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Ford kills Mercury brand, world feigns surprise

Ford will end production of Mercury vehicles in the fourth quarter of this year to fully devote its financial, product development, production and marketing, sales, and service resources toward further growing its core Ford brand while enhancing Lincoln

Mercury Milan Hybrid
The Editors' Choice-winning Milan Hybrid and the rest of Mercury's line will cease production in a few months. CNET

Ford Motor Company will be ending production of its Mercury vehicles division in the fourth quarter of this year in order to refocus its resources on building the Lincoln brand. Seriously, who didn't see this coming?

We've found ourselves openly questioning Mercury's continued existence many times over the past year. The Mercury brand was originally created in 1939 as a premium tier of Ford vehicles. However, as the quality of Ford-badged vehicles has increased and Ford has continued to shine the spotlight on Lincoln as its luxury-brand golden child, Mercury has gradually become irrelevant and, frankly, unexciting. Sure, there have been a few good models during the 2009 and 2010 model years--the Mariner Hybrid and Milan Hybrid spring to mind--but those vehicles could be had with similar quality and for less cash with Ford badges affixed to their noses.

Of course, there is a silver lining for Mercury's ending: Ford intends to redirect the financial, product development, production and marketing, and sales and service resources that will be freed up with Mercury's shutdown into the Lincoln brand, which will get a much-needed boost toward becoming a brand that can go toe-to-toe with the likes of Lexus, Cadillac, and BMW. Ford will also be adding seven all-new or significantly refreshed vehicles to its Lincoln lineup over the next four years--including the brand's first-ever C-segment vehicle.

Ford Motor Company will continue to honor existing Mercury warranties and extended service plans. Meanwhile, current Mercury owners will still have access to parts-and-service support at Ford and Lincoln dealers.

Is there a particular Mercury vehicle you will miss or one that you're happy to see gone? Sound off in the comments with your favorites.