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By BOB GRITZINGER/AutoWeek


(Photo)The Mercury Montego is powered by Ford’s 3.0-liter V6 engine, which produces 200 hp and 200 lb-ft of torque.

OF THE 13 WORLD INTRODUCTIONS planned for the upcoming Chicago Auto Show, it’s not surprising that two of Detroit’s automakers will focus on new upscale sedans. Chicago’s show is tilted to the buying public, and spiffy sedans are as bread-and-butter as you can get.

Leading the charge is the Mercury Montego, a more sophisticated version of the Ford Five Hundred that debuted in production trim at the Detroit show. Ford’s Swedish subsidiary, Volvo, contributed chassis and safety stuff from its S80, V70 and XC90 to both the Five Hundred and the Montego.

Montego is powered by Ford’s 3.0-liter V6 engine, which produces 200 hp and 200 lb-ft of torque. Front-wheel-drive versions are offered with either a six-speed automatic or a continuously variable transmission. All-wheel-drive models get the CVT exclusively.

Once the 2005 Montego, Five Hundred and Freestyle get into production late this year in a Chicago-area factory, Ford will reduce Taurus and Sable production by half. Look for Montego pricing to start at about $25,000, compared with $22,000 base stickers on Five Hundreds.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
2004 Chicago: Buick and Mercury unveil new plans on friendly turf


By RICK KRANZ | Automotive News


(Photo)The Montego's interior features chrome and satin aluminum accents.

Mercury hopes to make a splash at the Chicago Auto Show this week.
Why Chicago? Despite aging car lines, the area remains loyal to domestic brands.

But will their loyal customers be willing to pay a higher price to own the next-generation Mercurys? That's the plan. The low-priced, deal-of-the-month models are expected to be eliminated.

And more important, will the new strategy help Mercury attract new blood? Many current buyers are retirees.

Last year the Chrysler brand attempted to shift a few notches upscale, beginning with the Pacifica. Eventually it was forced to downshift, resulting in a lower-priced Pacifica and eventually $3,000 cash on the hood.

The new direction for Mercury's car line can't come fast enough, say dealers. Car sales for both brands have been in a downward spiral. Mercury's car sales were off 24.3 percent.

Ford Motor Co. a is sending the A Team to Chicago. Among the heavy hitters are CEO Bill Ford; Jim Padilla, president of Ford North America; J Mays, the company's global design chief; and Darryl Hazel, president of Lincoln Mercury.

Ford Motor Co. has two big goals for the Chicago show.

First, make clear the economic importance of the automaker's refurbished Chicago-area assembly plant and the new supplier park. The plant will assemble the 2005 Ford Five Hundred sedan and the 2005 Freestyle wagon, along with Mercury's new flagship sedan, the 2005 Montego sedan. Production begins this summer. Bill Ford will address a Chicago Economic Club luncheon Feb. 4.

Second, and more important, Ford wants to build confidence in Mercury's future. Like Buick, the car side of the Mercury brand has been hurting. Last year Mercury sold 150,352 cars in the United States, compared with 198,614 the previous year. That was with two aging models, the Sable and Grand Marquis.

Executives will introduce the Montego, a mid-sized sedan that is expected to sticker in the $26,000 to $31,000 range and target such competitors as the Infiniti G35 and Toyota Avalon. They also will tout the new design direction for the brand and its more upscale repositioning. The Montego's styling draws on Europe's premium brands, especially Audi.

In an interview last month, Mays said Mercury's design will be about guilt-free luxury. The brand will try to tap into buyers willing to pay 20 percent to 200 percent premiums for well-designed and well-crafted goods from names such as Macintosh and Tiffany & Co., Mays said.

At a Chicago reception scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 3, the evening before the Montego is unveiled, Peter Horbury plans to talk about his vision for the Lincoln and Mercury brands. Horbury is the automaker's new head of North American design. He was Volvo's design chief when Ford bought Volvo in 1999.

