"Drive the "Big M" (1950s)
"The shape you want to be in" (1985–1988)
"All this and the quality of a Mercury" (1989–1994)
"Imagine Yourself in a Mercury" (1995-1999)
"Live life in your own lane" (1999-2004)
"New Doors Opened" (2004–2011)
|Founded||1938, by Edsel Ford|
|Defunct||January 4, 2011|
|Headquarters||Dearborn, Michigan, U.S.|
|Key people||Edsel Ford, founder|
|Parent||Ford Motor Company|
Mercury was an automobile marque of the Ford Motor Company launched in 1938 by Edsel Ford, son of Henry Ford, to market entry-level luxury cars slotted between Ford-branded regular models and Lincoln-branded luxury vehicles, similar to General Motors' Buick (and former Oldsmobile) brand, Chrysler Motors' Chrysler division. From 1945 to 2011, it was the Mercury half of the Lincoln - Mercury division of Ford (the Edsel brand was included in that division for the 1958-1960 model years). Using badge engineering, the majority of Mercury models were based on Ford platforms.
The name "Mercury" is derived from the messenger of the gods of Roman mythology, and during its early years, the Mercury brand was known for performance, which was briefly revived in 2003 with the Mercury Marauder. The brand was sold in the United States, Mexico, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Middle East. In 1999, the Mercury brand was dropped in Canada, although the Grand Marquis was still marketed there wearing a Mercury badge through 2007.
The Mercury brand was phased out in 2011, as Ford Motor Company refocused its marketing and engineering efforts on the Ford and Lincoln brands. Production of Mercury vehicles ceased in the fourth quarter of 2010. The final Mercury automobile, a Grand Marquis, rolled off the assembly line on January 4, 2011.
- 1 History
- 1.1 1945-1956: "Junior Lincoln"
- 1.2 1957-1960: Mercury-Edsel-Lincoln
- 1.3 1960s: Establishing Identity
- 1.4 1970s: "Sign of the Cat"
- 1.5 1980s: Downsizing and starting over
- 1.6 The 1990s: Post-Merkur
- 1.7 1999-2011: Revival and decline
- 1.8 Sales figures
- 2 Mercury in Canada
- 3 Brand identity
- 4 See also
- 5 References
- 6 External links
In 1937, Edsel Ford started a new company, more luxurious version of his company's mainline car, intended to bridge the enormous price gap between the highest trimmed Ford and the base Lincoln. The designs of the new car were done by E.T. 'Bob' Gregorie. There was debate within the company about whether this new intermediate car should be a new Ford model or spun off into a new marque. Over 100 different model and marque names were considered before "Mercury" was finally selected.
The 1939 Mercury Eight began production in 1938, with a 239 cu. in. 95 horsepower (71 kW; 96 PS) flathead V8 engine. Over 65,800 were sold the first year, at a price of $916 (approximately $14,000 in 2010 dollars). It was an all new car, sharing no body panels with either Ford or Lincoln. Its body was six inches wider than Ford and rode on a 116.0 inches (2,950 mm) wheelbase, four inches longer than Ford.
From the very beginning, Mercury was a division that seemed to have a brand identity that was constantly in the process of finding its place in the North American automotive market. Sometimes, Mercury was presented as a performance division of more mainstay Ford products, while at other times, it was meant to match sales with Detroit crosstown rivals Buick, Oldsmobile and Chrysler during the 1950s through 1980s. Many times, Mercury models shared platforms with Ford products, such as the Mercury Cougar (shared with the Ford Mustang, Thunderbird, and Elite), the Mercury Bobcat (shared with the Ford Pinto), or the Mercury Comet (shared with the Ford Falcon, Fairlane, and Maverick).
1945-1956: "Junior Lincoln"
Mercury was its own division at Ford until 1945 when it was combined with Lincoln into the Lincoln-Mercury Division, with Ford hoping the brand would be known as a "junior Lincoln," rather than an upmarket Ford. In 1949, Mercury introduced the first of its "new look" integrated bodies, at the same time that Ford and Lincoln also changed styling radically. Sharing much of its body styling with the 1949 Lincoln, the postwar Mercury Eight would become popular among customizers.
