Ouch! Killing Mercury said to cost Ford $500 million

Filed under: Ford, Mercury

Mercury

In life, Mercury was an under-funded brand mainly composed of waterfall grilles stapled to bone-stock Ford models. In death, however, Mercury apparently gets to see some of the money it always dreamed of having when it was alive. According to Automotive News, Ford CFO Lewis Booth claims that shutting down Mercury before the end of this year will cost the Oval roughly $500 million overall. Booth says Ford already took a $247 million charge in the first half of 2010 to cover the neglected marque’s mercy killing.

The lion’s share of the money being spent will go toward buying out 700 of the 1,700 Mercury dealers across the United States. Back in June, we told you about a package that Ford was presenting to dealers who sign a termination agreement. The reported buyout totaled as much as $200,000 per dealership. (Actual dollar amounts for individual dealers were based on the number of vehicles they sold over a three-year period; more cars moved meant more FoMoCo cash received.)

Would a half-billion invested in updated Mercury product instead of a cash-lined casket have made a difference? Mercury’s sales numbers (or lack thereof) suggest that few car shoppers would have even noticed. Ditching Mercury to concentrate on bread-and-butter Ford has seemed like a no-brainer for years. More importantly, Lincoln, which hasn’t exactly lit up the monthly By the Numbers reports of late, should only benefit from the much-needed infusion of resources that were previously being wasted keeping Mercury afloat.

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]

Ouch! Killing Mercury said to cost Ford $500 million originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 24 Jul 2010 12:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Fiat 500 Abarth Speedster in the works

Filed under: Budget, Performance, Europe, Hatchback

Fiat 500 Abarth Essesse – Click above for high-res image gallery

We’ve been hearing about the supposed introduction of the Fiat 500 to American shores for so long that the car may grow stale before the first one touches soil on our side of the Atlantic. Chrysler and its parent company, Fiat, seem to have grown keen to that very possibility, so to stir the pot somewhat, the two have gotten together and released a few scant details about a performance version that’s also headed our direction.

As we’ve already heard, the 500 Abarth will pack around 134 horsepower from a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine with a 0-60 run of around 7.6 seconds. If you’re thinking that those numbers aren’t exactly devilish, fear not – the Abarth-tuned cars will also pack reworked suspensions to help them carve up tarmac like a turkey dinner.

That’s cool and all, but the biggest news is that Fiat is actually mulling an Abarth Speedster – a unique new model that is rumored to borrow heavily from the 1959 Zagato Abarth 750. Expect a shorter roofline as well as a folding soft top if the car comes to fruition. No one knows exactly which engine Fiat would snug down into the little topless wonder, but rumor has it that a 163-horsepower version of the same 1.4-liter four-pot is a definite possibility. Sounds good to us.

Gallery: Fiat 500 Abarth Esseesse

[Source: Inside Line]

Report: Fiat 500 Abarth Speedster in the works originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 19 Jul 2010 17:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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