To the Editor:
As a Lincoln-Mercury dealer since 1978, I can attest to the tragic manner in which Ford has handled (or mishandled) the discontinuation of Mercury and the loyal Mercury customers ("Ford struggles to move Mercury owners toward Lincoln," May 16).
Much has been written over the years with respect to just how loyal Mercury owners were. They perceived their Mercs to be better, nicer, more stylish, etc. than the Ford counterparts.
Ford execs have assumed that those loyalists would simply move to a Ford product or a Lincoln if they could afford it. We dealers have told Ford that would never happen, and it hasn't. The only incentive Ford has dealt Merc loyalists is an early lease termination offer. My Mercury customers ask me all the time: "When will Ford Motor Co. offer a special Mercury trade-in incentive?"
It is that stubborn, know-it-all attitude from Ford that has driven down sales of Lincoln and Mercury for years. It stopped advertising Mercury nationally three years ago and told the Lincoln Mercury Dealer Associations to do it. It stopped adding new Mercs to the product cycle. It's no surprise that our former loyalists are moving to import products.