In 1952, the single-model Mercury lineup was doubled: as Ford redesigned the cars of all three of its divisions, Mercury replaced the Eight with the Custom and Monterey. The Monterey name first appeared in 1950 as a specially-trimmed Eight to compete against the hardtop coupes of General Motors. In 1954, Mercury replaced the long-running Flathead V8 with an all-new Y-Block V8. While the Lincoln division received its own engine, Mercury would receive a larger version of what was used in the Ford line.
In 1955, the Mercury lineup was expanded to three, adding the Montclair to the top of the lineup. As before, the body shared much of its styling with the standard Lincoln. For 1956, the Custom was replaced by the Medalist as the lowest-trim model.
For the 1957 model year, the entire Mercury line was redesigned. Following the Ford division, station wagons were split into their own three-model hierarchy (Commuter, Voyager, and wood-grain Colony Park). While the base Medalist was discontinued, the Turnpike Cruiser became the new Mercury flagship; it would pace the 1957 Indianapolis 500. While distinguished by its gold fin trim, the Turnpike Cruiser's most iconic styling feature was its retractable "breezeway" rear window.
In 1958, the division became the first automaker to sell production automobiles with an advertised 400-horsepower engine output; the Super Marauder V8 was an option in all Mercury vehicles. The Park Lane gradually replaced the Turnpike Cruiser. In 1959, the rest of the Mercury line would adopt the body introduced by the Park Lane; the Turnpike Cruiser was discontinued.
Mercury and Edsel
For the first time since 1948, Mercury did not share a body with Lincoln, as Ford had major plans for both divisions. Less than a year later, the Edsel brand was launched. A five-vehicle division, Edsel would base its wagons and lower-trim sedans (Ranger, Pacer) from Ford platforms while the higher-trim sedans (Corsair, Citation) would be Mercury-based. Edsel Corsairs and Citations shared rooflines and interior body panels with the Mercury line. As Edsel wagons were Ford-based, Mercury station wagons shared bodies with no other Ford division.
1960s: Establishing Identity
With the recession of the late 1950s, mid-priced cars were becoming an increasingly hard sell at dealerships. The failure of Edsel and declining Lincoln-Mercury sales led Ford executives, led by company president Robert McNamara, to streamline Ford Motor Company down to its namesake division.
In order to save Mercury, major changes were in store as the 1960s arrived. For 1960, the Comet was introduced as a counterpart of the Ford Falcon. Originally developed for the Edsel division, the Comet would go two years without being badged as a Mercury (much like the Valiant from Plymouth).
In 1961, a major change occurred as the division redesigned its full-size line. The slow-selling Park Lane and Montclair were dropped, leaving the Monterey alongside the new Mercury Meteor. For the first time since 1939, Mercury and Ford shared a common platform. In 1962, the Meteor nameplate was given to a clone of the Ford Fairlane, expanding Mercury into the intermediate segment.
During the mid-1960s, the image of Mercury was under constant change. In 1963, the "breezeway" rear window seen on the Turnpike Cruiser made its return on full-size models. In addition to formal sedans, Mercury introduced a line of high-performance "S" models of its three model lines for 1962. The S-22 (Comet), S-33 (Meteor), and S-55 (Monterey) all featured high-performance powertrains along with full-length consoles and bucket seats. On all full-size models, a fastback "Marauder" roofline became an option; while also shared with Ford, it helped the division gain ground in racing.
By the middle of the 1960s, the future of Mercury was safe, but its marketing had changed significantly from the beginning of the decade. In contrast to the "senior Fords" seen previously, the new 1965 full-size Mercury was "built in the Lincoln tradition". At this time, Mercury competed closely against the Buick, Oldsmobile, the middle of the Chrysler range, and the top of American Motors range.
While still heavily based upon a Ford chassis, full-size Mercury cars derived much of their body styling from the newly updated Lincoln Continental. In keeping with the marketing model, Mercury moved the Comet from the compact size segment to the intermediate segment when it was redesigned for 1966, taking the place of the discontinued Meteor. With the introduction of the high-content Ford LTD, Mercury countered with the introduction of the Marquis in 1967. As the gradual replacement for the Montclair and the Park Lane, the Marquis nameplate (in various forms) would survive until the 2011 discontinuation of the brand.
Along with large sedans, Mercury sought to introduce personal-luxury cars into the division. For 1967, the Cougar was a clone of the Ford Mustang; while a sporty pony car, the Cougar was also meant to bridge the gap between the Mustang and the much larger Ford Thunderbird. For 1969, the Marauder became a stand-alone model. While heavily based on the two-door Marquis, it wore its own bodywork from the windshield back. A personal-luxury coupe sized above the Ford Thunderbird, the Marauder was aimed at the Oldsmobile Toronado and Buick Riviera.
