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Ford Mercury




 Mercury was an automobile marque of the Ford Motor Company launched in 1938 by Edsel Ford, son of Henry Ford, to market entry-level luxury cars slotted between Ford-branded regular models and Lincoln-branded luxury vehicles, similar to General Motors' Buick (and former Oldsmobile) brand, and Chrysler's namesake brand. From 1945 to 2011, it was the Mercury half of the Lincoln - Mercury division of Ford (the Edsel brand was included in that division for the 1958-1960 model years). Using badge engineering, the majority of Mercury models were based on Ford platforms.

 The name "Mercury" is derived from the messenger of the gods of Roman mythology, and during its early years, the Mercury brand was known for performance, which was briefly revived in 2003 with the Mercury Marauder. The brand was sold in the United States, Mexico, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Middle East. In 1999, the Mercury brand was dropped in Canada, although the Grand Marquis was still marketed there wearing a Mercury badge through 2007.

 The Mercury brand was phased out in 2011, as Ford Motor Company refocused its marketing and engineering efforts on the Ford and Lincoln brands. Production of Mercury vehicles ceased in the fourth quarter of 2010 - the splits of Mercury from 4. The final Mercury automobile, a Grand Marquis, rolled off the assembly line on January 4, 2011. 



  In 1935, Edsel Ford designed a new, more luxurious version of his company's mainline car, intended to bridge the enormous price gap between the highest trimmed Ford and the base Lincoln. There was debate within the company if this new intermediate car should be a new Ford model or spun-off into a new marque. Over 100 different model and marque names were considered before Mercury was finally selected.

 The 1939 Mercury 8 began production in 1938, with a 239 cu. in. 95 horsepower (71 kW; 96 PS) flathead V8 engine. Over 65,800 were sold the first year, at a price of $916 (approximately $14,000 in 2010 dollars). It was an all new car, sharing no body panels with either Ford or Lincoln. Its body was six inches wider than Ford and rode on a 116 inch wheelbase, four inches longer than Ford.

 From the very beginning, Mercury was a division that seemed to have a brand identity that was constantly in the process of finding its place in the North American automotive market. Sometimes, Mercury was presented as a performance division of more mainstay Ford products, while at other times, it was meant to match sales with Detroit crosstown rivals Buick, Oldsmobile and Chrysler during the 1950s through 1980s. Many times, Mercury models shared platforms with Ford products, such as the Mercury Cougar (shared with the Ford Mustang, Thunderbird, and Elite), the Mercury Bobcat (shared with the Ford Pinto), or the Mercury Comet (shared with the Ford Falcon, Fairlane, and Maverick).




  Mercury was its own division at Ford until 1945 when it was combined with Lincoln into the Lincoln-Mercury Division, with Ford hoping the brand would be known as a "junior Lincoln," rather than an upmarket Ford. In 1949, Mercury introduced the first of its "new look" integrated bodies, at the same time that Ford and Lincoln also changed styling radically. Again in 1952, Mercury offered a further modernization in its look.

 In 1958, the Lincoln-Mercury Division and the ill-fated Edsel brand were joined into the Mercury-Edsel-Lincoln Division. Due to the introduction of Edsel, the market did not know how to regard Mercury as either an upscale Ford or a entry level Lincoln. It appeared that Ford was using the business model from General Motors, offering brands that were priced at specific levels, with Chevrolet at the bottom of the range, and Cadillac at the top. Buyers were not sure if Edsel or Mercury were alternatives to Pontiac, Oldsmobile or Buick in terms of equipment offered and marketing department definitions of what the cars were meant to offer.


Like Edsel, Mercury was a brand created from scratch as opposed to the 1922 acquisition of Lincoln. Mercury's heyday was in the 1950s, when its formula of stretching and lowering existing Ford platforms proved very successful. The identity of the marque has changed several times throughout its history. During the 1940s and 1950s, the make continued to be moved between a "gussied up" Ford to a "junior Lincoln" and even to having its own body designs. From the late 1950s until the early 1970s, Mercury began to distance itself from Ford and offered several different looking models such as the Turnpike Cruiser, Park Lane, and Marquis. At this time, Mercury's biggest competition was Buick, Oldsmobile, Chrysler's mid-priced products, and higher-end models from American Motors. In the 1970s, the brand was joined at the hip with Ford again and its image suffered as a result.




During the Ford Division's early 1960s "Total Performance" era, Mercury produced some equivalent models, such as the full-size S-55 and the Marauder, which shared the same body styles and mechanics as the Ford Galaxie 500/XL sports models. These big Mercurys were somewhat successful in racing. In 1967, the Cougar was introduced as Mercury's version of the Ford Mustang; although mechanically related, the Cougar's looks were intended to be more of a "European" flavor. 




   Mercury's ride through the 1970s was not gentle, but it fared better than some. Shifting from performance cars such as the S-55, Marauder, and the Mustang-based Cougar, Mercury reverted to its historical role of selling badge-engineered Ford vehicles. Partially as a result of the first gas crisis, the "near luxury" segment was the bread and butter for 1970s American car manufacturers. However, the segment eventually became saturated. Only Mercury's niche products, like the Cougar XR-7, seemed to find real success with buyers. Much of this might really have had to do with Ford's topsy-turvy financial situation in the seventies. Lincoln-Mercury dealers had plenty of good selling cars, they just were not the right cars.

  In 1978, Mercury sales peaked at an all-time high of 580,000. The Cougar and Lincoln Mk V shattered sales records, but the staples of Mercury's business, the mid-size and full-size sedans and wagons, moved out of showrooms at a snail's pace. In 1977, the Cougar became the sole mid-size Mercury, replacing the Montego; previously a personal luxury coupe, the Cougar was available in sedan and station wagon bodystyles. The small Bobcat did not lure economy minded buyers, instead bringing only bad press from its close ties to the ill-fated Ford Pinto.

Although the Bobcat trickled out of showrooms, Mercury introduced the Monarch as a replacement for the aging Comet compact. Although still mechanically based on the original 1960 Ford Falcon, the Monarch was intended as a compact near-luxury car; high-trim versions were popular choices as personal cars among Ford executives. In 1978, the Monarch's replacement, the Zephyr was introduced on the Fox platform. An all-new rear-wheel drive platform, it would be used by all late 1970s-early 1980s Mercurys except the Bobcat, Lynx/LN7/Topaz, and the Grand Marquis/Colony Park











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