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Old 02-23-2003, 16:39   #1 (permalink)
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Ford looking at producing more rear-drive vehicles from redesigned Mustang platform

By AMY WILSON | Automotive News

DETROIT - Ford Motor Co. is looking at using the platform of the redesigned Ford Mustang to produce other rear-drive vehicles.

Ford signaled its intentions when it put the Ford 427 concept, shown at the Detroit auto show, on the revamped Mustang platform.

"It's early yet," said Jim Padilla, Ford North America group vice president, at the Chicago Auto Show last week, "but the feedback on the 427 has been by and large very positive.

"Certainly it plays very well upscale, which is very encouraging to us. As a top-of-the-line Mercury or maybe in the Lincoln showroom it has possibilities.

"It could wear a top-of-the-line Ford badge. We really have to think about how to stretch the Ford range."

Padilla confirmed that the Mustang's Fox platform, which dates to 1978, would be scrapped for the 2005 Mustang, due in showrooms in fall 2004.

Ford will use a less expensive version of the rear-drive DEW platform used for the Lincoln LS, Jaguar S-Type and Ford Thunderbird.

"We're going to put a modern chassis on this vehicle," Padilla said Monday, Feb. 10, at an event announcing the Mustang's new production location at AutoAlliance International, a Ford-Mazda joint venture plant in Flat Rock, Mich.

Padilla declined to describe the changes made to the platform for the Mustang but said changes were necessary because DEW is a "very expensive" platform.

A vehicle platform is a common set of components from which a variety of vehicles can be built. Components include the floorpan, drivetrain and suspension configuration, as well as common locating points for body assembly.

With the Mustang's move to AutoAlliance, the Flat Rock plant is expected to ramp up to production of 300,000 by 2005 or 2006. That could include as many as 170,000 Mustangs, with the remainder fulfilled with variations of the Mazda6. AutoAlliance will add about 1,400 jobs and a second shift of workers.

Production of the Mazda6 sedan began at AutoAlliance in October, and the plant should build 90,000 to 100,000 in 2003 for sale in North America, said Phil Spender, AutoAlliance CEO.

Mary Olson, plant chairwoman for UAW Local 3000, says the plant has plans to start building hatchback and wagon versions of the Mazda6 in February 2004.

Staff Reporter Richard Truett contributed to this report
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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.

My next Ford.....
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