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Ford touts product blitz

Monday, January 6, 2003
New Mustang, F-150 lead list in biggest-ever company unveiling

By Mark Truby / The Detroit News

DETROIT -- Showing off a raft of new concept vehicles and future production cars and trucks on Sunday, Ford Motor Co. set out to squash the perception that its product pipeline is dry.

On a flashy new display in Cobo Center and in a pair of news conferences, Ford pulled the covers off 15 new vehicles, from concepts of the new 2005 Mustang GT to a glimpse of the all-new 2004 F-150.

It's "the biggest auto show product reveal in our history," Ford Chairman and CEO Bill Ford said.

After losing $5.45 billion in 2001 and launching a turnaround plan, Ford in early 2002 promised to revitalize the company with an infusion of new cars and trucks. Ford's goal for this year's North American International Auto Show is to back up that statement.

"People are thinking we don't have any products," said David Thursfield, executive vice president in charge of purchasing and international operations. "We are going to confound our critics."

Ford executives admit the Detroit auto show, attended by more than 6,000 journalists around the world, is crucial to generating excitement about its cars and trucks.

The stakes for Ford add to the already considerable pressure on Detroit's hometown automakers to outshine the competition.

"There is always pressure," Ford President Nick Scheele said. "This is an industry that lives, breathes and eats pressure. We really have to blow the competition out of the water. That's what we set out to do."

On Sunday night, Ford unveiled concept versions of the 2005 Mustang. The pony car has reached near icon status -- selling 8 million cars over the past 39 years -- but its sales dipped 18 percent last year.

Ford executives will be closely monitoring the reaction to the Mustang convertible and coupe show cars.

Today's introduction of the 2004 F-150, on sale this summer, will be the most important new vehicle for Ford this year. The F-Series represents a quarter of Ford's North American sales volume.

A new Mercury sports car called the Messenger, a hot rod sedan Ford sedan dubbed the 427 and the Lincoln Navicross luxury utility vehicle were among the other concepts Ford showed off Sunday.

"A lot of those concepts are pretty close to what you'll see on the road," Scheele said.

(Photo)John T. Greilick / The Detroit News
Ford Motor Co. designer J Mays introduced the Mustang GT Coupe concept car for 2005 on Sunday night.

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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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