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Old 06-23-2003, 07:13   #1 (permalink)
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Ford, Lincoln will add sport wagons; mid-sized vehicles will be introduced in August

By RICK KRANZ | Automotive News

Ford Division and Lincoln are planning to add a mid-sized sport wagon to their lineups beginning in August 2006, a Ford source says.

The vehicles will be developed off the front-drive Mazda6 platform and will be targeted at the booming sport wagon market, which includes the Lexus RX 330, Acura MDX, Nissan Murano and Honda Pilot.

The car-based vehicles feature the ride and handling of a sedan with much of the capability of an SUV.

The Ford and Lincoln sport wagons will offer all-wheel drive.

With the exception of the Ford Escape, the automaker has been slow to react to this growing segment for the Ford, Mercury and Lincoln brands, concentrating on heavier, full-fledged SUVs. But the automaker will add the Ford Freestyle sport wagon, which uses some Volvo architecture, and the Mercury Mariner, a sister to the Escape, in 2004.

At the New York auto show in April, Ford Motor Co. announced that the Mazda6 platform would be used for a wide range of vehicles that would be produced in North America, generating combined sales of 800,000 units by approximately 2008.

"This platform gives us a lot of variety, a lot of flexibility in terms of cars and sport-utilities," said a Ford manager last week who asked not to be identified. "At the New York auto show, we talked about a platform spawning 10 derivatives. These are derivatives." While the automaker has not made an announcement, the Ford and Lincoln sport wagons are expected to be assembled at the Oakville, Ontario, plant, which now assembles the Ford Windstar.

The Windstar will be re-engineered for the 2004 model year and will be renamed the Freestar. Mercury will market a version for the 2004 model year called the Monterey.

But when the minivans are redesigned for the 2008 or 2009 model year, the minivans will be developed off the Mazda6 platform.

Toronto's Globe and Mail newspaper reported Wednesday, June 18, that the Oakville, Ontario, plant will be able to produce about 200,000 sport wagons and 150,000 minivans off the Mazda6 platform.

(Photo)Mazda's wagon version of the Mazda6, known as the Atenza in Japan, is shown here.
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File Type: jpeg atenza.jpeg (15.1 KB, 7 views)
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My first car was a 67 Mustang Coupe, 2nd one was a 67 Cougar XR-7, 3rd one was a 66 Mustang Coupe. Why did I get rid of these cars for ? I know why, because I'm stupid, stupid, stupid.

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