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Ford To Expand Lincoln Lineup And Brand Emphasis; Mercury Production Ends In Fourth Quarter Of 2010

  • Ford is expanding its Lincoln lineup with seven all-new or significantly refreshed vehicles in the next four years – including its first-ever C-segment vehicle
  • Lincoln’s plan accelerates with more investment and attention on standout product design, class-leading technology and powertrains delivering top performance and fuel efficiency
  • Lincoln product development, marketing, sales and service resources expanding as the brand competes with Cadillac and Lexus in the marketplace
  • Ford will end production of Mercury vehicles in the fourth quarter of this year to fully devote its financial, product development, production and marketing, sales and service resources toward further growing its core Ford brand while enhancing Lincoln
  • Existing Mercury owners to receive continued access to parts and service support at Ford and Lincoln dealers; current Mercury vehicle warranties and Extended Service Plans will be honored; special offers available on new Mercury vehicles through the summer
  • Affected dealers to receive specialized support during the transition, as the company continues its transformation to a more profitable dealer network

DEARBORN, Mich., June 2, 2010 – Ford Motor Company will expand and enhance its Lincoln brand lineup with seven all-new or significantly refreshed vehicles in the next four years as part of an aggressive growth plan focused on standout product design, class-leading technology and new powertrains – all aimed at competing with Cadillac and Lexus in North America.

Ford also will end production of Mercury vehicles in the fourth quarter of this year to fully devote its financial, product development, production and marketing, sales and service resources toward further growing its core Ford brand while enhancing the Lincoln brand.

“We have made tremendous progress on profitably growing the Ford brand during the past few years. Now, it is time to do the same for Lincoln,” said Mark Fields, Ford’s president of The Americas. “The new Lincoln vehicles will transform luxury for North American premium customers through an unexpected blend of responsive driving enjoyment and warm, inviting comfort. We will also offer our customers a world-class retail experience through a vibrant retail network.”

Lincoln’s hallmarks will be refined, modern design, the most fuel-efficient premium powertrains and industry-leading technology that create a unique driver experience both in the cabin and on the road.

“Profitably growing Lincoln in North America is an important part of our One Ford plan,” said Alan Mulally, Ford president and CEO. “Our Ford brand is gaining momentum and winning customers around the world. Now, we are going to use the same laser focus to further strengthen Lincoln and deliver even more products luxury customers really want and value.”

Foundation Set

The future of Lincoln is building from a strong base that includes the all-new flagship MKS large sedan, the all-new MKT seven-passenger crossover and a significantly refreshed MKZ mid-size sedan – all now in showrooms. The hybrid version of the MKZ will reach showrooms later this year and is expected to be the most fuel efficient premium sedan on the market.

Lincoln’s product actions continue later this year with the debut of the significantly refreshed 2011 MKX crossover, the first vehicle to feature MyLincoln Touch driver connect technology.

This will be followed by another six all-new or significantly refreshed vehicles within four years developed with Lincoln’s DNA of standout design, precise and confident driving experience, class-leading technology and powertrains delivering top performance and fuel efficiency.

Lincoln will be led by expanded product development and marketing, sales and service teams to support the brand’s growth plan and ensure it has a strong cadence of distinct products that are well positioned in the market. Plans for Lincoln include:

  • Lincoln’s first-ever C-segment vehicle
  • New Lincoln-exclusive powertrains, including an all-new V-6 engine and advanced fuel-efficient transmissions
  • EcoBoost engines available in all Lincolns – from the Navigator full-size SUV to the new C-segment Lincoln
  • Fuel economy leadership with each new vehicle – leading to Lincoln emerging as the most fuel-efficient luxury lineup on the market
  • More useful technology and features than any other competitor – with a special focus on comfort and convenience. New advanced features include: fully retractable glass roofs; adaptive computer-controlled suspensions; electronic, push-button gear-selectors; active noise control; and exclusive MyLincoln Touch driver connect technology

“Lincoln vehicles will reward drivers with smooth, effortless power complemented by agile handling and responsive steering,” said Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s group vice president, Global Product Development. “The cabin is a sanctuary with segment-leading quietness, genuine materials and intuitive, useful technology.”

