Speculation about the demise of Ford's Mercury brand has been rife for the past year, with many analysts convinced the struggling brand is in its death throes and will be axed soon. While Ford continues to deny such rumors, the Blue Oval's actions are speaking louder than its words - no new vehicles are on the horizon for Mercury, and its current stable is only being given cursory updates.

The current list of planned updates will also see Mercury though until the end of the 2011 model year and at present there are no further updates, reports Automotive News.

The updated 2010 Milan sedan will go on sale early next year and will be joined be a hybrid variant. The revised model will be distinguished by new styling both front and rear. The interior will also be updated with elements picked up from the restyled Ford Fusion, with which it shares its platform.

The Sable could be the first Mercury model to be dropped from Ford’s lineup. The car on which it’s based, the Taurus, will receive a major overhaul for the 2010 model year but there are no plans to change the Sable.

After the Sable goes, the Grand Marquis will likely follow. Ford doesn’t have any plans to redesign the Crown Victoria sedan on which it’s based and there’s even some doubt as to whether or not Ford will continue with the development of its next-generation RWD platform.

The Mariner (pictured) was updated for the 2008 model year alongside its Ford Escape sibling but it may not be replaced by a new model. Ford is expected to adopt the next-generation version of Europe’s Kuga crossover for the Escape replacement and there’s no word on whether or not the Mariner will also be replaced.

Finally, the Mountaineer SUV will likely be dropped once its Ford Explorer sibling moves to a unibody platform for the next-generation model due early next decade.