Insiders say most of his presentation will center on the future of the Mercury brand - specifically, how Mercury vehicles will be differentiated from other Ford Motor Co. brands, including the Mazda6. The Mazda6 platform will be shared by the Ford, Mercury and Lincoln brands.
 

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Introduction of the Montego sedan represents a watershed event for the Mercury brand. It offers the whole package — great exterior design, surprisingly generous interior space and strong value. The Montego is adding new energy into the Lincoln-Mercury showroom. It’s what we want customers to expect from Lincoln-Mercury."
– Darryl B. Hazel
President, Lincoln-Mercury

Montego is Mercury’s All-New Premium Sedan – Graceful in Design, Rich in Features

Ford Motor Company is launching into the Year of the Car in 2004 by introducing six new car and crossover models, including an important sedan with available all-wheel drive for Mercury dealers: the all-new Montego.
The 2005 Montego mid sized sedan is the third of four all-new Mercurys that will arrive in showrooms over the next three years as Lincoln-Mercury continues to revamp and bolster its lineup.

Montego offers many innovations, including Ford’s industry-leading safety technology. Its all-new, continuously variable transmission and six-speed automatic transmission combine performance with fuel economy. And its European-inspired chassis delivers crisp, responsive handling.
Montego’s premium interior is roomy and contemporary. Its smart ergonomics – flexible seating and cargo storage capability – set new standards for midsize sedans. A spacious, second row and new-to-the-class "high-package" seating position provides for unprecedented passenger comfort and reinforces the driver’s commanding view of the road.
There is no mistaking the modern design cues on the new Montego for anything but a Mercury. The signature waterfall grille, strategic use of contrasting metallic surfaces such as satin aluminum and chrome, distinctive taillight bezels and unique tailoring continue the distinctive automotive design vision Edsel Ford set for Mercury some 65 years ago.

New Mercury Offering
Montego takes its place at the top of the midsize-sedan segment. Offered in Premier and Luxury trim levels, Montego’s distinctive exterior design, contemporary, roomy interior and available features like all-wheel-drive are expected to attract new customers to Mercury showrooms.
Montego continues the strong product momentum at Mercury that began with the launch of the Mountaineer sport utility vehicle in 2002 and continued with this fall’s introduction of the Monterey minivan.

Among Montego’s features are:
 Advanced high-intensity-discharge (HID) headlamps
 LED tail lamps that light up 200 milliseconds faster than traditional bulbs
 Available all-wheel-drive system for sure traction whatever the weather
or road conditions
 Natural, upright seating for maximum comfort and outward visibility
 Total interior volume that surpasses all vehicles in its class
 Among best-in-class acceleration and handling
 Energy-channeling frame structures and active safety features engineered by Ford and Volvo

In addition, the new Montego was engineered using the Total Vehicle Geometry protocol that measurably improves quality and adds to the car’s overall value.

Sculpted for Those Who Appreciate Design
Elements like premium materials, colors and surface textures signal that the all-new Montego sedan is an aspirational vehicle – a reward for those who value design.

"The design is refined, technical and substantial," said J Mays, Ford group vice president, design. "With Montego, we wanted to offer our customers an intelligent, sophisticated vehicle that reflects their worlds and brings outstanding design within reach of those who most appreciate it."
In Montego’s design language, "technical" describes its well-executed geometric exterior shapes, as well as its use of metallic surfaces like satin aluminum and chrome inside and out. Some design elements also incorporate technologies that deliver consumer benefits, like the HID headlamps that present a clearer view of the road at night, and LED taillights that provide highly visible communication to other drivers on the road.

Balance is an important aspect of the design. From any angle, the Montego offers a blend of satin and chrome, with the edge going toward satin aluminum – a material Chief Designer George Bucher calls "cooler than cool." The satin-metallic waterfall grille is complemented by the bright chrome, jeweled HID headlamps. And the technical, modern nature of the metal finish on Montego’s 18-inch alloy wheels (standard on the Premier series) is countered by the classic 15-spoke design.

"We’re blending a traditional luxury element – a spoke-like wheel – with a modern technical milled finish," Bucher said. "This blend of the traditional and the technical is very much part of the Mercury design persona."

