Mercury Cars: Luxury Made in America
Mercury was founded in 1938 to be Ford’s luxury brand. The brainchild of
Edsel, son of Henry Ford, Mercury was to compete with Buick, Oldsmobile and
Hudson for the coveted top luxury car market. Though many limos and
super-luxury cars made by Ford came from the Lincoln branch, the Mercury
cars were among the most luxurious ever offered by Ford. With plush (often
leather) interiors, air conditioning and radio as standard, and the most in
terms of width and length, Mercury cars were usually presented as the best
Ford had to offer. The Town Sedan was the best example of this design
The heyday of the Mercury car was the 1960s. Learning from its mistakes in
their experiment with Edsel, they focused on making Mercury vehicles more
luxurious than the standard Ford while keeping it beneath the
ultra-luxurious Lincolns. They found an excellent market in the realm of
middle-class Americans, who wanted a good family car with lots of room that
would be comfortable on long trips. While neither fuel efficient nor safe,
even by 1960s standards, the Mercury vehicles of the times were often used
on long road trips, taking advantage of the brand-new Eisenhower interstate
network. The Cougar was the flagship vehicle for this, since it was based
on the Mustang and Thunderbird while offering a much more comfortable ride
and more room.
Five Remarkable Facts about Mercury:
the Middle East, most notably Saudia Arabia.
luxury cars, and were thus preferred by gangsters because they could escape
50s because there were no dedicated Ford dealerships.
Popular Mercury Models
The Mercury car had a hard time making it through the 1970s, however. With
stiff competition from GM, Mercedez Benz and BMW, Mercury vehicles had a
hard time finding the middle market where it once had almost no
competition. The fuel crisis of the late 1970s made the gas-guzzling
Mercury car an unattractive buy. As such, Ford began to retire the brand,
or at least phase it out. During much of the 1970s and 80s, the brand was
neglected in favor of the high end (Lincoln) and low end (Ford) vehicles.
The Sable and later Cougars fit this profile.
Mercury vehicles were re-launched in the 90s as a middle ground for all
types of cars. From SUVs to coupes, the brand covered all makes and types.
Many of these (most notably the Merkur line) were simple badge-engineered
versions of cars built by Ford for the European market, and in the long run
they failed to catch on. People simply wanted their Fords to be better and
their Lincolns to be cheaper. As such, the brand was phased out in 2011 as
part of a consolidation.
Ford discontinued the Mercury brand in 2010.