1970s: "Sign of the Cat"
Mercury's ride through the 1970s was not gentle, but it fared better than some. Shifting from performance cars such as the S-55, Marauder, and the Mustang-based Cougar, Mercury reverted to its historical role of selling badge-engineered Ford vehicles. Partially as a result of the first gas crisis, the "near luxury" segment was the bread and butter for 1970s American car manufacturers. However, the segment eventually became saturated. Only Mercury's niche products, like the Cougar XR-7, seemed to find real success with buyers. Much of this might really have had to do with Ford's topsy-turvy financial situation in the seventies. Lincoln-Mercury dealers had plenty of good selling cars, they just were not the right cars.
In 1978, Mercury sales peaked at an all-time high of 580,000. The Cougar and Lincoln Mk V shattered sales records, but the staples of Mercury's business, the mid-size and full-size sedans and wagons, moved out of showrooms at a snail's pace. In 1977, the Cougar became the sole mid-size Mercury, replacing the Montego; previously a personal luxury coupe, the Cougar was available in sedan and station wagon bodystyles. The small Bobcat did not lure economy minded buyers, instead bringing only bad press from its close ties to the ill-fated Ford Pinto.
Although the Bobcat trickled out of showrooms, Mercury introduced the Monarch as a replacement for the aging Comet compact. Although still mechanically based on the original 1960 Ford Falcon, the Monarch was intended as a compact near-luxury car; high-trim versions were popular choices as personal cars among Ford executives. In 1978, the Monarch's replacement, the Zephyr was introduced on the Fox platform. An all-new rear-wheel drive platform, it would be used by all late 1970s-early 1980s Mercurys except the Bobcat, Lynx/LN7/Topaz, and the Grand Marquis/Colony Park.
In 1971, Mercury introduced the Capri as a captive import from Ford of Europe; as the Cougar grew from a pony car into a personal luxury car, the Capri became its replacement. Assembled in West Germany by Ford of Europe, the Capri was powered by 4-cylinder and V6 engines. The decision proved popular, at times becoming the most popular imported car in the United States (after the VW Beetle). As such, Mercury did not sell its own version of the Ford Mustang II. The Capri was imported until 1977 with a few sold as 1978 models.
Although it was not badged a Mercury, Lincoln-Mercury dealers were the sole source of the De Tomaso Pantera from 1971 to 1975. It was an Italian-built exotic sports car with a Ford 351-cubic inch V8. Approximately 5500 were sold by Lincoln-Mercury.
1980s: Downsizing and starting over
The late 1970s era of automobile downsizing would achieve mixed results for Mercury. After trailing its counterparts at General Motors by two years, the division downsized its own full-size line for 1979. Shorter and lighter than the "intermediate" Cougar lineup, the Marquis, Colony Park, and Grand Marquis all survived downsizing without sacrificing rear-wheel drive or their V8 powertrains; more significantly, their market share was largely unaffected. The coupe, sedan and station wagon models were virtual copies of the Ford LTD Crown Victoria.
At the other end of the size scale, other changes took place as well. For 1979, the German-imported Capri II was replaced with an all-new Capri, based on the newly redesigned Ford Mustang. Larger than than before, it changed marked segments, from compact sports coupe to pony car; the Mustang-based Capri was produced from 1979 to 1986. For 1981, the division quietly laid the Bobcat to rest, replacing it with the Lynx. A clone of the Ford Escort, the Lynx would introduce the division to front-wheel drive and (optional) diesel engines. The LN7 variant of the Lynx would be the only 2-seat Mercury ever built; it was sold from 1982 to 1983.
For the midsize Mercury lineup, however, downsizing would prove disastrous. For 1980, the Cougar was downsized onto the Ford Fox platform. Intended to replace the dated Monarch, the coupe shared its bodywork with the Ford Thunderbird. However, the sedan and station wagon models differed little from the entry-level Zephyrs they began to replace. Controversial styling coupled with a struggling economy saw Cougar sales fall to barely one-third of 1979 levels.
