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Mr. Embargo
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Riding the strength of new sport utility vehicles, 2003 calendar year sales for Lincoln this week exceeded the total for all of 2002. This marks the first annual sales increase for Lincoln in three years.

Including December sales reported through the middle of this week, Lincoln has surpassed the 150,057 new vehicles sold in all of 2002.

Leading the way are SUV sales, which have nearly doubled in 2003. Sales for the Navigator full-size SUV were up 23-percent through November to 33,753. The Aviator, a premium mid-size SUV introduced late last year, added 26,598 units through the first 11 months.

"This is no small achievement in today's market," said Al Giombetti, general sales manager for Lincoln-Mercury. "Overall industry sales are down and competition is intense. What's more, we reached this milestone despite discontinuing two vehicles, the Continental sedan and the Blackwood truck.

"The credit for this belongs with our innovative products, which are providing the features and luxury that customers want, and our strong dealer network. Our dealers have stepped up this year and shown what this franchise is capable of," Giombetti said.

Also behind the increase are higher retail sales. Through November, Lincoln retail sales were up eight percent, while fleet sales declined eight percent. Total Lincoln sales through November were 143,950, an increase of six percent.

"Driving retail sales growth has been a focus of both Lincoln and Mercury all year long," said Giombetti. "Stronger retail sales translate into stronger underlying business fundamentals for Lincoln- Mercury. Look for more retail sales growth from our division in 2004 as we maintain our focus and introduce two new great products from Mercury, the Montego sedan and Mariner compact SUV."
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