Ford to Announce Discontinuation of Mercury Brand; Edmunds.com Expects Ford to Keep Most Customers
SANTA MONICA, Calif. — May 27, 2010 — Bloomberg has reported that Ford will soon announce the discontinuation of the Mercury brand. When Mercury shuts down, Ford is likely to keep most of its customers, according to Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive information.
Edmunds.com's cross-shopping analysis indicates that 46 percent of Mercury shoppers currently consider Ford vehicles, and that Chevrolet and Honda are also popular alternatives.
"Shutting down Mercury eliminates a distraction. Mercury is a brand that has lost its meaning in the American automotive marketplace and it isn't worth trying to change that," stated Edmunds.com CEO Jeremy Anwyl.
Mercury currently represents 5.6 percent of total Ford Motor Company sales. In April, the brand's True Cost of IncentivesSM was approximately $3,326 per vehicle sold, compared with $3,172 for the Ford brand.
"For years Ford executives have been asked why they keep Mercury, but they had been adamant about keeping the brand for reasons that are unclear and now, apparently, dismissible," stated Edmunds.com Senior Analyst Michelle Krebs in her report for AutoObserver.com. "Clearly, it is more cost-effective to focus precious marketing dollars on fewer brands. Seemingly in preparation for this announcement, Ford had significantly cut back on Mercury marketing money of late."
"Like Plymouth and Oldsmobile, Mercury is a victim of both increased competition from outside its corporate parent and a lack of differentiation from within. Mercury products have been nothing more than modestly restyled Fords for decades, and that's not how you build or maintain a brand," commented Edmunds.com Senior Analyst Karl Brauer.
"Mercury was launched in the 1930s, when Henry Ford's son Edsel saw an opportunity to create an additional brand within the Ford hierarchy between the everyman Ford Deluxes and premium Lincoln Zephyrs," recalled Edmunds' InsideLine.com Editor Scott Oldham. "In the '50s, Mercury vehicles were renowned for style, performance and cutting-edge technology. A dash of glamour was added to the automaker's image when James Dean appeared onscreen in a Mercury car in the film Rebel Without A Cause."
A detailed history of Mercury can be found at http://www.edmunds.com/mercury/history.html.
About Edmunds.com, Inc. (http://www.edmunds.com/about/)
Edmunds.com Inc. publishes four Web sites that empower, engage and educate automotive consumers, enthusiasts and insiders. Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive information, launched in 1995 as the first automotive information Web site. Its mobile site, accessible from any smartphone at www.edmunds.com, makes car pricing and other research tools available for car shoppers at dealerships and otherwise on the go. InsideLine.com is the most-read automotive enthusiast Web site. Its mobile site, accessible from any smartphone at www.insideline.com, features the wireless Web's highest quality car photos and videos. CarSpace is the most established automotive social networking Web site. AutoObserver.com provides insightful automotive industry commentary and analysis. Edmunds.com Inc. is headquartered in Santa Monica, California, and maintains a satellite office in suburban Detroit. Follow Edmunds.com on Twitter@edmunds and fan Edmunds.com on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/edmunds.