During the mid-1980s, the division found more success as major changes began to take place. From 1983 to 1988, nearly the entire lineup would be redesigned or replaced; only the Grand Marquis/Colony Park remained unchanged. In 1983, as part of a major model shift, the Cougar sedan and wagon were updated, rechristened as the Marquis. Now solely a two-door coupe sharing body and chassis with the Thunderbird, the Cougar was given a streamlined aerodynamic body, a theme soon to become commonplace throughout Ford Motor Company. In 1984, front-wheel drive made its appearance in compact-size Mercurys as the Topaz replaced the Zephyr; alongside its Ford Tempo clone, the Topaz was the first Mercury to offer a driver's-side airbag.
In late 1985, Mercury introduced the Sable alongside the Ford Taurus for 1986. Replacing the Marquis as the division's mid-size sedan and wagon, the design of the Sable sedan led it to be one of the most aerodynamic cars in the world at the time. Originally intended to be replaced by the Sable, stability in gas prices and demand for full-size car sales led to the continuation of the Grand Marquis and Colony Park.
For 1988, the Lynx was replaced by the Tracer, a version of the Ford Laser designed by Mazda, assembled in Mexico and Japan. Available as 3 and 5-door hatchbacks and a 5-door station wagon, the Tracer was the first Mercury since the 1978 Capri II with no US-market Ford equivalent.
During the 1980s, the image of the division began to blur. Although the post-1982 Cougar was easily differentiated from its Thunderbird clone, it was not the case for many other Mercury models. For the Capri, Lynx/LN7, Topaz, Marquis, and Grand Marquis/Colony Park, there was little difference besides grilles and badging. With the introduction of the Sable, Mercury began to introduce a styling theme that spread across many of its models for the next decade. The signature feature would be the (non-functional) lightbar grille; on all models, serif or script lettering would be replaced by chrome block lettering not seen on Fords.
Both Ford LTD Crown Victoria and Mercury Grand Marquis coupes built from 1979 through 1987 have become minor collectibles among enthusiasts.
Beginning in 1985, Ford experimented with importing two European Fords under the Merkur (the German word for Mercury, pronounced mare-coor) nameplate. The Merkur lineup consisted of two cars: the XR4Ti (a federalized version of the Ford Sierra) and the Scorpio (a rebadged version of Ford's European flagship sedan). Merkurs were sold in participating Lincoln-Mercury dealerships throughout the United States and Canada.
After 1989, the brand was discontinued due to a combination of low sales and impending passive restraint regulations. Another key factor behind the demise of Merkur was an unfavorable exchange rate between the United States and West Germany; at US$27,000 (nearly $47,000 in 2010 dollars), the Scorpio had a higher base price than a Grand Marquis yet bore a strong resemblance to the Sable.
The 1990s: Post-Merkur
The discontinuation of Merkur began another major transition of the Mercury lineup. In 1989, the Cougar switched to an all-new platform; although still a personal-luxury coupe based on the Thunderbird, interior room and handling were improved. The Capri, a name dormant since 1986, was revived in 1991 as an import from Ford of Australia. Envisioned as a Mazda MX-5 Miata competitor, the front-wheel drive Capri did not capture the same type of following as the rear-wheel drive Mazda, lasting onlythrough 1994.
In 1992, the Grand Marquis was redesigned for the first time since 1979; using the same platform as before, it shared no sheetmetal with the 1991 model and both V8 engines were replaced with a single all-new design. Although significantly more aerodynamic than before, Mercury left the basic shape of the Grand Marquis intact including its radiator grille. The radical redesign of the 1991 B-body full-size cars by General Motors was left with a lukewarm reception at best; Chrysler had not fielded a direct competitor since 1981. The conservative styling of the Grand Marquis helped win sales to private owners who balked at its sibling Ford Crown Victoria sedan's more radical six-window styling.
Mercury sales rebounded in 1993 to over 480,000, their highest level since the 1978 all-time high. In the mid-1990s the brand received some free advertising when country music star Alan Jackson scored a hit with a 1993 cover of K. C. Douglas' "Mercury Blues", a song which heaped praise on their vehicles. Ford later used a different version of the song in its truck advertising.
