Ford continues to work its marketing magic, directing focus away from the fact that its shutting-down the Mercury brand and putting the spotlight on a bright future for Lincoln. The Blue Oval has announced that by the end of this year production of Mercury models will cease, helping Ford reduce costs while and put more cash and engineering expertise into the Lincoln brand. For years Mercury has struggled, sitting half-way between the established “common-man” Ford brand and the quasi-luxury Lincoln brand. And with Lincoln still struggling to establish itself as a true luxury automaker, Mercury fell considerably short in this respect.
“Profitably growing Lincoln in North America is an important part of our One Ford plan,” said Alan Mulally, Ford president and CEO. “Our Ford brand is gaining momentum and winning customers around the world. Now, we are going to use the same laser focus to further strengthen Lincoln and deliver even more products luxury customers really want and value.”
As for the future of Lincoln, Ford has given a rather thorough look at just what to expect. First is the introduction of a new compact model, possibly inspired by the C Concept (above), but also likely based on the all-new Focus platform. Lincoln also aims to put the focus on fuel economy by offering EcoBoost engines in every model – including the next-generation Navigator full-size SUV.
In addition, Ford has announced it is developing new “Lincoln-exclusive” powertrains including an all-new V6 engine as well as new fuel-efficient transmissions (dual-clutch? 8-speed?).
Ford will look to build Lincoln into the most fuel efficient luxury brand, competing mostly with Cadillac and Lexus, delivering what it calls “fuel economy leadership” with each new model.
Official release after the jump: