By Andrew Ganz
Monday, Jul 27th, 2009 @ 1:56 pm
 
Ford Motor Company will apparently stop production of the Ford Explorer Sport Trac pickup and the Mercury Mountaineer SUV (pictured) about this time next year when the automaker retools its Louisville, Kentucky, assembly plant to build the new unibody Ford Explorer.

The move, hardly a surprise given the dwindling sales of the two models, will give more capacity for other vehicles at the Louisville plant.

Mercury managed to move just 10,596 Mountaineers last year. Essentially a rebadged version of the Explorer, the Mountaineer was conceived for the 1997 model year during the SUV boom in an effort to stretch automaker's lineup. When the Mountaineer goes, Mercury will be left with just a trio of products: The aging Grand Marquis, the Mariner and the recently redesigned Milan. It is possible that Ford will create a version of the Edge/Lincoln MKZ for Mercury dealers to sell.

Demand for the Sport Trac, which is grouped together with the Explorer in the automaker's sales figures, has dropped from about 60,000 units annually to a pace that will likely top out at around 10,000 units this year.