Contemporary Interior
Attention to detail was important in establishing the proper interior environment for the Mercury Montego.
"Details are very important," Bucher said. "The details, like tastefully decorative elements, colors, patterns and textures, are designed to reward the occupants."

A key feature of Montego’s interior design is its upscale two-tone treatment. Bucher chose colors from the same family to preserve the sense of balance. "It’s a modern interpretation of two-tone," Bucher said. "It’s subtle, yet it establishes a distinctive persona in the showroom or in the driveway."
Surface textures invite interaction. Satin aluminum cuffs wrap the steering wheel spokes. Chrome is used on the door handles and on trim rings around the dash-mounted analog clock, gauges and climate control vents. The steering wheel and shift knob are wrapped in leather.
"The fabrics are soft to the touch," Bucher said. "The leather seats have a fine, ‘mini-perf’ texture, as opposed to coarser European-style perforation patterns. All of the surface treatments invite you to touch."

Comfort and Convenience
Montego’s interior dimensions put it among the leaders in virtually every category, including best-in-class headroom and knee room in the second row. The natural, upright seating position – borrowed from sport utilities like the Mercury Mountaineer – offers both comfort and visibility that give the driver confidence and command of the road.

In designing the high-position seating, engineers focused on maximizing height of the "H-point," or pivot point of the human hip. The vertical distance from the H-point to the floor determines whether the seating position is upright or "stretched out." In Montego’s front row, for example, the distance between the H-point and the heel-point – where the occupant’s foot touches the floor – is 12.7 inches. This is the most generous in its class, more than an inch greater than its nearest competitor. This design also makes for easier entry and exit.

Comfort is further enhanced through premium features like a power-adjustable driver’s seat, tilt steering wheel, optional power-adjustable pedals and available two-user memory function (standard on Premier) for the exterior mirrors, seat and pedal positions. The driver’s power window has one-touch operation in both directions. A power moonroof and Rear Park Assist also are available.

Montego’s trunk is deceptively large, with a class-leading 21 cubic feet of space – nearly 50 percent larger than most competitors. With the split, second-row seat folded, the trunk expands to offer a best-in-class 49.9 inches of total load floor length. The front passenger seat also can fold flat for added cargo-carrying capability.

First-row seats have two power points, including one in the center console, handy for recharging portable devices like mobile phones or laptop computers. A small cutout prevents the charger cord from getting pinched when the console lid is closed.

Other storage areas include:
 Map pockets on the back of the front seats
 Storage pockets with molded-in bottle holders in all four doors
 Four cup holders – two each in the front console and rear-seat pull-down
center armrest
 Standard overhead console, with storage for sunglasses and other
small items

Montego Offers Crisp Handling, Braking, Acceleration and Sure Traction
Engineers drew on best practices from throughout Ford Motor Company to craft the confident ride and handling that define the new Mercury Montego sedan.

The Volvo-inspired chassis provides a stable platform, with fully independent suspension for a quiet ride and responsive handling. The proven Duratec 30 V-6 engine has been refined for smoother, quieter operation. The all-new, continuously variable transmission, developed with joint venture partner ZF-Batavia, and premium six-speed automatic transmission, developed by Aisin AW, each offer wide overall gear ratios for strong acceleration and economical operation. The CVT, which precisely selects the right gear ratio to meet the performance demanded by the driver, makes the Montego’s relatively small, fuel-efficient V-6 feel like a larger engine. It is standard on all-wheel-drive versions of the new sedan.

Although final fuel economy numbers won’t be available until closer to the launch date, the all-new Mercury Montego is expected to be among the most efficient in its class.

Sure-Footed Traction
Mercury Montego’s optional all-wheel-drive system also uses electronic controls to achieve optimum performance whether on dry, wet or snow-covered roads – or traveling through mud or sand.
At the heart of the AWD system is an electronically controlled, electro-hydraulic Haldex limited slip coupling located between the drive shaft and the rear differential. Normally, the vehicle functions with front-wheel drive only. But when the Haldex controller senses a difference in speed between the front wheels and rear wheels, it taps into available drive-shaft torque and distributes up to 100 percent to the rear wheels. All this happens so quickly – within 50 milliseconds – the driver may never know traction was compromised.

