Hooniverse Asks- How Could Ford Have Saved Mercury?

In case you haven’t heard, there’s a rumor floating about that Ford is about to pull the plug on granny Mercury. That octogenarian brand has been limping along on life support – and getting Ford-generic medication – for years, but it’s still sad to see yet another American nameplate fade from existence. We’ll do some further reminiscing about Mercury next week, but for right now we want your best arm-chair quarterbacking and for you to let us know – if Ford is really going to leave the gun but take the cannoli with Mercury – how could they have prevented this from happening? I guess an additional question, and one that should be asked first, is Mercury worth saving? The brand was pumping out nearly half a million cars a year back in the eighties, but even then they were mostly just optioned-up versions of the same thing you could get at a Blue Oval dealership. Last year they managed to move less than a fifth of that number, few more than their upscale brother, Lincoln. Despite the brand being an exercise in badge engineering, they managed to engineer some pretty cool badges. The Cougar, especially in XR7 guise was a pretty cool car that not only ran with the Mustangs, but didn’t give away that fact that it was in fact one of Ford’s ponies underneath. Before that, Comets, Marauders and Turnpike Cruisers all satisfied Ford-loyal buyers who were looking for something a little extra in their cars, but couldn’t justify the cost or parking space of going to a Lincoln. So there’s history, some pretty cool cars, but a lot of dreck too. Bobcats, LN7s and those LTDII-based Cougars come immediately to mind. But what if Ford realized that the Mercery brand, and it’s sales and service infrastructure was actually financially beneficial? What could they have done to make Mercury a more vibrant and relevant brand? Should they have made it the repository of Ford’s European models, ala Merkur? Maybe they could have made Mercury their hybrid-only  brand, or they could have created an American BMW, offering only performance-luxury models and dumping the ladies room marketing. What do you think, was Mercury worth saving, and if so, how would you have saved it? Image sources: [sirchuckles via Flickr, Automotive.com]

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