After 70 years of existence, it looks like Mercury will be the next auto brand to go the way of Pontiac, Hummer, and Saturn.
According to Bloomberg, which cites unnamed sources within Ford, top executives are preparing a proposal to kill Mercury. That proposal will be presented to the board in July, but it seems the Ford family is in favor of axing the brand.
This isn’t a huge heartbreaker, for me at least, and many analysts have expected it would happen at some point. I mean, Mercury hasn’t made a truly exciting vehicle since the ’67 Cougar.
I will miss one thing when Mercury vanishes, though:
Jill Wagner. The bubbly TV spokeswoman has been telling us to put Mercury on our list since 2005, and she’s been pretty dang convincing at it. (If you’re into such things, and not at work, I encourage you to check out her very un-spokeswoman-like Maxim photos.)
Aside from her, all we’re really losing with Mercury are rebadged versions of the Ford Escape and Fusion. The Mercury brand has seen its sales fall by nearly three-quarters since the year 2000, now representing less than 2 percent of Ford’s annual sales. Plus, Mercury is scheduled to lose two of its four models next year. (Is anyone really going to miss the Grand Marquis or Mountaineer? I don’t think so.)
Bloomberg says the timing of winding down Mercury will depend on how long it takes to convince dealers to give up the brand… something we know from past experience they don’t exactly like.
Mercury was established during the Great Depression by Henry Ford’s infamous son, Edsel, as a mid-priced alternative to Ford, priced below luxury Lincolns. When Alan Mulally arrived at Ford in 2006, Mercury no longer received exclusive features or technology.
There’s just not much of a market for overpriced Fords these days, no matter how hot your spokeswoman is.
Will you miss Mercury?