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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Ford: Mercury Brand Is Dead

Motor Co (F.N) hopes to wrap talks by year end with the dealers for the Mercury brand it is shutting to focus on its mass-market Ford and luxury Lincoln brands, Chief Executive Alan Mulally said on Tuesday.
Mulally declined to discuss the expected cost for phasing out the Mercury brand, part of a restructuring that includes an expanded investment in the Lincoln brand lineup. Mercury production is expected to halt in the fourth quarter.
"We don't have a time frame per se, but we are hoping to help everybody through the rest of this year, that is the general time frame," Mulally said after an appearance at the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce annual meeting.
Company data showed that the broadly improved Ford brand vehicle lineup would meet the needs of Mercury customers, Mulally said of the decision announced last week to phase out the Mercury brand which was created by Edsel Ford in the 1930s.

Mercury has no standalone dealerships in the United States and some 1,436 of its 1,712 dealerships are paired in some way with the Ford blue oval brand that has been expanding. That leaves 276 Mercury-Lincoln dealerships that could become solely Lincoln dealers when the phase-out is completed.

Ford's 2010 and 2011 earnings outlooks are intact and its overall dealer consolidation program is "pretty much on track," Mulally said.

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