In terms of Mercury's smaller cars, the Tracer name was retained, but in 1991, Ford (and Mazda) compact cars were designed onto a common platform and the Tracer became a twin of the Ford Escort. In 1995, the Mystique was introduced as Mercury's Topaz replacement; a version of the Ford Mondeo mid-size "world car", it was commonly viewed as compact for an American car. The Sable was controversially redesigned alongside the Taurus for 1996; although they still shared much of their sheetmetal, the Sable now could be better distinguished from the Taurus. As the 1990s progressed into the 2000s, Mercury's compact car line shrank during a series of redesigns. As the Ford Focus replaced the Escort, the Tracer was not replaced and the Sable became the smallest Mercury sedan after the 2000 discontinuation of the Mystique.
Entering new market segments
A casualty of the 1992 redesign of the Grand Marquis included the Colony Park station wagon; by the early 1990s, full-size station wagons had largely been replaced by minivans. Although Ford had introduced the Aerostar in 1986, it had already undergone a midcycle refresh and was considered too trucklike to be a good fit with Mercury dealers. The 1993 Villager (a name used from Mercury's 1960s and 1970s station wagon lines) was developed in a joint venture with Nissan; it was assembled in the United States by Ford with a Nissan Quest front-wheel drive powertrain. Although more successful than other Japanese-designed minivans, the Villager struggled to compete with the far larger Ford Windstar. Like its Aerostar and Windstar counterparts, the Villager was initially designed without a driver's side sliding door. When one was added in 1999, the minivan segment (as a whole) had begun to decline in sales.
In the mid-1990s, mid-size sport-utility vehicles began increasing in popularity for use as family vehicles. Although Mercury was not the first brand to introduce a luxury SUV (following the Range Rover and the Oldsmobile Bravada), the 1997 Mercury Mountaineer was among one of the first to popularize them. Based on the Ford Explorer, the Mountaineer had a standard V8 (at first) and all-wheel drive instead of four-wheel drive. Mercury did not receive an equivalent of the Ford Expedition/Lincoln Navigator or the Ford Excursion. The Mountaineer is also notable for introducing the silver "waterfall grille", which became a common styling theme on virtually all succeeding Mercurys.
1999-2011: Revival and decline
By the end of the 1990s, the Grand Marquis had remained a sales success, becoming the top-selling Mercury product line. Although highly profitable, it posed a problem for Mercury dealers, as the mid-60s average age of a Grand Marquis buyer was far higher than what Lincoln-Mercury buyers were trying to attract into showrooms. Over the next decade, a number of product changes were made in efforts to attract younger buyers towards the Mercury brand, but nonetheless, Mercury still struggled to appeal its brand identity to younger buyers. Although the division's full-size and mid-size sedans performed well in the marketplace, Mercury phased out smaller cars completely in favor of minivans and SUVs. The Tracer was discontinued in 1999 (three years before the Escort) and the Mystique was dropped in mid-2000.
For 1999, the Cougar was re-introduced after a year's hiatus. In a major shift from its personal-luxury predecessor, the 1999 Cougar was a front-wheel drive sports coupe based on the Mystique; it was largely intended as the successor to the Ford Probe. For the first time since the 1991 Capri, Mercury was given a product line with direct Ford equivalent (in North America). After finding only moderate success with buyers, the Cougar ended production in 2002. 2003 would lead to the revival of the Marauder nameplate. Not unlike its 1969-1970 predecessor, the 2003 Marauder was a higher-performance variant of the Grand Marquis that was also similar in many ways to the 1994-1996 Chevrolet Impala SS. Due to lack of marketing, the Marauder was discontinued after 2004.
In 2004, the Monterey would replace the Villager. A clone of the Ford Freestar, the Monterey gave Mercury its first direct competition against the Chrysler Town and Country and other luxury minivans. As the minivan segment was in decline, neither Ford nor Mercury was able to gain any ground; Ford ended minivan production in 2007.
During the mid-2000s, after relative stagnation, the Mercury range was targeted for major updates to attract new (primarily, younger) buyers. Coinciding with Ford's planned replacement of the Taurus, the Sable was discontinued in 2005. Coinciding with the new Ford "F" model scheme, Mercury began the exclusive use of "M" model names with new products. Reaction to the Mercury naming scheme is less extreme, as it used several previously-used nameplates. In 2005, the division re-introduced the Montego as one of the two models to replace the Sable. A clone of the Ford Five Hundred, the Montego also was the first new full-size Mercury since 1992; the Grand Marquis remained in production. The Mariner was introduced as the clone of the Ford Escape and Mazda Tribute. For 2006, the mid-size replacement for the Sable was introduced; the Milan was a clone of the Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ/Zephyr. Alongside its Ford counterpart, the Mercury Mariner became the first production gasoline-electric hybrid SUV in 2006.
