Just as fast as the rumors began, Ford made the official announcement that at the end of the Q4 of 2010, its Mercury division will officially cease production. Not that this comes as a surprise, but it's still sad nonetheless. This makes room for Ford to invest more in Lincoln. The goal is to add up to six new Lincoln models in the next few years. In addition, Ford wants to develop Lincoln into the most fuel efficient luxury brand on the market.
They will be doing this by offering an EcoBoost engine in every model and, supposedly, a unique V6 engine exclusively built for Lincoln. All of the attention on Lincoln should help make it more competitive with Lexus and Cadillac. It's still sad, however, to see another historic auto brand end its run. Mercury was founded in 1939 by none other than Edsel Ford as a slightly premium brand to fit in between Ford and Lincoln. At that time it made a much stronger business case. Fords were very much geared towards the masses and were affordable for almost everybody.
Lincoln, on the other hand, was already a more established upscale brand only the wealthy could buy. The idea was for Mercury to appeal to a rising upper middle class. And so it did for a few decades. There were a number of memorable Mercury's such as the original 1939 Mercury, 1949 Series 9CM, 1967 Cougar, and Grand Marquis. Unfortunately, there were too many misses which consisted mainly of rebadged Ford models. This appealed to some, but in the end, not nearly enough. Mercury soldiered on for the past 20 years or so with very little original product.
Save for a new Cougar in the late 1990s, the brand simply could not create a niche. Even Buick was able to better define itself. In the past few years, Ford has talked off and on again about killing the brand. It was a bit hard to justify doing so considering Mercury did outsell Lincoln. Now that Ford has decided to invest more in Lincoln, keeping Mercury around didn't make sense. With all of the economic troubles lately, Ford simply didn't have a choice. Mercury has now entered the highway to heaven.