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Tech & Auto
Why Ford Closed Down Mercury After Over 70 Years
In the mid-1930s, Ford executives realized the company was missing out on a lucrative opportunity in the domestic car market: the mid-tier range vehicle.
Mercury was explicitly conceived to fill this gap, and its first model was launched in 1939. The decision proved successful, as Ford sold around 65,000 Mercurys in its first year.
The Lead Sled
After Ford halted production to focus on creating military vehicles during World War II, it resumed commercial production, and Mercury launched a new model in 1949.
Nicknamed the “lead sled,” the ’49 Mercury Eight gained widespread popularity after its appearance in “Rebel Without a Cause.” It remains one of the most iconic Mercurys.
Success And Failure
The Mercury brand continued to succeed throughout the mid-’50s, with models like the Montclair and Monterey drawing in new customers.
However, sales dramatically dropped in 1958. The ’50s models had grown in size and weight and suddenly were less affordable and less fashionable for cash-strapped buyers.
Performance Car
Mercury began overhauling its lineup with the new decade, reducing prices and unveiling a new range of more compact cars based on Ford platforms.
Among the new models was the Mercury Cougar, one of the brand’s most important models. The car delivered both performance and luxury, winning critical and commercial acclaim.
Changing Times
Mercury’s lineup lost one of its critical appeals in the early ’70s. The sporty, luxurious car was no longer marketable, so Mercury focused on luxury.
While not as renowned as other decade models, Mercury’s mid-’70s cars, such as the 1975 Grand Marquis and the second-generation Capri, sold very well then.