USA: Ford's 'All-Amerivan Drive' Takes Off From Atlanta
Ford Motor Company launched two all-new minivans in the Southeast today -- putting them on some freewheeling, winding roads leading from Atlanta. During Ford's "All-AmeriVan" minivan drive, news media test drove the all-new 2004 Ford Freestar and Mercury Monterey from Atlanta to Warm Springs, Ga.
Warm Springs was an appropriate destination. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) was so enchanted with the town that he built the only house he ever owned there. And the "Little White House" is where FDR's famous car, a 1938-model Ford convertible, is parked. The car was equipped with custom hand controls to enable the president to drive himself around. FDR offered America a "New Deal." Ford is offering America two new minivans designed to meet the changing needs of today's customers.
"The all-new Freestar raises the water mark and sets the new standard for safety in the minivan market," said Stu Smith, Ford Division's new car launch manager. "It has more safety and security features than any other minivan, including a segment-exclusive Safety CanopyTM side curtain air bag system with rollover sensor, offering protection for all three rows of seating in side-impact collisions and rollovers."
Mercury Monterey Marketing Manager Philip Smoker said, "Mercury has tripled the investment in interior design and Monterey is evidence of that." He said, "Monterey's contemporary styling has a family resemblance to today's Mountaineer."
The new 2004 Monterey, Mercury's first long-wheelbase luxury minivan, is the first of four new vehicles coming to the brand in the next three years.
The 2004 Ford Freestar is designed to be the most flexible, most powerful and highest-quality minivan Ford has ever built.
Quality improvements have been made on both minivans. Reduced noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) were top engineering priorities. Wind noise was significantly reduced and is equal to the best in the minivan segments. Freestar and Monterey have considerably more sound insulation than previous Ford minivans and have more aerodynamically designed roof rails and crossbars, as well as thicker window glass and extremely well-sealed doors and windows. Much of the sheet metal is made on new stamping equipment, which results in better build quality and tighter seals.
Monterey's price ranges from $29,995 for the Convenience package to $35,525 for the Premier package. Freestar base prices range from $24,460 to $33,630 -- including destination and delivery. Four trim series – SE, SES, SEL and Limited – are expected to account for about 90 percent of all Freestar sales. These models will be priced about the same price or below similarly equipped 2003 Windstars. Both vehicles will arrive in dealer showrooms in volume in October and November. They are built at Ford Motor Company’s Oakville (Ontario) Assembly Plant.