Just the Facts:
• The last Mercury ever built — a white 2011 Grand Marquis — came off the line at 7:46 a.m. on January 4 at the St. Thomas, Ontario assembly plant.
• The car is bound for an unidentified U.S. fleet customer.
• The brand was established in 1939 by Bill Ford’s grandfather, Edsel Ford.
DEARBORN, Michigan — The official death watch for the Mercury brand ended in an unceremonious manner at 7:46 a.m. on January 4 when a white 2011 Grand Marquis rolled off the line at Ford’s St. Thomas, Ontario Assembly Plant.
So low-key was the event that Ford told Inside Line it didn’t even take a picture of the car for its historical archives.
“Unfortunately, there is no photo of that specific unit — sorry,” wrote Christian Bokich, Lincoln public relations manager, in response to an e-mailed query from Inside Line on Wednesday. “Regarding the Mercury brand wind-down, we are on plan.”
The last Mercury was built for an unnamed U.S. fleet customer.
Ford announced elimination of the brand in June, saying that Mercury captured only 0.8 percent of the U.S. market and that its share had been in decline. The brand — named for the Roman messenger of the gods — was established in 1939 by Chairman Bill Ford’s grandfather, Edsel Ford.
The Mercury brand was set up as a slightly more expensive and upscale sibling to the Ford brand. But it battled image problems for decades. One of the most “unfortunate advertising bloopers” of the 20th century was the short-lived Mercury slogan, “Only $50 more than a Ford,” according to the 1969 Booton Herndon book Ford: An Unconventional Biography of the Men and Their Times. Ford President Lee Iacocca reportedly told Herndon, “Who the hell wants a so-called luxury car that only costs $50 more than a Ford?”
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