The last Mercury -- a white Grand Marquis -- rolled off the production line Tuesday at Ford Motor Co.’s assembly plant in St. Thomas, Ontario, marking the official end of another Detroit brand.
The sedan will be shipped as part of a fleet order for a U.S. customer, Ford spokeswoman Marcey Evans said. Ford is eliminating Mercury to focus on two core brands, Ford and Lincoln.
Snowstorms delayed parts shipments to the plant, pushing production of the final Grand Marquis into the new year. It came off the line at around 8 a.m. on Tuesday.
The rear-wheel drive Grand Marquis had been produced for 25 years at St. Thomas. The plant will continue to produce the Ford Crown Victoria for taxi and police fleets until its slated closure in September.
But Tuesday was a bittersweet day for workers.
“We come here and do our job, but we know it’s going to close,” said Jill Gyurindak , a 12-year employee at the plant. “I guess (the end of the Grand Marquis) is making it more real and people are really starting to think about what they are going to do after.”
Gyurindak, who plans to go back to school after she loses her job, watched the final assembly of the last Grand Marquis chassis.
“It was sad, like ‘oh there it goes.’ It’s just one step closer to the closure.”
Ford has sold more than 21 million Mercury cars and light trucks in the United States since the brand debuted with the 1938 model year.
Mercury’s demise ends another entry in Detroit automakers’ efforts to market multiple brands to appeal to every purse and purpose. Mercury was sold as a step between Ford and Lincoln.
When Mercury debuted, GM had established a ladder of consumption, beginning with Chevrolet and followed by Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Buick and Cadillac.
Chrysler marketed Plymouth, Dodge, DeSoto and Chrysler.
“Ford determined it wasn’t worth the money to substantially differentiate Ford from Mercury,” said Bob Casey, curator of transportation at The Henry Ford museum in Dearborn, Mich.
Foreign competition and limited marketing resources have forced Detroit automakers to shrink their brand and model lineups.
Chrysler has shed Eagle and Plymouth, while GM has jettisoned Pontiac, Saturn, Hummer, Saab, and Oldsmobile.