In 2008, after sales had fallen to one-third of 2000 levels, the division began to make major changes to its full-size cars. In contrast to the Dodge Charger selling nearly as well as its Chrysler 300 counterpart, the Montego sold only a fraction in comparison to its Ford Five Hundred counterpart and was also outsold by the Grand Marquis as well. In a move along with Ford, the Five Hundred and Montego were given an update and re-branded as Taurus and Sable to capitalize on the familiarity of the latter two nameplates; although nearly unchanged since 2003, the Grand Marquis remained in production as well. The Monterey was discontinued, as Mercury focused on the Mariner and the Mountaineer. Also in 2008, Ford started an ad campaign that focused exclusively on attracting female drivers to the brand in hopes of making it more profitable. Yet ironically, this only narrowed Mercury's brand image and buyer appeal even deeper, and sales continued to fall.
On June 2, 2010, Ford announced the closure of the Mercury line by the end of the year. In terms of sales, Mercury represented only 1 percent of North America's automobile market compared to the 16 percent share of Ford. Ford Motor Company has stated that additional Lincoln models will be introduced to help replace any shortfall from the discontinued Mercury brand. At the time of the announcement of Mercury's closure, Mercury was selling fewer than 95,000 units a year, which is less than both Plymouth and Oldsmobile right before they were phased out. The Mercury Mountaineer was discontinued in the 2010 model year, with the remaining Mercurys following suit after an abbreviated 2011 model year. Mercury's U.S. sales in 2010, its final full year, were 93,195. After the Mercury brand was discontinued in 2011, Ford stripped all Mercury branding from its Lincoln-Mercury dealers.
Traditionally, Mercury was given a counterpart to most Ford platforms. During the 2000s, Ford increased its content to its cars; as a consequence, Mercurys became less distinctive from their Ford equivalents. The exception was the Grand Marquis, which had all but replaced the civilian Crown Victoria; the latter was discontinued from retail sale after 2007. Additionally, during the 2000s, Ford had begun to offer a wider product lineup for its namesake division. Mercury would not have versions of the Focus, the Edge, Ford Freestyle/Taurus X, or Flex. Ford had proposed a version of the Ford Focus Mk3 as a revival of the Tracer name. With the ending of the Mercury brand, these plans were scrapped.
|Total Mercury Division Sales||359,143||311,787||263,200||202,257||193,534||195,949||180,848||168,422||120,248||92,299||93,195||Total Sales (2000–2010)
Mercury in Canada
During the middle of the 20th century, Ford Motor Company's smaller dealership network in Canada necessitated some branding changes to attract buyers into showrooms. This was especially the case in smaller, rural communities, as many were located close by either a Ford or a Lincoln-Mercury dealer, but rarely both of them.
From 1946 to 1957, Ford of Canada marketed the Monarch brand in their own showrooms to attract mid-price customers. The Monarch line used much of the body and trim of the Mercury line in a three-car lineup (Richelieu, Lucerne and Sceptre). The Monarch brand was dropped for 1958 and replaced by the Edsel; poor Canadian sales of the Edsel led to the revival of Monarch for 1959. The introduction of the Ford Galaxie led to brand overlap, leading for Monarch to be discontinued for good in 1961.
In 1975, the Monarch nameplate would return as part of the Mercury lineup (in both the United States and Canada) as the clone of the Ford Granada.
In 1949, Mercury of Canada introduced the Meteor brand in an effort to expand into lower-price markets (most closely against Pontiac). As the Mercury of the time was largely a Lincoln body with a Ford powertrain, the Meteor offered a lower price by combining the Ford Custom body with Mercury grille and trim. During the 1950s, this arrangement continued, expanding into a multiple-model line (Niagara, Rideau, and Montcalm). For 1962 and 1963, the brand was dropped, as Mercury adopted the name for its new intermediate-size line. For 1964, the brand was revived, taking the place of the Mercury Monterey in Canada. Again a line of Mercury-trimmed Fords, Meteor was gradually phased into the Mercury lineup starting in 1968. After 1976, the Rideau and Montcalm were discontinued; replaced by a Meteor trim level at the base of the Canadian Mercury Marquis line. Marquis Meteors were dropped after the 1981 model year.
