declining sales.
Also included in the news release… Ford also noted that it was revamping its Lincoln line with seven new offerings in the next 4 years… including it’s first compact car. A compact car! Do we smell another Cimarron stinker in the making? – we hope not. But it does seem to us, like it’s more of the same old “spin” and they’re trying to make the “Big L” cover too many bases – lots of bunts and no home runs. Why not keep the moniker strictly luxury and leave the “everyman’s offerings” to the blue oval exclusively. Of course that would certainly upset the current Lincoln/Mercury dealership “apple cart”. It sure sounds like the same well worn program doesn’t it? Just minus the Mercury moniker.
Oh well, what do we know… it’s almost certain that American automobile manufacturers have given this careful consideration and know exactly what they’re doing – yea right!
With this new announcement, we thought it might be appropriate to reprint a portion of a Charlie Smith thread starter published a couple of years ago on the Motorburg Forum. Charlie predicted the possible demise of the Mercury brand and even had a few choice words about the “Lincoln situation”.
From The Big Block Party Forum – August 7th, 2008:
…Hopefully, some of you have noticed and then gone on to read Thom Taylor’s “blog article” about General Motors. It’s really an interesting “take” on one possible way to restructure GM and I recommend it highly. That Thom really knows how to cut through the “crap” and trim the fat.
Though I hadn’t written a thing up to this point, Thom’s Blog entry reminded me that I had been thinking along the lines of his GM article for sometime now; in that Ford and GM are operating in the 21st Century with the same structure they used in the 1950’s. That thought established, bear with me for a while and I’ll see if I can’t put my thoughts into current words.
It’s almost like the former “Giants” are defiantly refusing to face the marketing facts of present circumstances. Seems they’re stunned by the situation and are still thinking that this just couldn’t be happening to them. As they sit there stunned, the world continues to orbit and change ever more rapidly. Soon, catch-up might even become something “out of the question”.
Neither entity has the exclusive right to fill every niche with variations of their core offerings as they once did, when they ruled the roost together. Those offerings of sameness and blurred distinctions were easy to do in the old days, when they were the only game in town and advertising “spin” was in. Those old ways just don’t work anymore when people want more and more to express themselves by their automotive choice, and have their brand of choice to back them up in a substantial and significant way. Tattoos are out, and real “kahounas” are in. An iconic name itself, will no longer sell the product to a savvy consumer.
Today’s consumer, demands substance over empty advertising hype. Unless Ford can do with Lincoln, what GM has done with Cadillac, that brand is gone. I mean, Cadillac learned its lesson with the Cimarron (a retagged Chevy – how degrading is that for a brand touting itself as a luxury car), you’d think Ford would have taken note (the Cadillac wreath came close to being a joke) and thought twice before offering their Fusion across divisions as the Mercury Milan and The Lincoln Zephyr/MKZ. I can cut them some slack for the Mercury Milan but Lincoln used to be a seemingly distinctive and unique offering… who wants to buy a Lincoln when its nothing more than a “fussy” Ford – kind of takes the luster off the four-pointed star doesn’t it. I do think that alone, the Fusion is a superb car, both in quality and price… it’s when it tries to be more than it was intended (as in MKZ) that it fails. Ford’s middle division moniker; Mercury, is probably going to be an even a harder name to keep afloat, having traditionally been nothing more than a rebadged upscale Ford… if that. Whatever the underpinnings, the look of the product today needs to be uniquely distinct, one from another.
The empty ploys and marketing strategies of “overstuffed easy chair” America just will not work anymore. It’s probably way too late in most cases for adjustments now… I hope not. I guess we’ll know within the next couple of years (or sooner) how GM and Ford will adjust… for adjust they must or die.
I have no idea what to say about Chrysler… what was it, 1961 when they should have learned the lesson that they needed to maintain a semblance of divisional autonomy and uniqueness in order to maintain credibility and continued profits from a particular name-plate. Or – maybe they did learn something, they shit-canned the Desoto that year and even more recently did away with Plymouth – for years the top seller of its group of divisional cars. Nothing is sacred anymore… remember what happened to your Father’s Oldsmobile! It’s just too bad that most of the American Automaker’s downsizing is done today, because there was no other choice… rather than as a conscious well thought out adjustment or a rational long term plan…
If you’d like to read the full forum thread, including further comments by Charlie, Thom Taylor and others – read more HERE.
Also, Thom continues with a related article on Motorburg called “The 45-degree Arrogance“… it’s a superb read as well.
So long Mercury – thanks for all the memories.