In a show of independence, Lincoln Mercury General Manager Jim O'Connor has informally christened his unit 'Lincoln Mercury Co.'
In January, Lincoln Mercury said it would drop the hyphen and the word division from its name as part of a planned move to Southern California.
Lincoln Mercury is being recast as a more autonomous, independent business patterned after Jaguar Cars Ltd.
Now, O'Connor is underscoring the symbolism of Lincoln Mercury's break from Detroit's traditional automotive culture.
'Jim O'Connor is calling it Lincoln Mercury Co. Informally, that is how he is talking about it,' said spokeswoman Anne Doyle.
'But there is no official Ford Motor Co. document that says it is now going to be Lincoln Mercury Co. We have to figure out what to call ourselves.'
Lincoln Mercury will shed its label as merely a marketing and sales arm when it moves its headquarters to Irvine, Calif., this summer. It will be a more autonomous business with more product-development clout. Allowing Lincoln and Mercury to stand alone in the company name stresses the need for the brands to carve out individual identities in the market.
Lincoln Mercury will employ about 90 people at its new location. In February, the company said that 55 Lincoln Mercury employees were offered transfers and that 38 accepted. Those who declined to move are being offered other jobs in Ford.
The remaining positions are being filled from within Ford and by hiring in California.