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Auto blogMon, 03 Jan 2011 11:01:00 EST
Now that the curtain has closed on Mercury, Ford Motor Company will redirect all of its marketing dollars for the oft-overlooked brand to the Blue Oval's luxury outpost, Lincoln. In speaking to Automotive News, the chairman of the Lincoln National Dealer Council, Bob Tasca, Jr., said, "You'll see a lot stronger presence in the advertising of Lincoln in 2011."
Lincoln spokesperson Christian Bokich reminded AN that the automaker is "preparing the way for seven new or significantly refreshed vehicles" that will be launched over the next four years, and the largest ad blitz in 2011 will focus on the refreshed MKX crossover, as well as the MKZ sedan and its hybrid counterpart. Following that, Lincoln has plans to launch a completely overhauled version of its Navigator SUV, an all-new C-segment vehicle and the overhauled 2013 MKZ, which Tasca says will be "strikingly different from its Ford Fusion sibling."
[Source: Automotive News - sub. req. | Image: John Neff/Autoblog/AOL]Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments
When General Motors put down several of its brands in recent years, it also let loose thousands of brand-loyal customers who will eventually need another car.
R.L. Polk Associates estimates there are more than 18 million cars from 16 discontinued makes on the road today. Those "orphan owners" have sales-hungry competitors seeing dollar signs. GM is offering Saturn owners $1,000 cash toward a Chevy Cruze, Cadillac CTS or a GMC Acadia. Ford is giving its Mercury lease customers a chance to get out of their contracts with no early-termination penalty and offering to waive six remaining payments if they drive off in a Ford or Lincoln.
Edmunds.com research shows the efforts are paying off somewhat for GM, with 39 percent of Pontiac owners, 37 percent of Hummer owners and 31 percent of Saturn owners taking delivery of another GM-branded vehicle. But that leaves as much as 69 percent of owners going elsewhere. Ford, Honda and Toyota seem to be attracting many former GM owners.
Ford is already well into winding down its Mercury line, and the autoamker has announced that the very last of the soon-to-be dead brand's products built for retail sales was manufactured on Sunday, October 3. The final Mercury Mariner rolled off of the assembly line at the company's Kansas City facility, putting an end to a brand with over 70 years of history behind it.
Even after the Mariner heads off into the automotive sunset, Ford says that it will continue to manufacture a handful of Mercury models for fleet and government service for a while longer, though mum's the word on how long we can expect that practice to continue.
Interestingly enough, according to USA Today, most incentives on Mercury vehicles have all but dried up, even as the brand's August production increased by 120 percent compared to July's figures. Instead of cash on the hood, some areas are offering no-cost maintenance or similar programs. Even so, Mercury has continued to out-sell Lincoln right to the end - besting Ford's luxury arm's sales by nine percent in August.