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An “M” Thing

Four new Mercurys in the next two years

It’s no secret that the Mercury Monterey (a name that should jog more than a few Boomer memories) is aimed directly at the empty-nesters — the baby boomer crowd that will help spur on a little growth in the minivan segment over the next few years.

The Monterey differs little from the Freestar save for the monochromatic exterior color scheme (which includes two unique to Mercury colors and the Mercury ‘waterfall’ grille. The Mercury also has brushed aluminum trim around the fog lamps and chrome accents around the tail lamps.

Where Ford intends to set the Monterey apart (as well as all other Mercurys) is inside. The Monterey has all of the design cues and amenities that you would expect to find in a luxury sedan. The interior is trimmed in dark wood and chrome accents with the obligatory analog clock smack in the middle of the IP between the HVAC ducts.

Monterey gets the Mercury treatment which includes monochromatic paint, waterfall grille, chrome trimmed fog lamps and an upscale interior complete with analog clock mounted on the center of the dash.
The Monterey also offers heated and cooled front seats, a premium audio system, rear-seat DVD entertainment system, tri-zone temperature control and power-adjustable pedals with memory. Monterey also gets front and rear parking sensors and, like Freestar, a Delphi-supplied power liftgate will be available later in the year. Monterey comes standard with a 201 hp 4.2L V-6.

Monterey sets the stage for Mercury’s revitalization which includes four new products over the next two calendar years — all re-badged Fords with distinctive two-toned and upgraded interiors. Following in the 2004 calendar year will be the Mariner (a re-badged Escape) and Montego (a retro-named version of the Ford 500). In 2005 Mercury will bring out what Mercury Marketing Manager John Fitzpatrick calls ‘a flagship vehicle’ which he tells us will be a car.

Lincoln will bring out three new products in less than three years — a new car, a crossover vehicle and a Lincoln flagship vehicle.

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