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US:Ford planning to boost number of mainstream models offering optional nav system

Ford planning to boost number of mainstream models offering optional navigation system

GREG BOWENS | Automotive News

Ford Motor Co. has embarked on a plan to put navigation systems into its mainstream vehicles.

"There are many possibilities going forward on a lot of mass-production vehicles at Ford and Lincoln Mercury," said Elena Ford, director of North America product marketing.

"As vehicles get freshened, you can put new navigation systems in them."

The 2006 Lincoln Zephyr and Mercury Mountaineer will be among six additional 2006 Ford Motor vehicles to offer navigation systems, Elena Ford said. She declined to name the other models or to discuss pricing.

But industry sources say the other four nameplates will be the Ford Explorer and Explorer Sport Trac SUVs, Five Hundred sedan and Freestyle sport wagon.

"The trend is for automakers to offer navigation systems, at least as an option, on almost all cars within the next five years," according to analyst Jesse Toprak. "Mid-sized cars are the next biggest growth segment for navigation systems. Following that will be compact SUVs and compact cars."

Navigation systems are common in the luxury segment. Ford offers navigation systems on some of its most expensive vehicles such as the Lincoln Navigator, on which the option costs around $3,000 on the 4x4 Ultimate editions.

But navigation systems are beginning to find their way into mainstream nameplates such as the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and Nissan Maxima. Industry analysts say Ford's plan means the automaker is moving aggressively to compete in the family sedan market.

"For people who are indecisive between Ford and an import brand, this will cause them to take a second look at Ford," Toprak says.

To bring costs down, auto suppliers are exploring such things as hand-held global positioning phones and the concept of beaming satellite map data into the vehicle. Those approaches could make such systems more attractive to buyers of lower-priced vehicles.

Pioneer Electronics will supply Ford with navigation systems, and NAVTEQ Corp. will provide map data.

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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