Lincoln has started gaining traction with customers, as evidenced by market share gains during the past five years. Lincoln’s share of the retail U.S. luxury vehicle market has grown from 4.5 percent in 2005 to 6.3 percent through the first quarter of 2010.

In addition, Lincoln’s reputation with consumers has risen, with favorable opinion and purchase consideration reaching its highest level in the past five years. Lincoln’s long-term durability was second only to Porsche’s in the 2010 J.D. Power and Associates Vehicle Dependability Survey.

Mercury

Mercury originally was created as a premium offering to Ford and was an important source of incremental sales. However, the continued strength of the Ford brand – particularly during the past three years – has accelerated the migration from Mercury to Ford for many customers.

Today, Mercury’s customer profile, pricing and margins are almost identical to Ford, but Mercury’s incremental sales have been declining.

The majority of current Mercury sales are to fleet buyers and customers purchasing through employee, retiree and friends and family discounts, which Ford anticipates largely can be satisfied by Ford brand vehicles.

Of Ford Motor Company’s 16 percent market share in the U.S., Mercury accounts for 0.8 percentage points, a level that has been flat or declining for the past several years. That contrasts with the Ford brand, which has increased market share by 2.2 percentage points so far this year on the strength of new products and improved quality, fuel efficiency, safety, smart design and value.

Ford’s strengthening financial position – including the return to profitability and positive cash flow – allows the company to absorb short-term costs associated with the discontinuation of Mercury and to consolidate future product investments into Lincoln.

Today, there are no stand-alone Mercury dealerships in North America. Ford is working closely with dealers to maintain properly located stand-alone Lincoln or Ford-Lincoln dealers, which will offer dealers and the company the greatest opportunity for long-term profitable growth.

New operational standards developed with the company’s dealers will facilitate a Lincoln customer experience that exceeds the expectations of North American luxury customers.

Personal Attention

Ford will work closely with Mercury dealers and customers during the transition, including providing existing Mercury owners with continued access to parts and service support at Ford and Lincoln dealers and by honoring current warranties, including Ford’s Extended Service Plans.

“We are 100 percent committed to supporting Mercury owners through Ford and Lincoln dealerships and working hard to keep them as valued customers in the future,” Fields said. “At the same time, we will work closely with our dealers to phase out Mercury franchises and continue to build a healthy, growing Lincoln with strong new products and a profitable dealer network that delivers a world-class customer experience.”

Mercury owners will receive additional details in the coming days explaining the transition and assuring them that Ford and its dealers will continue to provide all necessary parts and service support for Mercury products.

Ford has notified Mercury dealers of the decision and provided details of a financial package that includes payment in exchange for resigning the franchise.

Ford today also informed dealers of special offers on new Mercury vehicles that will be available through the summer to support the sell down of current Mercury inventory and remaining Mercury vehicle production.

“We are taking decisive action and moving into the future with the right plan to deliver profitable growth for all stakeholders,” Fields said. “These moves position us to continue building momentum through strong brands, great products and an unwavering focus on the customer.”

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Too bad.

The last of the brands that were aimed at the sweet spot I prefer is now dead. First Plymouth, then Pontiac, and now Mercury.

All three were starved to death by their parent companies.

We now have a near-complete dichotomy with luxury on one side, and basic transportation on the other.

I care for neither.

I guess this shift represents our populace these days, divided into two camps with no tolerance for middle ground.

  • Upvote 4

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Too bad.

The last of the brands that were aimed at the sweet spot I prefer is now dead. First Plymouth, then Pontiac, and now Mercury.

All three were starved to death by their parent companies.

We now have a near-complete dichotomy with luxury on one side, and basic transportation on the other.

The reality is that the 'mainstream' brands now cover a wide swath...I definitely wouldn't label vehicles such as a Mustang GT, Taurus Limited or SHO or Flex as 'basic transportation'. The Taurus Limited is what a Sable would have been in the past, for example. The middle ground has moved down into the mainstream brands (and somewhat up into the premium brands)...GM covers the mainstream with 2 brands now (Chevy and Buick), Ford will w/ one, Chrysler w/ one-- Dodge covers the lower end where Plymouth used to be plus the middle ground.

Basically, the Detroit 3 are moving towards the 2 track model (mainstream and premium) that has been successful for the Japanese Big 3.

