The first Mercury was a 1939 Mercury Eight, which sold about 66,000 units its first year. The Mercury brand, which during its span competed directly with the Oldsmobile-Buick and Chrysler brands, was often in flux. Different time periods meant different focus for the brand, sometimes on performance and sometimes on luxury. Often, it was up to the specific vehicle model being considered rather than the brand itself. During one brief point, the brand brought two of its German vehicles to the U.S. under the Merkur name.
During the 2000s, the Mercury brand's sales figures were in steady decline from about 359,000 units in 2000 to just 93,000 unis in 2010 when the announcement for the brand's discontinuation was made. Interestingly, aside from some early models that are highly prized by collectors, the most collectible Mercury vehicles tend to be those of newer make, generally from the 1980s. Notably the 1983 Cougar and 1986 Sable. The final Mercury vehicle to roll off the assembly line was a Grand Marquis on January 4, 2011.