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Ford says to end 72-year-old Mercury brand

By AP

DEARBORN, MI –

Ford Motor Co. says it will end production of its Mercury brand by the end of this year.

Ford's board of directors approved ending the brand Wednesday morning. Ford plans to make up for the lost sales by expanding its luxury Lincoln brand. Mercury sold just over 92,000 vehicles last year.

Ford has 1,712 dealerships currently selling Mercurys. Some will continue selling Lincolns and Fords and some could be consolidated into existing Ford dealerships.

Ford didn't say how much it expects to pay to close the dealerships. But Americas President Mark Fields said the closure doesn't affect the company's forecast that it will be solidly profitable in 2010.

Ford says it doesn't plan to lay off any workers at its Dearborn, Mich., headquarters.

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