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A Contrarian Take on Mercury’s Demise

It coulda been a contender.

by on Jan.05, 2011

The original Mercury logo, used from 1939 to 1940.

Editor’s Note: As reported, this week, Ford’s long-struggling Mercury brand officially ceased to exist as the New Year rolled in.  But whether it should have been sent to the automotive rust heap is a matter of debate.  While most folks were happy to see it go,’s resident historian – and contrarian —  Mike Davis weighs in with an opposing viewpoint.

According to the latest definitions, a contrarian argues a counter-intuitive position against the conventional wisdom.  (Note: the word contrarian does not even appear in my vintage 1967 American College Dictionary, much less the one I used as an undergraduate 15 years earlier.  Nor does Microsoft’s spell-check like it.)

Ford Motor Company, after starving its traditional “medium-price” Mercury nameplate for years, finally pulled the plug with production of the last Mercury Grand Marquis at the St. Thomas, Ontario, assembly plant earlier this week. Assembly of badge-engineered Mercury Milan, Mercury Mariner and Mercury Mountaineer ended last year.  Even earlier, the company killed off Mercury Cougar and a decade ago never invested in a Mercury version of Focus.