Ford to Shutter Mercury Production

DETROIT ( TheStreet) -- Ford ( F) said it will shut down its Mercury brand in the fourth quarter of this year and devote its resources to Ford and Lincoln vehicles.

The decision to close Mercury, founded in 1939, came after an annual spring product review, said Mark Fields, Ford president for the Americas, at a news conference. "We decided we would focus our efforts, our resources, to continue to grow the Ford brand and to accelerate Lincoln," said Fields.

The move comes as the fortunes of the Ford brand are soaring. Fields noted that Ford gained more than 2% in market share this year, while Mercury has a market share of just 0.8%. "The gain on Ford is more than twice the absolute share of Mercury," said Fields. "Mercury brand awareness remains low"

Ford will work with the 1,712 Mercury dealers on transitions, Fields said. Of those, 925 also sell Ford and Lincoln, 511 sell Ford and Mercury, and 276 sell Mercury and Lincoln. No dealer sells Mercury exclusively.

Fields declined to provide the cost of shutting down Mercury, but said the financial guidance Ford offered in April would not be impacted by the move. No jobs will be lost, he said. Most Mercury workers will move to Lincoln.

-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.
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