Rumors persist that Ford’s Mercury division is being prepared for the chopping block. The dealers see some signs of this and are showing worry. According to the Detroit News, Mercury dealerships are so concerned that they are anxiously contacting Ford and asking “What’s up?”
They have reason to be anxious. Mercury’s sales have dropped more than 30 percent since April 2006. And it’s not looking any better. Ford recently announced that due to its focus on gas guzzling vehicles and SUVs and the decline in sales of these vehicles, it will not reach profitability in 2009. That puts added pressure on the idea that Ford will be cutting the Mercury brand.
In February, members of the Lincoln Mercury National Dealers Council asked Ford to provide them with a strategy for Mercury. They figured that by demanding a strategy, they could find out once and for all whether there will be new products or that Mercury is on the road to demise.
At first, Ford promised to discuss Mercury with its dealers. But they have since reneged on that promise. The automaker says that they have delayed a meeting because it is in the process of drawing up a strategy for Mercury.
Our take? The pundits are persistent if nothing else. They say that the death of Mercury is at hand and that Ford needs to “focus on Ford.” Like everything else, we wait.