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By AMY WILSON | Automotive News

Ford Motor Co. will build a Mercury version of its new Ford Freestyle sport wagon.

Ford Motor CEO Bill Ford confirmed the new Mercury Wednesday in presentations during the Chicago auto show. No images or a name for the vehicle were revealed. The automaker also isn't saying when the Mercury sport wagon will go on sale, but a 2005 launch seems likely.

The 2005 Ford Freestyle will go on sale in late summer or early fall, along with the Ford Five Hundred and Mercury Montego sedans. Those three models, plus the new Mercury, will be built at Ford Motor's Chicago assembly plant.

The new Mercury in part will support up to 600 additional jobs at that Chicago assembly plant and a nearby supplier park, Bill Ford said.

About 300 jobs will be added to the assembly plant, bringing employment there to 2,700. The supplier park, which is just getting under way for this summer's launch of the new models in Chicago, will get up to 300 jobs, bringing its total employment to as many as 1,300.

Under its contract with the UAW, employees transferring from other Ford Motor factories will be given preference for jobs at the Chicago assembly plant.

About nine Tier 1 and Tier 2 production suppliers operate at the Chicago supplier park, located on a 155-acre site a half mile east of the plant. The suppliers include Lear Corp., Visteon Corp., Tower Automotive and Brose.
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