Ford VS. Mercury – 7 Important Differences (Before Buying)

Ford and Mercury are both nameplates from the same manufacturer: Ford Motor Company.

However, despite their shared heritage, the two models couldn’t be more different. One model (Mercury) is defunct, while the other (Ford) is still in production. But there are more differences between these two models. We’ll point out those differences and analyze them for your benefit.

What Is The real difference between Ford and Mercury?

The major difference between the two brands is that Ford is targeted lower to middle-income buyers while Mercury was marketed to the more affluent.  As they came from the same parent company, the Ford and Mercury models inevitably shared some components and features.

However, each model had significant characteristics that distinguished it from the other.

Brand Image

Mostly, Ford vehicles were low-priced cars popular among the middle-class and lower-class Americans.

Ford-badged vehicles were everyday cars that had no special status attached to them.

Mercury was a mid-luxury nameplate that was more popular among members of America’s upper class.


Unsurprisingly, Mercury vehicles are more expensive than Ford.

While both models share components, Mercurys had additional features designed to increase the comfort of owners. These features cost more to produce and install; hence, prices of the models inevitably increased.

Meanwhile, Ford vehicles were cheaper compared to their luxury siblings.

Production Volume

Luxury vehicles, because of their high price tags, are usually produced and sold in small numbers.

Mercury was no different and usually had low production/sales volume. By comparison, Fords were mass-market models produced and sold in large quantities.

For example, in 2010, (Mercury’s last production year), Mercury’s annual sales totaled 93,915 units.

In that same year, Ford sold 1,752,111 units of its various models in the US.

Which of the Two Is the More Reliable Car Brand?

It is hard to say which brand, Ford or Mercury, is more reliable, given that both models have had their fair share of issues over the years.

However, a pointer to each model’s reliability lies in its design. Ford vehicles are mostly practical cars and feature only essential components. Mercury cars are more luxurious and have additional features aimed at increasing the comfort of passengers.

Popular knowledge dictates that more parts/components mean higher chances of something breaking down.

Below is a comparison of reliability ratings for some Ford and Mercury models:

  1. Ford Explorer vs. Mercury Mountaineer: Both SUVs, the two share several features. JD Power gives the Explorer a 3/5 Reliability Rating. Conversely, the Mercury Mountaineer receives a dismal 2/5 Reliability Rating.
  2. Ford Escape vs. Mercury Mariner: Also SUVs, both models have similar underpinnings. JD Power rates the Escape better in terms of reliability. It earns a 3/5 Reliability Rating compared to the Mariner’s 2/5 Reliability Rating.
  3. Ford Fusion vs. Mercury Milan: The Milan is nothing more than a re-badged Fusion. However, it still manages to be less reliable than its sibling, earning a 4/5 Reliability Rating against the Fusion’s perfect 5/5 Reliability Rating.

Having compared reliability on models from each brand, Ford clearly is the more reliable of the two manufacturers.

Are Mercury Cars Cheaper Than Ford?

Mercurys are premium vehicles with an emphasis on passenger comfort and convenience.

They come with extra creature comforts that inevitably drive prices up. Fords have always been more affordable, which explains their popularity among average income earners in the US.

Here’s a quick comparison of prices of models from both brands:

  1. Mercury Grand Marquis vs. Ford Taurus: A new 2010 Mercury Grand Marquis costs $29,525. That’s $4,000 more than the price of a same-year Taurus ($25,170). The Grand Marquis comes with additional features such as electrochromic mirrors, leather-covered steering wheels, and climate control.
  2. Mercury Grand Mariner vs. Ford Escape: Base-model 2009 Grand Mariners cost $22,650. Same model-year Escapes are cheaper, coming in at $20, 345. Features on Grand Mariners e.g., panoramic sunroof and leather seats, are absent on Escapes.
  3. Mercury Milan vs. Ford Fusion: Even if Ford merely rehashed the Fusion and named it the Milan, the latter still costs more. The Mercury Milan costs $20,320, while the Ford Fusion costs $19,035.

Does Mercury or Ford Sell More Cars?

Even at the height of Mercury’s dominance in the 50s and 60s, it never sold as many cars as Ford.

Later years saw its contributions to Ford Motor Co.’s total sales drop to a dismal percentage. Meanwhile, Ford sales have climbed to astronomical levels, thanks to bestselling models like the F-Series and the Fusion.