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar

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Chicagoland, that market share decline was engineered by FoMoCo by starving the brand... it was largely orchestrated by the parent company at the expense of loyal customers and dealers. A ruthless, cold and calculated puppetmaster move.

And furthermore, the current Lincoln lineup sucks ass. Milquetoast at best with all of their latest entries.

Edited by ocnblu

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Chicagoland, that market share decline was engineered by FoMoCo by starving the brand... it was largely orchestrated by the parent company at the expense of loyal customers and dealers. A ruthless, cold and calculated puppetmaster move.

And furthermore, the current Lincoln lineup sucks ass. Milquetoast at best with all of their latest entries.

True on all counts.

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The last of the brands that were aimed at the sweet spot I prefer is now dead. First Plymouth, then Pontiac, and now Mercury.

one-- Dodge covers the lower end where Plymouth used to be plus the middle ground.

Plymouth was NOT the middle ground. Dodge (and Desoto) was. In fact, in the beginning, Dodge was positioned higher than DeSoto, as well. Plymouth was always Chrysler's Chevrolet, high production, low cost, mainstream brand. It only stopped being mainstream when starved of product and when Plymouths and Dodges were identical in appearance, cost and features, roughly post 1984.

According to various sources (in retrospect), Daimler looked at its purchase of Chrysler and asked them "Why do these guys have 3 cheap, crappy, competing brands?!? (Dodge, Plymouth and Chrysler) " So, Daimler killed Plymouth because at the time, it had the fewest models and sales.

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Plymouth was NOT the middle ground. Dodge (and Desoto) was. In fact, in the beginning, Dodge was positioned higher than DeSoto, as well. Plymouth was always Chrysler's Chevrolet, high production, low cost, mainstream brand. It only stopped being mainstream when starved of product and when Plymouths and Dodges were identical in appearance, cost and features, roughly post 1984.

According to various sources (in retrospect), Daimler looked at its purchase of Chrysler and asked them "Why do these guys have 3 cheap, crappy, competing brands?!? (Dodge, Plymouth and Chrysler) " So, Daimler killed Plymouth because at the time, it had the fewest models and sales.

While what you say about Plymouth is true as far as pricing goes, the brand had a knack for hitting the recipe I like in a car that Dodge often missed - so I include it in my list. A 'Cuda was far more interesting than a Challenger for example.

Also, the starvation by the parent is the key factor in all three cases. Otherwise, I would have mentioned Oldsmobile.

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Chicagoland, that market share decline was engineered by FoMoCo by starving the brand... it was largely orchestrated by the parent company at the expense of loyal customers and dealers. A ruthless, cold and calculated puppetmaster move.

And furthermore, the current Lincoln lineup sucks ass. Milquetoast at best with all of their latest entries.

The current Lincoln lineup brings to mind a quote by the venerable Flybrian...

True on all counts.

See...even Camino has the good sense to agree with us!

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Camino ~ >>"A 'Cuda was far more interesting than a Challenger for example."<<

A matter of grille/taillight preference, no? ;)

Not disagreeing.... I saw much validity in Plymouth prior to the '80s. Plymouth hit it's peak in the late '50s when it defied Corporate directive and did what it thought best, and the (streamlines) Fury upended the vaunted 300 at Daytona. The Corp soon clipped Plymouth's wings, and by '60, the Corporate Engine Hammer fell.

There definitely was something there in numerous models over time. I was quite shocked when Plymouth's discontinuance was announced, tho part of me expected it when the PT went to Chrysler.

Edited by balthazar

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It is truly a sad day for automotive enthusiast who have grown up with the Mercury brand. Although I'm part of a very small demographic, I see the Grand Marquis as the best deal on the road today. A tough, old fashion V* RWD sedan that kept its buyers very happy for decades.

At the same time I feel the same way I feel about Oldsmobile and Pontiac. Mercury is a brand I love, but if the parent company does not have the money to do it right, and I don't think Ford does, then why continue to drag the brand through the mud behind the rest of the corporation? I don't think Ford intentionally tried to kill Mercury, just a few years ago when the Taurus/Fusion/Fiesta/etc were in development, Ford was in rough shape not unlike the GM of 2008/9. Ford made a strategic move to invest in their volume brand for the good of the corporation and to give the brands a fighting chance in years to come. This was made worse because like Plymouth/Dodge, Mercury no longer had any product that was unique. Out side of the Cougar of the late 1990's/early 00's Mercury has not had a unique product in 20 years and even that product (Capri) was crap.

