After 72 years on the market, the final Mercury car was produced last week as Ford completes the phase out of this once revered brand. On Jan. 4, 2011, the last Mercury to roll off the assembly was, fittingly, a Mercury Grand Marquis that was, even more fitting, headed to a fleet company. In its last full calendar year on the market, Mercury sold just 93,195 in the United States which is just a fraction of a percent higher than last year's figures which marked a 74-percent drop in sales since 2000.
In addition to the Grand Marquis, Mercury's final 2011 model year also includes the Mercury Milan and the Mercury Mariner. Even as dealerships take down their Mercury signage to become Ford-Lincoln dealers or stand-alone Lincoln dealers, there are probably still some good deals out there for the remaining 2011 models. For current Mercury owners, the vehicles can still be serviced at Ford or Lincoln dealership without any problems considering that the brand hasn't had a unique vehicle since the Mercury Cougar was dropped in 2002.
Although the last Grand Marquis was produced, the St. Thomas Assembly plant will continue to build existing Ford products based off the antiquated Panther platform, but it is scheduled to close on August 31, 2011. St. Thomas has produced the Grand Marquis since 1985, but it also builds the Lincoln Town Car and Ford Crown Victoria (both for fleet sales only). Lincoln will use the Lincoln MKT as a replacement for the Town Car limousine and livery markets, while the Crown Victoria's police duty is being handed over to a more modern Police Interceptor based off the latest Ford Taurus.
Ford's Lincoln division is set to reap the benefits of Mercury's death by assuming its marketing budget. This is perfect timing for Lincoln as it attempts to distance itself from Ford products in terms of luxury and styling. Lincoln plans to introduce seven new or updated models by 2015.