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Ford to announce it's scrapping Mercury after 72 years

DETROIT - Ford Motor Co. will announce today that it plans to kill its 72-year-old Mercury brand, according to two people briefed on the decision.

The automaker plans to add models to the Lincoln lineup to give dealers more products to sell, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the official announcement has not been made.

Ford has scheduled a conference call with dealers and a press conference for late Wednesday afternoon. The company said in a statement that the press conference would be an important product and brand discussion.

Mercury, which sells the Milan midsize car and Mariner midsize sport utility vehicle, has been suffering for years from a lack of new products and advertising support from Ford.

Its sales peaked in 1978 at more than 580,000 vehicles but just over 92,000 Mercurys were sold last year.

So far this year, the Mercury brand has captured less than 1 percent of the U.S. market, while the Ford brand has 15 percent.