As Mercury dealers are learning, there's no easy way to kill a brand. Dealers' revenue falls. Employees are let go. Customers drift to other brands.
So Ford Motor Co. did the right thing to give most Mercury dealers until December -- instead of June -- to appeal the automaker's settlement offers.
That won't change the main problem, though: Without Mercury next year, stand-alone Lincoln dealerships will be on shaky ground. Sales of the brand are too thin.
Ford could play hardball and ignore those dealers. A better choice would be to boost efforts to buy out Lincoln dealerships or arrange marriages with Ford dealerships, providing cash sweeteners where prudent.
Such efforts will create good will among dealers, which all factories need to compete.