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Ford to end production of Mercury by year-end

2010-06-03 09:59

CHICAGO: Ford Motor Co will end the production of its mid-market Mercury brand to focus its resources on reviving luxury-brand Lincoln, the automaker said on its website Wednesday.

The automaker said it plans to end production of Mercury products sometime in the last three months of this year. It promised to compensate dealers who lose their franchises as a result of the decision. It also will provide parts and service support for Mercury customers for the life of their vehicle at any Ford or Lincoln dealership.

The brand was launched in 1939, the brainchild of Edsel Ford, son of Henry Ford. Its mission was to fill the gap between the mass market Ford brand and the luxury Lincoln marque.

The Mercury brand has suffered from lack of new product and advertising, and its sales have dropped quickly in recent years.

Sales peaked in 1978 at more than 580,000 vehicles, but just over 92,000 Mercurys were sold last year.

This year, the Mercury brand has captured less than 1 percent of the US market, while the Ford brand has 15 percent.

Mercury is the latest American brand to die as part of an industry-wide restructuring. Others included the Chrysler Plymouth and GM's Saturn, Hummer, Pontiac and Oldsmobile.

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