New Ford sedan to be based on CrossTrainer...
New Ford sedan to be based on CrossTrainer architecture, design chief says
By MARY CONNELLY
Ford Division will build a large sedan based on the engineering architecture of the upcoming Ford CrossTrainer sport wagon, said J Mays, Ford vice president of design.
Ford Motor Co. also may bring the Ford Mondeo compact sedan back to the U.S. market, Mays said, speaking at a Morgan Stanley automotive conference Monday. The Mondeo would likely wear a Mercury badge.
Ford will announce the new vehicle at the New York Auto Show, possibly as early as Wednesday.
The new Ford car is unlikely to reach Ford Division showrooms before the end of the 2004 calendar year. Ford begins building the seven-passenger CrossTrainer at its Chicago assembly plant in calendar 2004. The CrossTrainer is a tall wagon, a vehicle that drives like a car but has the interior space and looks of a sport-utility.
"Another vehicle we will be talking about a little later in the week is based off of this exact same (CrossTrainer) architecture,'' Mays said. "It is a large sedan. Stay tuned. It will be a major announcement.'
"The CrossTrainer is going to have a major positive image shift for the Blue Oval,'' Mays added. Ford is trying to restore the reputation of Ford Division after the Firestone tire recall. "And a large sedan based off of that architecture is also going to create a major swing.''
Ford produces the Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable sedans in two assembly plants. When Ford begins assembling CrossTrainer in Chicago, Taurus/Sable sedan production will be halved.
The Ford Mondeo may be sold in the United States beginning in 2003, Mays said. Ford discontinued the Mondeo-based Ford Contour sedan in the U.S. in the 2000 model year.
"I wish we had persevered,'' Nick Scheele, Ford Motor president, said in January.
"Are there vehicles that are currently in the European marketplace that we could bring to the U.S. under either a Ford blue oval or the Premier Automotive Group?'' Mays said. Premier Automotive Group includes the Mercury and Lincoln brands. "We are looking at Mondeo,'' Mays said. "We haven't made our decision on it. It would make an excellent product if we could bring it into the market at the right price point.''
Modifications required to meet U.S. governmental regulations are primarily in the headlamps and bumpers and would require "a little over a year," Mays said.
Ford Motor is in the midst of rebuilding its Mercury brand. In February, Lincoln Mercury executives told dealers that the company has funded an additional Mercury sedan.
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.....