Ford May Kill Off Mercury Brand

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Mercury vehicles from American auto icon Ford Motor may soon be cut from production lines, leaving another dead brand in the dust.

Even though it hasn’t said so officially, Ford (Stock Quote: F) appears to be slowing its development of Mercury vehicles and has abstained from redesigning certain models even though their blue-oval equivalents have been redesigned, according to The Detroit News.

Ford decided not to show its new, more luxurious Mercury version of its Ford Focus at the New York International Auto Show and the Mountaineer, a Mercury version of the Ford Explorer has not been developed alongside the new Explorer, The Detroit News notes.

"Mercury is a brand that has lost its meaning in the American automotive marketplace and it isn't worth trying to change that," Edmunds.com CEO Jeremy Anwyl said in a statement, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Mercury has been considered a brand midway between Ford, which is marketed as the everyman’s car, and the company’s more luxurious Lincoln brand. Cutting Mercury would allow the automaker to focus its resources on its other two badges, but Lincoln could be on the chopping block as well, suggests the Journal.

The number of dealerships dedicated to the Lincoln and Mercury brands has already been thinning. In around 2006, there were 619 standalone dealerships nationwide, but last year there were only 357, according to AutoBlog. With Ford’s Mercury lineup cut, that number is likely to be drastically lower.

Mercury is just one of a number of brands that have lost steam in recent years. Chrysler’s Plymouth brand and GM’s (Stock Quote: GM) Oldsmobile, Pontiac and Saturn brands have all been discontinued.

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