Suspension Design Aids Ride, Handling
The suspension design was inspired by Volvo and optimized for the Montego using computer-aided-engineering modeling. The multi-link, independent rear suspension assembly is built on a stout, U-shaped subframe that boasts exceptional torsional stiffness. Its resistance to shaking, bending and other movement under road impact allows shock absorbers, springs and bushings to do their jobs better. The rear suspension uses 30 different bushings – each computer-designed to perform specific tasks.

In all-wheel-drive models, the rear subframe is attached to the chassis by four isolated mounts that prevent vibrations from reaching occupants. All-wheel-drive Montegos also employ Nivomat self-leveling rear shocks by Sachs. They feature internal valves that sense ride height, and, when required, use energy from the vehicle’s own motion to increase hydraulic pressure inside the shocks to raise the car. This ensures that all-wheel-drive Montegos maintain the desired ride level under various loads, like when the trunk is heavily laden.

The front suspension uses MacPherson struts with a rearward-facing L-arm, which provides quick steering while isolating the cabin from road shocks.

Braking Benefits From Systems Approach
Braking feel and response are enhanced by oversized rotors, dual-piston aluminum front calipers and high-friction pad materials. The standard anti-lock braking system improves performance on slippery surfaces, and electronic brake force distribution continually optimizes the balance between the front and rear brakes. A new type of high-friction, low-metallic brake pad material produces less dust than comparable pads.

The dual-piston front brake calipers are made from cast aluminum that reduces vehicle weight by 10.8 pounds when compared to comparably sized cast iron single-piston calipers. The front brake discs are 315 mm (12.4 in.) in diameter by 28 mm (1.1 in.) thick. The rear brake discs are slightly larger – 330 mm (13 in.) in diameter – but only 11 mm (0.43 in.) thick.
Safety Built on Strong Foundation

The all-new 2005 Mercury Montego builds on Ford’s industry-leading Personal Safety System™ with new features – including best practices inspired from Volvo – that address front-, side- and rear-impact protection.
When equipped with optional side air bags and Safety Canopy™ side curtain air bags, Mercury Montego is expected to earn top ratings in crash tests. These independent tests will be conducted after the Montego reaches U.S. showrooms.

The vehicle also is expected to meet the stringent new Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 208 that governs front-impact protection for variously sized occupants – whether belted, unbelted or out of position – and a proposed future standard for rear impacts.
Front, side and rear structural elements were engineered with crash safety in mind. Montego engineers balanced the need for structural strength to safeguard the passenger compartment from intrusion with the need for collapsible elements that absorb energy and reduce the overall crash "pulse" that ultimately reaches vehicle occupants.

The front structure uses a "tripod" design that channels frontal crash forces upward and downward into a high-strength steel "ring" of protection surrounding the passenger compartment.
For protection in side impacts, the two B-pillars are braced together at the top by a structural roof bow that crosses the vehicle. Acting somewhat like a lever anchored at the roof rail, the strong, reinforced top portion of the B-pillar safeguards occupants while the lower portion absorbs energy. This energy is channeled further through a cross-car tube derived from Volvo’s Side Impact Protection System (SIPS). The front seats are mounted atop this SIPS tube, placing them above the energy path.

Montego’s active safety systems collect information from various sensors throughout the car – including a seat-position sensor that determines the driver’s distance from the steering wheel, a weight-sensor in the front passenger seat, crash severity sensors and rollover sensors used for the
Safety Canopy™ – to tailor response to the type and severity of the impact.
The driver and passenger air bags offer two levels of deployment speed to match specific crash situations. If the front passenger seat is occupied by a child, or is empty, the passenger air bag is suppressed. A new adaptive steering column collapses horizontally at two different speeds, based on whether the driver is belted or unbelted.

