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By AMY WILSON | Automotive News

DETROIT -- Ford Division intends to classify the 2005 Freestyle sport wagon as a light truck for corporate average fuel economy purposes.

The Freestyle qualifies because its fold-down third seat creates a flat floor, Ford Motor Co. says. The classification also is consistent with other car-based crossovers on the market, Ford says.

The Freestyle is built on the Ford Five Hundred car platform. It will be produced alongside the Ford Five Hundred and Mercury Montego sedans at Ford's Chicago assembly plan beginning this summer.

The Freestyle is among a number of carlike vehicles classified by their makers as trucks in order to help CAFE performance. Manufacturers submit those classifications to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which can then object.
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