The Last of a Storied Automobile Line Took Its Final Drive

January 4, 2011

The final Mercury vehicle was produced at the Ford Motor Company’s St. Thomas Assembly Plant in the Canadian township of Southwold. This last-of-a-kind vehicle was a white Mercury Grand Marquis automobile, and it rolled off the assembly line at 7:46 a.m. Crain News Service reported a couple of days later that “Mercury’s demise ends another entry in Detroit automakers’ efforts to market multiple brands to appeal to every purse and purpose.”

Mercury had been a longtime mainstay of the Ford Motor Company. The origins of Mercury can be traced to 1938 when Ford Motor Company president Edsel Ford (the only son of the company’s founder Henry Ford) introduced it as an entry-level premium brand of vehicle. Edsel Ford’s basic idea was to establish a financial middle ground for the company by having a selection of automobiles that cost more than the relatively low-priced Ford cars but were not as expensive as the Lincoln brand.

This so-called “ladder of consumption,” which provides a car owner with the option of a clear trade-up sequence of vehicles as his or her buying power grows over time, became standard practice among major American automotive manufacturers. General Motors, for example, introduced Pontiac to serve as a financial upgrade from Chevrolet and a possible stepping stone towards the eventual purchase of the more luxurious Cadillac. The Chrysler Corporation, for its part, brought in brands such as Dodge and DeSoto to help bridge the affordability gap between the low-priced Plymouth and the company’s top-of-line Chrysler cars.

The name “Mercury” was chosen from more than 100 entries that were under consideration as the marque for the Ford Motor Company’s then-newest brand of medium-priced automobiles. The blueprints for the first Mercury vehicles were drawn up by acclaimed Ford Motor Company automobile designer E.T. “Bob” Gregorie.

During the course of nearly three-fourths of a century, over 21 million Mercury vehicles – including both automobiles and light trucks – were built and sold. In addition, a 1942 Mercury model played a pioneering role when it was used to debut the Ford Motor Company’s first semi-automatic transmission.

Ultimately, production of Mercury was phased out so that the company could focus its marketing and engineering efforts on the Ford and Lincoln brands instead. The Grand Marquis was not only the last Mercury to be built. Having been introduced in 1975, it was also the brand’s longest-produced model.

For more information on the last Mercury to be produced, please check out https://www.automotivehistory.org/single-post/2017/01/04/January-4-2011—The-final-Mercury.

Additional information on the history of Mercury is available at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercury_(automobile).

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