Ford will stop production of cars bearing the Mercury nameplate, which was launched in 1938, by the end of 2010. The Mercury brand was originally conceived as a slightly upmarket option between basic Fords and luxury Lincolns. But over the years, the brand came to lack identity, say industry experts. "Mercury products have been nothing more than modestly restyled Fords for decades, and that's not how you build or maintain a brand," said Karl Brauer, a senior analyst at Edmunds.com.

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