According to The New York Times, Ford will be converting three of its North American plants from trucks to cars, in part to produce European designs for sale in the US market. Their sources claim six unnamed Euro models will make the transoceanic leap, and Mercury, which was assumed dead by means of product starvation, will receive the bulk of this new small car influx.
The official announcement is scheduled to occur on Thursday, which leaves plenty of time for all of the talking heads to speculate away. We'll look for the full program later this week.
Jalopnik Snap Judgement: If this is true, and the NYT's Ford sources are better than those from Edmunds Inside Line (A journalistic smackdown, if you will, from Bill Vlasic of old media to Edmunds' Ed Hellwig, representing new media), we're just happy to see a brand coming back from the brink.
Given the also-ran status of Mercury over the last decade(s), this news is a bit of a surprise, but a moment's thought makes the strategy seem perfectly logical. Mercury has been positioned as a premium — but not too premium — brand within Ford of the Americas. Slotted in between Ford and Lincoln, Mercury, awash with new small and mid-sized European cars, will be able to position the vehicles as premium European-style small cars. Just like what GM North America has done with Opels imported into the US as Saturn. And look how well that's turning out for them, right? [NYTimes]