TLP: Who Drives a Mercury, Anyway?
This is how you do it: You don't ask for a bailout. You sell off what you don't need. You shut down what doesn't work. Maybe the most-appropriately named Ford is the Focus.
Ford Motor Co. is considering a plan to drop Mercury, a brand developed in the 1930s that has seen sales and investment plunge in recent years, a person familiar with the discussions said.You've got to love these stories sourced to "a person familiar with ..." So badass.
Ford's global head of marketing, Jim Farley, has consulted a number of U.S. dealers about dropping Mercury and a formal announcement could come at a dealer meeting later this summer, said this source.
A wind-down of Mercury, coupled with Ford's planned sale of its Volvo car unit to China's Geely, would sharpen the automaker's focus on its Ford brand globally and its luxury Lincoln brand in North America.
The person familiar with Ford's plans asked not to be named because the plans have not been made public.
Anyway, Ford is doing OK, expecting to be profitable this year. The company bypassed the Detroit bailout, preferring to work things out on its own. The Mercury unit is down to a handful of models and sold fewer than 93,000 vehicles in the United States last year. People who pay attention to these things think scrapping what's left of Mercury would be smart.
"Shutting down Mercury eliminates a distraction," said Jeremy Anwyl, chief executive of Edmunds, the industry tracking website. "Mercury is a brand that has lost its meaning in the American automotive marketplace and it isn't worth trying to change that."
Jim Ziegler, an Atlanta-based dealer consultant, said dealers have talked about the eventual elimination of Mercury for some time and the brand has no stand-alone dealerships.
"Nobody is going to get hurt," Ziegler said. "It's not like there is a lot of heritage walking away with Mercury."
Really. Anyone who has bought a Mercury could have bought a Ford. Want a Navigator? Let me show you this Expedition. Find the Sable irresistible? You'll love a Taurus. Never mind that Cougar. What you really want is a Thunderbird. (Fun fact: there's a term for this. "Rebadged variant".)And, besides, anyone who can't do without a Merc can always find one.