In an effort to increase the availability of its truck lineup, Ford offered rebadged trucks in its Mercury dealerships starting in 1946. While initially applied to the Ford F-Series light trucks (becoming the M-Series), Mercury offered many counterparts of the Ford truck line. Other products included medium-duty conventional trucks, MB-Series school bus chassis, and its own versions of the Econoline van/pickup and the C-Series COE truck.
Early versions of the M-Series often came with a higher output (CM-1 designated) Mercury/Ford Flathead V8 engine over and above the unique Mercury-specific grille, badging and trim that adorned every Mercury M-Series truck.
After 1968, Ford discontinued production of Mercury trucks; the Mercury version of the C-Series cabover ended production in 1972. With the discontinuation of the M-Series and Mercury Econoline, Mercury would not again sell a light truck until the 1993 Villager minivan.
The lack of a distinct personality showed through in the cars, although there were some unique twists to 1980s Mercurys. Some examples include the roofline of the 1983 Cougar (influenced somewhat by the AMC Gremlin), the 1986 Sable (which had a lightbar in place of a conventional grille), and the 1988 Tracer (a clone of a Mazda-designed Australian Ford built in Mexico and Japan). By 1990, the lone remnants of Mercury's 1970s identity were the Grand Marquis luxury sedan and Colony Park station wagon; both had received only superficial updates since their 1979 downsizing.
The first logo of the Mercury brand was its namesake, the Roman god Mercury. The side profile of his head, complete with the signature bowl hat with wings was used during the early years, seen in the picture to the right.
In the 1950s, the logo became a simple "M" with horizontal bars extending outward from the bottom of its vertical elements in each direction. This was described in advertising as "The Big M" – probably most notably as the prime sponsor of The Ed Sullivan Show.
During the late 1960s and up to the mid-1980s, the Mercury used the "Sign of the Cat" ad campaign based on its popular Cougar model. Many of the cars during this time carried cat related names such as the Lynx and Bobcat. On some of the upper-tier models, such as the Marquis and Grand Marquis, Mercury used a shield or cross, sometimes surrounded by a wreath, which was shared by some de luxe Ford models as well. Some models used the Lincoln brand's logo.
During the mid-1980s, the logo changed from the Cougar to its final logo, seen in the logo at the top of the page. This logo was introduced on the all new 1984 Mercury Topaz. Since 1999, the word "Mercury" appeared on the top part of the logo.
- "'It's time:' Ford to close Mercury by year's end". USATODAY.com. 2010-01-06. Retrieved 2010-06-02.
- Maynard, Micheline (2010-06-02). "Ford Appears Ready to End Its Mercury Brand". New York Times com. Retrieved 2010-06-02.
- "Last Mercury rolls off the line as Mercury rolls into history". AutoWeek.com. 2011-01-04. Retrieved 2011-01-04.
- Special-Interest Autos: 19. July–August 1974.
- Daniel Vaughan. "1941 Mercury Model 19A news, pictures, and information". Conceptcarz. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
- Durbin, Dee-Ann; Krisher, Tom (2010-06-02). "Mercury falling: Ford eliminates mid-range brand". Associated Press. Retrieved 2010-06-03.[dead link]
- "The Inflation Calculator". Westegg.com. Retrieved 2012-05-30.
- Allmusic biography
- Raja, Siddharth (2007-09-03). "Mercury ever closer to getting the axe". Autoblog.com. Retrieved 2009-12-04.
- "Ford's F-Series Truck Caps 22nd Year in a Row as America's Best-Selling Vehicle With a December Sales Record". Theautochannel.com. 2004-11-17. Retrieved 2009-04-28.
- "Ford achieves first car sales increase since 1999". Theautochannel.com. 2006-01-04. Retrieved 2009-04-28.
- "Ford Motor Company 2007 sales". January 3, 2008.
- "F-Series drives ford to higher market share for third consecutive month" (PDF). Ford Motor Company. January 5, 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-14.
- "1956 Mercury Montclair Sport Hardtop Coupe photo – Ken Leonard photos at". Pbase.com. Retrieved 2009-12-04.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mercury vehicles.|
- Mercury Vehicles (Mercury | New Doors Opened)
- A short history of the marque[dead link]
- Winged Messenger: Dedicated to the promotion and preservation of all Mercury vehicles
- Canadian Mercury trucks catalogs and ads
|Mercury passenger vehicle timeline, 1940–1979 — next »|
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