May 4, 2015 By Mike Lee
Last updated on May 4, 2015

Mercury LogoBrief History About Mercury

Mercury was founded in 1938 in the USA by Edsel Ford (Ford Motor Company). Edsel set Mercury up to be a mid range luxury brand to compete against similar cars from General Motors and the Chrysler Corporation and to be priced between Ford and Lincolns offerings.

The first car Mercury built (officially branded and all-new) was the 1939 Mercury Eight with a 239cu V8.

Mercury then combined with Lincoln after WW2 and shared resources and parts, but had different trim levels.

During the 50’s Mercury increased its line-up with more models, as well as a few innovations. The 50’s were good for Mercury, who also got involved in motorsport.

The 60’s saw a restructure of models available with compact and full size cars and a move to some performance models, including the Comet, Meteor and the introduction of the 1967 Mercury Cougar, which gave Ford a car to fit the gap between the Mustang and Thunderbird.

As with many car makers the 70’s were hard times, especially with the 1973 oil crisis. Performance cars were not selling well, so a move to both more compact and mid-size luxury cars was made.

In the 80’s and 90’s there was a constant change of vehicles in an attempt to differentiate itself from other Ford cars and to appease the marketplace. There were more compact cars, but also minivans and an SUV being built.

In the new millennium Ford/Mercury made a number of changes to attract younger buyers, but with a narrowing divide between so called lower end cars and the more prestigious models, plus a number of failed marketing strategies, eventually led to Ford announcing in 2010 that it was stopping the production of Mercury cars and discontinuing the brand.

Mercury Cougar
Cougar 1st Gen 1967-1970

(See Ford 1998-2002 Cougar)