That Mercury sold fewer vehicles than Ford isn’t a surprise. Luxury brands like Mercury are mostly popular with upper-class individuals who make up a small part of the American population.

In contrast, the middle-class individuals whom Ford vehicles are targeted at are perhaps the largest demographic in the US. As a result, it only made sense that Ford recorded more sales than Mercury did.

In 2009 (the year before it was discontinued), Mercury sold 92,299 units of its various models. By comparison, Ford sold 1,440,655 units the same year, outselling Mercury 15-to-1.

How Do the Prices on Repair and Maintenance Stack Up?

Because of their luxury vehicle status, Mercurys often have extra parts, increasing the likelihood of something failing and requiring repair.

While differences in maintenance costs for both models aren’t significant, the extra dollars can add up quickly over the years. On average, Ford vehicles cost less to maintain compared to Mercury vehicles.

For example, the annual service cost for a Ford Fusion ($418) is lesser compared to a Mercury Milan ($418). Similarly, the Mercury Grand Marquis ($579) has higher maintenance costs than the Ford Taurus ($570).

Exceptions exist, however. Take, for instance, yearly service costs for the Mercury Grand Mariner and Ford Escape. The Escape’s annual maintenance cost ($594) eclipses the Grand Mariner’s cost ($480).

Still, we adjudge Ford to be the more ‘affordable-to-own’ model of the two brands.

How Is the Performance of the Two Brands Compared?

Both brands have several vehicles in their respective lineups.

Hence, it’s difficult to analyze and compare the performance of the models. Nevertheless, models from each brand share many components, including powertrains and drive trains.

With that, performance is often the same on both models, with only minor differences in certain cases.

A good example is a comparison of the Ford Escape and Mercury Grand Mariner. Even though the latter is more expensive, it features the same 2.5-liter inline-V4 engine as the former.

This means both of them to give the same 171 horsepower and 171 pound-feet of torque.

Which Brand Is More Durable?

Seeing the reliability scores for both Mercury and Ford, we can safely say the latter is more durable.

Over the years, Ford cars have proven to be workhorses able to handle abuse without breaking down. However, we cannot say the same for the Mercury models.

This is not saying the Mercury brand was terrible. It just had a higher number of vehicles that turned out to be lemons.

In comparison, Ford has relatively few issues with durability. Its Mustang sports car is considered one of the most durable sports cars ever produced. Then you also have the legendary F-Series trucks that have redefined “durability” in the years following their release.

Overall, we will recommend buying a Ford if you want stress-free motoring. Some Mercury vehicles are durable, but chances are you may end up with a poorly made one.

Hence, we would advise that you save yourself the stress and pick a Ford.

What About Safety?

Both models have superb performance in terms of safety.

However, we can’t help but notice that some optional safety systems on Fords were standard on Mercurys. This is likely because Mercurys are more expensive than Ford and are expected to come with more features.

However, Ford has become safer in recent years, thanks to the new Co-Pilot 360 safety suite.

Which Is a Better Used Car?

As they cost more from the dealership, Mercury vehicles cost more on the used-car market.

Fords, on the other hand, are mass-market, low-priced models that have sensible resale prices. However, the price distinction between used Fords and Mercurys is slowly blurring.

Mercury went defunct in 2010, and the value of used models took a hit, reducing their prices. Still, a used Ford is cheaper to maintain and is a better bargain.

Other Differences You Should Know of

The biggest difference between Ford and Mercury is that they serve different purposes and appeal to different individuals.

Ford models are usually low-cost vehicles that have high reliability and average maintenance costs. As such, they appeal more to working-class individuals who want affordable and dependable means of transportation.

Meanwhile, Mercury was a higher-priced premium vehicle with some measure of status attached to it. Its buyer demographic comprised mainly of rich members of America’s upper class. It did not matter if Mercurys and Fords shared components; a Mercury would always be treated with more importance.

We recommend buying a Ford if all you want is a vehicle that can withstand years of rigorous daily use and stay in excellent condition. A Mercury may provide similar performance, but chances are you will have to repair it more often.

If you prize comfort and convenience, then Mercury is your best choice. Just remember those extra creature comforts will cost you more.

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