DEARBORN, MI - Ford Motor Company announced it will end production of Mercury vehicles in the fourth quarter of this year and expand its Lincoln brand lineup. Of Ford's 16 percent market share in the U.S., Mercury accounts for 0.8 percentage points, a level that has been flat or declining for the past several years, according to the automaker. 

Ford will work closely with Mercury dealers and customers during the transition, including providing existing Mercury owners with continued access to parts and service support at Ford and Lincoln dealers and by honoring current warranties, including Ford's Extended Service Plans.

"We are 100-percent committed to supporting Mercury owners through Ford and Lincoln dealerships and working hard to keep them as valued customers in the future," said Mark Fields, Ford's president of The Americas. "At the same time, we will work closely with our dealers to phase out Mercury franchises and continue to build a healthy, growing Lincoln with strong new products and a profitable dealer network that delivers a world-class customer experience."

Ford has notified Mercury dealers of the decision and provided details of a financial package that includes payment in exchange for resigning the franchise. In addition, Ford announced special offers on new Mercury vehicles will be available through the summer to support the sell down of current Mercury inventory and remaining Mercury vehicle production.

As for the Lincoln expansion, seven all-new or significantly refreshed Lincoln models are scheduled to be released in the next four years. Lincoln's base includes the all-new flagship MKS large sedan, the all-new MKT seven-passenger crossover, and a significantly refreshed MKZ mid-size sedan - all now in showrooms. The hybrid version of the MKZ will reach showrooms later this year and is expected to be the most fuel-efficient premium sedan on the market, according to the automaker.

Lincoln's product actions continue later this year with the debut of the significantly refreshed 2011 MKX crossover, the first vehicle to feature MyLincoln Touch driver connect technology. 

Six all-new or significantly refreshed vehicles will follow over the next four years.

Other plans for the Lincoln brand include:

  • First-ever Lincoln C-segment vehicle.
  • New Lincoln-exclusive powertrains, including an all-new V-6 engine and advanced fuel-efficient transmissions.
  • EcoBoost engines available in all Lincoln models.
  • New advanced features, including: fully retractable glass roofs; adaptive computer-controlled suspensions; electronic, push-button gear-selectors; active noise control; and exclusive MyLincoln Touch driver connect technology.