Forbes columnist Jerry Flint wrote a great column June 17, 2008 on the future of Ford Motor Company’s Mercury brand, and whether the sorta-dashing Ford President Mark Fields really wants to keep the brand. We love to read Flint because he loves great American companies and believes that Americans can and should make great cars.
We don’t want to pilfer too much of his column, but he said it too well:
After all, what was Mercury? Most of the time it was a dressed up Ford, but that worked because there were hundreds of thousands of buyers every year that did not want a car that said “Ford” on the grille, but were willing to buy almost the same car, and perhaps pay a little extra, if the badge read “Mercury.”
Maybe I am just too sentimental. Maybe I should wake up and realize that there is no room for Mercury, anymore. Maybe it is a lost cause, but it is still hard to believe that they have to burn down the company to save it.
Car and Driver’s message boards also had some ideas, perhaps making Mercury the “badge” for imports.
We know the folks at Ford are discussing this, and trying to figure out what to do in a very uncertain time. But the reality is that Ford needs to sell EVERY car that it can, and the people who buy Mercury cars are NOT the same folks who buy Ford. If they were, they would buy Fords, eh? But they didn’t. They like Mercury.