SEDAN TO HAVE SIBLINGS: Fusion structure is basis for other cars
BY MARK PHELAN
FREE PRESS AUTO CRITIC
The 2006 Fusion's basic structure will form the basis for nine more new vehicles coming from the Ford, Lincoln and Mercury brands over the next several years.
Ford expects to eventually sell 800,000 Fusion-based vehicles annually in North America.
That makes the Fusion architecture -- code name CD3 in Ford terminology -- vital to the company's future.
An architecture is a single set of components and structures from which a variety of different cars can be built. CD3 is an evolution of the architecture Mazda developed for its 6 sedan, station wagon and hatchback.
The Lincoln Zephyr and Mercury Milan midsize sedans that go on sale this month will be the next CD3 cars to hit the road. Ford will build them alongside the Fusion in Hermosillo, Mexico.
They will be followed in 2006 by two new midsize crossover wagons, the Ford Edge and Lincoln Aviator. The Edge and Aviator should be about the size of the Honda Pilot, and they are likely to offer three rows of seats and room for seven passengers. They will go on sale as 2007 models.
Ford's Oakville, Ontario, plant will build the Edge, Aviator and a Mercury crossover that will go into production later.
The final four CD3 models remain a mystery. Ford has not said anything about where it will build them, but its assembly plants in Atlanta and Wixom look like the leading candidates.