Friday, June 25, 2010

vacancy at the sign of the cat

The Ford Family of Fine cars got smaller this month, as Ford announced the end of the Mercury nameplate. The 71 year old brand will be phased out by the end of the calendar year due to declining sales volume. This move which has been rumored for some time comes as no surprise to industry observers who have been complaining of the lack of unique products for the Division since the 1990's.

The Mercury brand debuted in 1939 and was a "big brother" to Ford in the 1940's and early 50's but then blossomed in the sixties and seventies with unique models like the Cougar, Cyclone, Marauder, Park Lane and Marquis. They adopted the ad tagline "At the Sign of the Cat" and included live exotic animals in the ads, along with top models like Farrah Fawcett-Majors. And no child of the era could possibly forget the Colony Park station wagon, which competed with the Buick Estate for the title of America's most luxurious wagon.

In recent years, the brand suffered through models that seemed ill suited to public tastes, such as the space alien inspired 1986 Sable, complete with light bar, and the Grand Marquis aimed at elderly customers. Mercury was down to less than 1% passenger car market share in 2009.

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