Negotiations between Ford Motor Co. and Mercury dealers are expected to conclude by the end of the year, according to CEO Alan Mulally. He also said that Ford's focus will be shifted to its mass-market Ford and luxury Lincoln brands.
Mulally refused to indicate the costs for phasing out the Mercury brand, which is part of a restructuring that includes an expanded investment in the Lincoln brand lineup.
Mercury production is slated to end in the fourth quarter. After an appearance at the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce annual meeting, Mulally said that there is no specific time frame but that generally, he hopes to "help everybody through the rest of this year."
Mulally said that the company has determined that the broadly improved Ford brand vehicle lineup would be able to meet the needs of Mercury customers.
The Mercury brand, which was created by Edsel Ford in the 1930s, has no stand-alone dealerships in the US. Of its 1,712 dealerships, 1,436 are partnered with the expanding Ford blue oval brand.
That means that when the phase-out is completed, it leaves 276 Mercury-Lincoln dealerships that could become solely Lincoln dealers.