When GM ran out of money for Pontiac they killed the brand with G5's and G3's that watered down the brands already damaged reputation for performance. Why would we want to see the same thing happen with Mercury over the next few years as FoMoCo struggled to find the cash to pay down their massive debt, redesign Ford and Lincoln vehicles, and compete in new markets? I don't see Ford as following the foreign competition into a two brand set-up, I see Ford as being smart and making a hard yet wise choice to continue investing in the two brands that have and will continue to turn the entire company around.

In short there is no way to slice this other than if Mercury can only get 0.8% of the new car market even with just a few models remaining yet Chrysler.....Chrysler the builders of the PT Crusier and Sebring can get more sales....hell even Audi outsold them and this is just one of many markets that Audi sells in and their cars sell at higher transaction prices.

Maybe its me, but I'm one Mercury fan that isn't sad to see this happen.

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Camino ~ >>"A 'Cuda was far more interesting than a Challenger for example."<<

A matter of grille/taillight preference, no? ;)

No actually, in fact the two cars didn't even share the same wheelbase.

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It is truly a sad day for automotive enthusiast who have grown up with the Mercury brand. Although I'm part of a very small demographic, I see the Grand Marquis as the best deal on the road today. A tough, old fashion V* RWD sedan that kept its buyers very happy for decades.

At the same time I feel the same way I feel about Oldsmobile and Pontiac. Mercury is a brand I love, but if the parent company does not have the money to do it right, and I don't think Ford does, then why continue to drag the brand through the mud behind the rest of the corporation? I don't think Ford intentionally tried to kill Mercury, just a few years ago when the Taurus/Fusion/Fiesta/etc were in development, Ford was in rough shape not unlike the GM of 2008/9. Ford made a strategic move to invest in their volume brand for the good of the corporation and to give the brands a fighting chance in years to come. This was made worse because like Plymouth/Dodge, Mercury no longer had any product that was unique. Out side of the Cougar of the late 1990's/early 00's Mercury has not had a unique product in 20 years and even that product (Capri) was crap.

When GM ran out of money for Pontiac they killed the brand with G5's and G3's that watered down the brands already damaged reputation for performance. Why would we want to see the same thing happen with Mercury over the next few years as FoMoCo struggled to find the cash to pay down their massive debt, redesign Ford and Lincoln vehicles, and compete in new markets? I don't see Ford as following the foreign competition into a two brand set-up, I see Ford as being smart and making a hard yet wise choice to continue investing in the two brands that have and will continue to turn the entire company around.

In short there is no way to slice this other than if Mercury can only get 0.8% of the new car market even with just a few models remaining yet Chrysler.....Chrysler the builders of the PT Crusier and Sebring can get more sales....hell even Audi outsold them and this is just one of many markets that Audi sells in and their cars sell at higher transaction prices.

Maybe its me, but I'm one Mercury fan that isn't sad to see this happen.

The neglect of the brand is decades-long, and like Plymouth, there was little left to even call a brand. So, this was, perhaps, inevitable. But the blame lies with the parent company in each case.

Pontiac's story is slightly different, like Olds there was still life in the brand if not money in the budget.

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I've been down most of the day. This was not the news I was wanting to hear, especially after I had high hopes for a rejuvinated Mercury with Euro products.

Here's what I don't understand: Why in the hell is Lincoln wasting time with a C-segment vehicle? If you combine A3, 1-series & C30 sales for May, the premium C-segment market only sold 1,700 units. Lincoln would be so much better served with a legit 3-series or CTS competitor.

In 2000, had you told me that Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Saturn, Hummer, and Mercury would be gone within 10 years, I would have called you crazy. What odd times we live in.

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^ But could you tell them apart in the dusk ? ;)

Aware of the (minor) wheelbase difference, but the cars were unquestionably twins all the same.

-- -- -- -- --

'stang84 ~ >>"In 2000, had you told me that Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Saturn, Hummer, and Mercury would be gone within 10 years, I would have called you crazy. What odd times we live in. "<<

Olds & Pontiac: agreed.

