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Ford won't add a car between Taurus, Focus

January 01, 2003|From Chicago Tribune

Contrary to recent reports, Ford Motor Co. does not plan to add a car that fits between the mid-size Taurus and the compact Focus in size and price, Ford division President Steve Lyons said.

"You'll have to do a lot of convincing to prove to me we need a car between the Taurus and Focus," he said during a recent stop in Chicago to meet with dealers.

Lyons said the price difference between the two was in- sufficient to warrant another model. The Focus runs from $13,300 to $19,000 and the Taurus from $20,000 to $24,000.

"We have the market covered from the standpoint of price," he said. "You couldn't shoehorn one in there."

Recent news reports said Ford would add a sedan based on the European Mondeo to fit below the flagship Taurus. Ford tried that before with the 1995-2000 Contour, a Mondeo-based sedan that was almost as expensive as the Taurus but had less interior space.

The Focus, which offered more room at a lower price, made the Contour expendable.

Although Ford sells more passenger cars in the U.S. than any other brand, its car sales were down nearly 14% year over year, to 801,607, through November.

Toyota had passed Chevrolet for second place and closed to within 27,000 of Ford.

Lyons said Ford intended to remain No. 1 with a revamped lineup of redesigned or all-new cars for 2004 and '05.

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