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Ford execs are vague on Mercury's future


Amy Wilson

Automotive News | February 11, 2008 - 9:50 pm EST




Ford Motor Co. didn't deliver the rousing defense of the Mercury brand that Lincoln Mercury dealers were looking for on Sunday.

Ford executives touted the coming Mercury Milan hybrid sedan and powertrain upgrades for the Mercury Mariner crossover. But talking with reporters after the Lincoln Mercury make meeting, the executives declined to say whether dealers would get a definitive answer this year on the long-term future of Mercury.

Without much information about next-generation vehicles in the pipeline, dealers are worried that Ford Motor could drop the brand. Getting a better answer on Mercury's future is one of the dealer council's top priorities for 2008.

When asked Sunday whether it's possible that Mercury will be dropped, Ford Americas President Mark Fields said: "It's possible the sun could extinguish in the next five days."

Right now, Mercury has a place among Ford Motor's brands, he said, then added: "Who knows what could happen?"

Michael Adamson, chairman of the Lincoln Mercury National Dealer Council, said Ford executives "addressed the issue that Mercury is in flux right now."

Dealers are concerned because Mercury nameplates have contributed high-volume sales.

Ford executives have said Lincoln will become the high-volume brand, but some dealers worry that Lincoln sales won't be enough to support their operations.

One dealer said he knows firsthand how important Mercury is. Dave Emmerson is a Ford-Lincoln dealer in Canada, where the Mercury brand was discontinued years ago.

He said the move hurt sales and led to fewer dealers in Canada.



SOURCE: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080211/ANA04/802120314/1203/GUESTS&template=printart
 

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Ford is just cutting itself into a Suzuki size niche automobile company. They can do one of two thing, Keep their brands or, kill themselves.

Toyota did not rival anyone until they had multiple brands. Even Hyundai has added brands. How does Ford expect to succeed with only Ford and Lincoln, of which Lincoln is a small North American brand?
 

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Ford is just cutting itself into a Suzuki size niche automobile company. They can do one of two thing, Keep their brands or, kill themselves.

Toyota did not rival anyone until they had multiple brands. Even Hyundai has added brands. How does Ford expect to succeed with only Ford and Lincoln, of which Lincoln is a small North American brand?

Well, the Japanese companies did it with 2 brands each. Honda/ Acura, Nissan/ Infiniti, and Toyota/ Lexus. And yes, I know I haven't mentioned Scion. Scion is the very definition of "niche" (Small, cheap, ugly cars.)

I often wonder if GM may one day consist of Chevrolet and Cadillac with a few niches in between, like Hummer and/or Saab.
 

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....and by the way, when Mr. Fields mentions the possibility of the Sun burning out I think it was meant to say it was "possible". But as we all know, it is not probable.
 

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I now have a '03 Taurus and a '97 Thunderbird in my garage. Over the years, I had 4 Mercury Marquis. I was considering buying a Mercury Milan or a Grand Marquis. If Mercury is out, I guess I'll buy a used Mercury.
 

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I now have a '03 Taurus and a '97 Thunderbird in my garage. Over the years, I had 4 Mercury Marquis. I was considering buying a Mercury Milan or a Grand Marquis. If Mercury is out, I guess I'll buy a used Mercury.
If Ford does decide to phase out Mercury it won't be for a few years.

So go ahead get a new Milan or Grand Marquis. And might I recommend the Sable.
 

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Well, the Japanese companies did it with 2 brands each. Honda/ Acura, Nissan/ Infiniti, and Toyota/ Lexus. And yes, I know I haven't mentioned Scion. Scion is the very definition of "niche" (Small, cheap, ugly cars.)

I often wonder if GM may one day consist of Chevrolet and Cadillac with a few niches in between, like Hummer and/or Saab.
I beg to differ. The point isn't so much the number of named brands but of named car lines. Ford and Mercury have been virtually the same car lines for decades. Toyota has more unique vehicles and named lines than all of Ford Motor Company in the US. 6 car lines, 9 truck/SUV/crossover lines. Then there are the 3 cars of the Scion brand, and the 5 car and 4 truck/SUV/crossover lines of the Lexus Brand, all adding up to a total of 14 car lines and 12 truck/SUV/crossover lines, or 26 total vehicles. Ford has 4 car lines, 8 truck/van/SUV. Mercury can be said to add a single car to the mix, Grand Marquis, but only because Ford doesn't sell the Crown Vic anymore. Lincoln adds 3 vehicles, soon a 4th, all adding up to 8 car lines and 8 truck/SUV/crossover lines or 16 total vehicle lines. No matter how you count it, Toyota Motors has more of every kind of vehicle. (I've counted the various sizes of F trucks as a single line, since they differ mainly in size and capacity and are meant to be seen as a family).
 
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