6. Mercury, 2011
Don’t think GM is the only automaker that knows how to eliminate unnecessary or otherwise redundant brands, oh no, dear reader, they’re not. Ford has dumped a few unwanted divisions over the decades, most recently Mercury.
Originally this brand was conceived of as a step to bridge the cavern between lowly Fords and the up level Lincoln Zephyr. The first Mercury cars featured wider bodies, unique styling and more powerful engines than their blue-collar, Blue Oval counterparts.
Unfortunately Mercury’s identity was never really pinned down. Is it a near-luxury brand? Is it a performance division? Should it target women? Who knows? The executives at the company certainly didn’t. Eventually Mercury became little more than a purveyor of Ford vehicles with waterfall grilles, and that’s a worse business model than trying to sell chili-cheese fries at a cardiology convention.
Mercury was discontinued in 2011, probably to eliminate unnecessary cost and to help the company focus more attention on its other ailing faux-luxury brand, Lincoln.