Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Mercury Hits The End Of The Road

Ford scheduled a 3pm press conference today to announce the end of the Mercury brand. Since 1939, when the brand was founded by Edsel Ford, Mercury represented a car line higher priced and more luxurious than the Ford line situated between the luxury Lincoln brand.

During the late 50's Ford attempted to add the new Edsel brand of automobiles to more luxury oriented Mercury and Lincoln division of automobiles, but the brand quickly flopped in sales and only 1958-60 models were produced. The 1960 Edsel Comet, a luxury compact car was re-branded as the Mercury Comet, giving buyers of compact cars a choice for a quality product compared to the more Spartan brands such as the Rambler American, Chevy II, Ford Falcon, Chevrolet Corvair, Plymouth Valiant and Dodge Lancer.

Later in the 1960's Ford sought to create a luxury pony car with the introduction of Mercury Cougar, which largely shared some frame and other components from the wildly popular Ford Mustang. The Cougar was a real success in own right, and a highly prized brand. But, after the turn of the century, Mercury models seemed to have less identity and less appeal to buyers. While the Grand Marquis had some appeal to buyers in the Buick luxury price range, it lacked the sheer excitement that the brand once generated with past Mercury luxury and performance models.

Ford's best selling little Pinto line even had an upgraded version called the Bobcat. And the low priced Maverick line included a new version of the Mercury Comet. Both models gave lower priced market buyers some nicer alternate custom versions of both Ford cars.

Likely, Ford will offer more trim and appointment upgrades to existing models as the existing Mercury models are phased out. And Lincoln will continue as the high priced luxury brand for the company. But, for many car collectors and automotive fans, Mercury will forever occupy a special place in their hearts as a truly fine brand that brought out some very great luxury and performance models in it's long life span run.