There’s no doubt that Ford is looking for ways to save costs on its operations. And one on again off again and on again idea is to drop its Mercury division. Just plain dump it. No more Mercurys. Enough said. But every time the pundits bring the possibility up,the automakerseems to shoot it down. So now pundits like Auto Observer are finding themselves reading “tea leaves” — so to speak — to find out what Ford has in store for the brand.
Reports say that sales for Mercury overall are down 7 percent for the year. And Ford doesn’t plan any new product for Mercury other than a refreshed Milan midsize sedan that is set for release during the 2009 model year. But even more telling is that Mercury has been removed from Ford’s national television advertising. And the company will be reducing spending on behalf of Mercury in other traditional media. Instead, marketing dollars for Mercury will be going to online sources and into dealership advertising.
Our take? It sounds a lot like the dog who chases his own tail. Sales of Mercurys are down so limit expenditures on any marketing campaign that would help boost sales. That results in even greater reductions in sales and on and on until the self-fulfilling prophesy of the demise of Mercury is at hand. Good policy or bad?