At the New York Auto Show, Ford showed a preview of a new sedan designed to share a market segment with the Taurus and Sable. Lincoln also unveiled the 2003 Lincoln at the auto show. The new SUV is based on the Mountaineer, comes equipped with a 4.6-liter DOHC V-8 that is expected to produce 300 hp. Production of the Aviator is scheduled to begin this June. The new sedan, dubbed the Ford Five Hundred, was developed from the inside out, using what Ford calls its “high package” design strategy. The result is a car with the roominess of a full-sized car and with the exterior dimensions of a mid-size car. It offers nearly 3.5 feet of legroom in the rear, more than some large luxury sedans. In front, the Five Hundred offers the high driving position buyers of SUVs and minivans prefer, providing an excellent view of the road and ease of entry and exit. According to Chris Theodore, Ford vice president of North American Product Development, “We decided to put some of the features people love about minivans and SUVs into our all-new sedan.” Power for the Five Hundred will come from a new version of the 3.0L Duratec V-6, driving through either a six-speed automatic transmission or a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The CVT is the first to be developed under Ford’s joint venture with ZF, an independent specialist for driveline and chassis technology. Production of the Five Hundred will begin at Ford’s Chicago Assembly Plant in 2004.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials