Confirming what we learned earlier from our sources, Ford will terminate its Mercury brand this year, with production of Mercury vehicles to end in the fourth quarter of this year. According to Ford, the move will allow the automaker to grow and expand the Lincoln brand with seven new vehicles within the next four years.
"We have made tremendous progress on profitably growing the Ford brand during the past few years. Now, it is time to do the same for Lincoln," said Mark Fields, Ford's president of the The Americas. "The new Lincoln vehicles will transform luxury for North American premium customers through an unexpected blend of responsive driving enjoyment and warm, inviting comfort."
According to Fields, the decision to cut Mercury was difficult considering the brand's heritage, but an annual vehicle study put the final nail in the coffin. Mercury's total market share was shown to be 0.8 percent and most Mercury buyers were cross-shopping - and transitioning to - Ford vehicles.
Without giving specific details, Ford announced that it will bring six all-new or significantly refreshed vehicles to its Lincoln lineup within four years, including a Lincoln-first C-segment vehicle. It was not mentioned whether the vehicle would follow the form of the Lincoln C Concept that debuted at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show, but it was mentioned that the vehicle would not be brand-engineered and would be unique to Lincoln. Later this year, the MKS hybrid sedan will come to market, with a refreshed MKT crossover with all-new exterior and interior design. A new fuel-efficient V-6 engine will also come to market with a new transmission.
According to Fields, standalone Lincoln dealers may be a possibility in some markets, while other markets will retain combined Ford and Lincoln showrooms. Dealers will be notified of changes within two days, with more developed plans to come within weeks. Owners of Mercury dealers will be compensated for their closure and may have the option to transition into a Lincoln or Ford dealer. According to Ford, there are currently 1712 Mercury dealers. Of those, 925 also have Ford and Lincoln vehicles under their roofs. Another 511 are Ford and Mercury alone. No Mercury-only dealers exist in North America.
Current Mercury owners will be notified in the coming weeks and Ford will continue to service Mercury vehicles at Ford service centers.