Other elements of the Personal Safety System™ include safety belt pretensioners, load-limiting retractors and optional seat-deployed side air bags. Every seating position gets three-point safety belts and head restraints. The patented BeltMinder™ system reminds the driver and front passenger to buckle up. Up to two compatible child seats can be attached to the LATCH – lower
anchors and tethers for children – points in the rear seat.

Total Vehicle Geometry Provides Formula for Quality
Montego benefits from Total Vehicle Geometry – a proprietary quantitative approach to quality developed by Volvo. TVG examines every aspect of vehicle engineering continuously, from the first day of the design process through prototyping and full production.
Under TVG, all engineers take responsibility for a "systems" approach to in the creation of the vehicle. They keep all of the CAD drawings continuously up to date so that future vehicle programs can benefit from the latest engineering solutions.







 

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Discussion Starter #4
Car & Driver

Mercury Montego

Riding on the Volvo P2 (S60/S80) platform, the new Montego is Mercury’s replacement for the long-in-tooth Sable. The Montego offers ample room for five adults, 21 cubic feet of trunk space, and luxurious features such as high-intensity discharge headlamps, LED taillights, and 18-inch wheels. Power comes from a 3.0-liter, 200-horsepower V-6 that can be paired with a six-speed automatic or a new continuously variable transmission (CVT), which is the only tranny available on all-wheel-drive models. Prices will start at about $22,000 for a front-driver and will top out at around $30,000 for an all-wheel-driver. It goes on sale in late fall.

 

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Mercury Bolsters Its Chicago Ties With Montego Sedan

Reported by Michelle Krebs, cars.com;
photographed by Adrian McDermott, cars.com

The 2005 Mercury Montego will be available with all-wheel drive.


CHICAGO — Mercury unveiled the Montego on Wednesday at the Chicago Auto Show. The sedan will be built at parent Ford Motor Co.’s Chicago assembly plant. The automaker further announced it will build a crossover vehicle that also will be produced at the Chicago plant.

Darryl Hazel, president of Lincoln Mercury Division, said Chicago has played an important role in Mercury’s history with the company’s first vehicle, a 1939 Mercury 8, built in Chicago. Since then, the Mercury Marquis and Sable have rolled off the assembly line in Chicago.

“Lincoln Mercury is in the midst of a renaissance,” Hazel said. “We will introduce 11 new models representing six new segments over the next four years. In fact, the entire showroom will be new by 2007.”

Of the 11 new models, six will carry the Mercury name badge, Hazel said. Among them will be the Montego, which goes on sale this fall. Mercury’s first new sedan in nearly 20 years shares its same basic architecture with the new Ford Five Hundred. The Montego features distinctly Mercury styling, especially its grille. Inside, the spacious Montego provides “SUV seating” and a comfortable interior as James Padilla, Ford executive vice president, described it.

The Montego will be offered in front- and all-wheel drive. Two engines will be available: the new 2.3-liter Duratec 23 four-cylinder and the 3.0-liter Duratec 30 V-6. Transmissions include a four-speed automatic; a continuously variable transmission that shifts not at fixed points but when optimum for smoothness and fuel economy; and a six-speed automatic, unique to the segment. Up to six airbags are available on the Montego, including Ford’s Safety Canopy, which deploys from the roof and covers the entire sides of the car in a side impact.

Padilla also announced that the Chicago plant, which will produce the Montego, will also build a crossover vehicle that is car-based but features SUV and minivan attributes. No name has been given to the vehicle, nor was an introduction date given. The Mercury model will be based on the new Ford Freestyle, which goes on sale this fall.

Montego buyers will be able to choose either a four-cylinder or V-6 engine. Three transmissions will also be offered.


The Montego features distinctly Mercury styling, especially its grille.


The shape of the Montego’s taillights are shared with its sibling, the Ford Five Hundred.


The Montego features a leather-wrapped steering wheel with aluminum cuffs.


Consumers can expect the Montego to include a stylish interior with features such as a storage box built into the dashboard.


A look at what James Padilla, Ford executive vice president, described as the Montego’s comfortable “SUV seating.”
 
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