Edited by balthazar

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^ But could you tell them apart in the dusk ? ;)

Aware of the (minor) wheelbase difference, but the cars were unquestionably twins all the same.

I believe that I could...

Plymouth always had a bad-assedness that Dodge often failed to muster.

It was that attitude of going your own way that I admired in both Plymouth and Pontiac (and Mercury after a fashion) that I lament today rather than the Milan and Mountaineer etc.

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Keep in mind that the mainstream brands have grown much much larger these days.

Back in the 50's most brands would consist of a "large" and a "small" with multiple body styles of each... occasionally a sports car like the Corvette or Thunderbird would be thrown in as a halo. In the 60's, most brands added a "New Smaller" below the previous "small" with then became "medium". Wash, Rinse, Repeat for the '70s, '80s, and '90s.

For example, in 1955, you could buy an Oldsmobile from the 88 line or 98 line.... and that was it. By the early 60's Oldsmobile added the F85/Cutlass and Toronado lineups. In the 1970's brought two new compacts. The '80s saw the addition of multiple FWD mid-sizers. The '90s saw the addition of a mini-van and an SUV. By 1996, Oldsmobile was fielding more nameplates (10) than there were available body styles in 1956. (8) Mercury followed a remarkably similar path.

In order to keep the number of brands that we had in the past, we'd need to knock every brand down to just two cars with multiple body styles and have them all (with the exception of the high lux) sold under one roof. But it costs a lot of money to do that for advertising and making sure the brands each have their own DNA... at least visually.

But also, we'd have to stop caring about market share completely.... which just isn't going to happen in this world.

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While what you say about Plymouth is true as far as pricing goes, the brand had a knack for hitting the recipe I like in a car that Dodge often missed - so I include it in my list. A 'Cuda was far more interesting than a Challenger for example.

I wasn't trying to single out anybody, just point out that it wasn't a midrange brand, as you ware not the only one to group it in there... and this is not the only thread where Plymouth's position in the food chain has been incorrectly placed. The same thing goes for people who transpose Buick and Olds places in the GM hierarchy.

That said, I preferred many of Plymouth's designs... most notable, the Cuda over the Challenger and the Road Runner over the Charger. Same goes for Mercury... I usually preferred the Cougar or (2nd gen) Capri design over the Ford version... even on the crappy designs (Sable vs. Taurus, Topaz vs Tempo).

In 2000, had you told me that Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Saturn, Hummer, and Mercury would be gone within 10 years, I would have called you crazy. What odd times we live in.

I would have believed Mercury. To be honest, I'm surprised it outlived the rest, even if by months. Mercury's demise has been rumored since the early '90s.

And in 2010 when we say Buick, GMC, Opel, Chrysler and Dodge will be goners, we're just as crazy, I suppose. See ya in 2020. ;-)

Of course, depending on your feelings about Dec 21, 2012, even Chevy, Ford, Mercedes and Toyota might be gone by 2013... but we wouldn't be here to gloat. LOL.

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Just to pick nits, I didn't actually name Plymouth as a midrange brand.

I know where it was placed within Chryco, though it sometimes acted as though it was above Dodge. Things were a bit more clear cut within GM.

At any rate, these are generic times. Brands with individuality appear to be out of fashion.

I hate fashion.

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Plymouth was NOT the middle ground.

I didn't say Plymouth was. Dodge and Chrysler moved down to cover it after Plymouth was axed.

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar

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I wasn't trying to single out anybody, just point out that it wasn't a midrange brand, as you ware not the only one to group it in there... and this is not the only thread where Plymouth's position in the food chain has been incorrectly placed. The same thing goes for people who transpose Buick and Olds places in the GM hierarchy.

I never said Plymouth was the midrange brand. It was Plymouth then Dodge then Chrysler. Go back and read what I posted.

I believe that I could...

Plymouth always had a bad-assedness that Dodge often failed to muster.

Plymouth hadn't had any 'bad-assedness' since the early '70s. Dodge was equally 'bad ass' during the muscle car era.

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^ But could you tell them apart in the dusk ? ;)

Of course, the sheetmetal was completely different...the '70-74 Barracuda/Cuda and Challenger shared the E-platform, but were not badge engineered. Much more different from each other styling-wise than the same era Camaro and Firebird, were, for example.

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar

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