In the past, Ford had a division that was called Lincoln-Mercury. Today, it's only referred to Lincoln. As you may know, the other half of that union was discontinued in 2011. But before any of that happened, Mercury played a pivotal role in Ford's marketing strategy. Back in the 1930s, the company had to find a way to market vehicles that are more upscale than regular Ford vehicles but aren't in the same level of Lincoln's premium offerings. Edsel Ford, the son of Henry Ford, came up with the solution to that problem. He proposed to set up another division which would later be known as Mercury.
Even though it was clear that the Mercury was slotted in between regular Fords and the luxurious Lincolns, complications arose when the short-lived Edsel-yet another division of Ford (not to be confused with Henry Ford's son)-came into play. Edsel made things confusing for consumers as they didn't know whether to treat the Mercury as a high-end Ford vehicle or as a lower-tier Lincoln automobile. Fortunately, Edsel was discontinued after a few years as this helped the Mercury gain back its distinctiveness.
More Shifts in Identity
After the whole Edsel fiasco, Mercury started to really set itself apart from the regular Fords and the premium Lincolns as it began producing models that looked very different from its siblings. However, this did not last long as the division eventually reverted back to being known as merely a
Junior Lincoln. Although that didn't last long either as Mercury then transitioned to producing performance vehicles. The division kept changing up its image until its final years.
The Last Hurrah
After a relatively quiet decade in the 2000s, Mercury tried one last time to rehabilitate its image. The division updated its roster of vehicles to appeal to a younger segment of the market. However, less-than-average sales forced Ford to finally pull the plug on Mercury.