DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. is extending the deadline for Mercury dealers to appeal cash offers designed to compensate them for the demise of the brand.
The original deadline was June 18 -- 15 days after the offers were made on June 3.
After complaints, Ford said it will now allow dealers to file an appeal up to 15 days before their franchise's termination date. For most of the 1,712 Mercury franchises, that extends the deadline to Dec. 16, a Ford spokesman said.
Ford is discontinuing the Mercury brand in the fourth quarter. Ford is offering dealers cash settlements ranging from the low thousands up to nearly $1 million, dealers say.
Appeals are made to the Ford Policy Board, which is comprised of three Ford employees.
Some dealer attorneys said that if a dealer skips the appeal, that could undermine a subsequent court lawsuit over the settlement offer.
“There's a potential roadblock depending on what a court wants to do,” says Mike Charapp, partner at Charapp & Weiss in McLean, Va. “I won't be that categorical to say if you don't go through the policy board, you're out. You'll certainly avoid a potential problem if you go through the policy board though.”