At this year's New York International Auto Show, Ford is giving media a preview of the Ford Five Hundred, a new car that is one of the 20 new products Ford Motor Company will introduce each year across its brands in North America through 2005. The Five Hundred was created from the inside out using Ford's "high-package" design strategy. As a result, the car's interior roominess is equal to and even better than many larger cars -- while retaining the exterior proportions, maneuverability, and fuel-economy benefits of a mid-size car. The Ford Five Hundred seats five adult passengers, with spaciousness in the rear -- including nearly three-and-a-half feet of leg room. The cockpit is designed to allow drivers of all shapes and sizes to find comfortable seating positions. The Five Hundred's "command-of-road" driving position is derived from one of the features minivan and SUV buyers regularly cite as a major selling point. The car's "greenhouse" area has been crafted to provide more headroom and the ability to raise the "H-point" - or hip-point - of the front seats. The design also affords a more "upright" position of the front seats. The Five Hundred will use a new version of Ford's 3.0-liter Duratec V-6 and also feature a six-speed automatic or a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). The CVT is the first of the new technologically advanced transmissions developed and produced under Ford's joint venture with ZF, an independent specialist for driveline and chassis technology. The Five Hundred will feature the latest level of Ford's Personal Safety The new sedan also will feature anti-lock brakes, traction control, side-curtain air bags and AdvanceTrac, an interactive vehicle dynamic stability control system. Production of the new Five Hundred will begin at Ford’s Chicago Assembly Plant in 2004.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials