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January 4, 2011 – The last Mercury car

Mercury Grand Marquis

Introduced by Edsel Ford in 1938 for the 1939 model year, Mercury was promoted as a premium brand from Ford Motor Co. By filling the gap between low-priced Ford and high-priced Lincoln, Ford now had a vehicle for every budget. Following an initial push of the all new car, Mercury became an option hound. Meaning, by the 1942 model year, Mercury shared much of its body with Ford, but offered upscale trim options. Its products would essentially follow that trend for the next 70 years.

Above: 1939 Mercury ad. Top: A final generation Mercury Grand Marquis, similar to the last Mercury.

The Origins of Mercury Cars

1949 Mercury Eight

Mercury was championed by Henry Ford’s son, Edsel. Its main competitors would be General Motors’ Oldsmobile and Buick, as well as Chrysler. For the 1939 model year, nearly 66,000 Mercurys left sales lots. With a starting price of $916, equal to about $16,800 today, consumers were able to get a lot of car for decent money.

A popular redesign for 1949 kicked off a solid decade for Mercury. The next year the 1,000,000th Mercury rolled off the assembly line. As the decade progressed, the 1958 recession and the introduction of the Edsel would take a toll on Mercury sales. Though it outsold Edsel 2 to 1, it would take all of 1958 and 1959 to sell the same amount of cars as 1957.

End of the Line for Mercury Cars

Fast forward to June 2, 2010 when Mercury owned just 1 percent of the new car market in the United States. On that fateful late spring day, Ford broke the news that Mercury would be discontinued. Then, on this day in 2011, at approximately 8 am, a 2011 Mercury Grand Marquis, rolled off the St. Thomas assembly line, marking the last Mercury car ever built.

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