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Monday, June 7, 2010

Automotive Orphans: Where will Mercury buyers go now?

According to data cited in today’s Media Post Marketing Daily, there’s a good chance that Merc owners will stick with Ford or Lincoln when it’s time to move away from the line that Ford Motor Company is planning to close.

Implications: Sometimes, the reason given for brand closure is simple profit efficiency, as was the case in Saturn and Hummer. Other times, the reasons for ending a brand include ending unnecessary redundancy, as in the case of Pontiac and Plymouth. Mercury seems to be among the latter, with similar models found throughout the Ford and/or Lincoln lines. Automakers have long used one body style as the framework for multiple car brands.

But anytime a habit is altered forcibly, it puts the buyers who had that habit “up for grabs.” Count on seeing “Mercury Alumni” groups pop up on Facebook, as nostalgia amplifies any loyalty people might have had for the Mercury brand. And count on hearing plenty of advertising from dealerships and manufacturers about why their line should be the alternate choice for those folks formerly known as Mercury buyers.

Mike Anderson

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