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Mercury To Officially Shut Down In Fourth Quarter

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On: Thu, Jun 3, 2010 at 11:10AM | By: John Welch

Mercury To Officially Shut Down In Fourth Quarter

Ding Dong, The Flying Shoes Guy Is Dead. He wasn't necessarily 'wicked', but he was very old. Seventy-one, to be exact.

Mercury production will end in the fourth quarter of 2010, putting an end to yet another erroneous American auto brand. The final decision to kill Mercury was made this week and approved by Ford's board yesterday, said Mark Fields, Ford's president of the Americas. Ending Mercury production has been a topic of board discussions for some time now, but the final decision was made during Ford's annual spring business and product review. According to Fields, most Mercury customers cross-shop Ford products, and there is no reason to continue allowing divisions to cannibalize each other’s sales. This concept follows the industry trend; Buicks are currently being marketed to me, not my grandfather. The industry is attempting to reinvent itself, and Mercury doesn't fit into Ford's reinvention. "This allows us to put 100 percent of our resources into Ford and Lincoln," Fields said.

Ed Tonkin, chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association, made it clear that Mercury will be missed. "It's a sad day," said Tonkin, who also commented on the NADA's Mercury-Death stance. “Ford also needs to move quickly to take into account the millions of dollars that dealers have invested in facilities, equipment, personnel and training. They deserve fair compensation.”

“The NADA's concern is that Ford treats each of its Mercury dealers fairly and equitably,” he said, “especially the 276 of whom sell Lincoln and Mercury exclusively.”

Fields is way ahead of ya there, Mr. Tonkin. Ford will offer special incentives to move Mercury vehicles this summer. Fields says he expects most of the Mercury inventory to be sold off by the end of this year.

And just in case we weren't already convinced that there is competent leadership working in Dearborn, there is this little tid-bit: there will be no job cuts resulting from the demise of Mercury. Ford will redeploy any Mercury personnel to the Lincoln brand.

Now that I have reported the news, time to satisfy my own sick fetish. I like to tell car companies what to do, and I like to point out their failures. Call it mean-spirited, call it ignorant, call it flat-out schizophrenia, but automotive vitriol makes me all warm in my guttywobbles.

Mercury, you goofy jerks. You had me at "hello" with the 2003 Mercury Marauder. The former owner of a '92 Crown Vic, I was quite familiar with the Marauder before ever laying eyes on one. It was going to be big, it was going to have some form of Ford Mod-Motor, and it would lack for headroom. Which is fine. Headroom can be added easily, just chop the top!

That is exactly what Mercury did. The Marauder Concept debuted in 2002, alongside a convertible of the same name. To call this coupe "beautiful" might be stretching it, but to my eyes, the simpler the better. Slab-sides, cop-car headlights, two doors, and a supercharged V8 spell "F-U-N" to me. It's a shame it never saw the light of day.

Enthusiasts were always well aware of the potential a Maunder possessed, straight from the factory. Sure, its 4.6 SOHC V8 made only 300 horses, but a thousand bucks and a weekend in the garage could make that number swell to Ferrari heights. It didn't come with a third pedal, but the ubiquitous Crown Vic rear-end has a multitude of different gear ratios available for it. Cheap. With an exhaust upgrade, and intake, 3.73 gears, and a set of good rubber, the Marauder could easily dust off much more racy looking competition. And it could have done it with the top down, if Ford had had the balls to pull the trigger.

I salute you, Marauder Convertible that never existed, and I praise Ford for avoiding lay-offs while eliminating your brand, Mercury.

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