April 2, 2002
Ford to introduce sedan bigger than Taurus
New York, New York – At the New York auto show, Ford announced they will introduce a new, large sedan in 2004. Tentatively called the Five Hundred, the new sedan will be bigger than the Taurus and will offer taller seating positions.
“While everyone has been scrambling to invent the ‘next big thing,’ our team asked, ‘What about the car?’ said Chris Theodore, Ford’s vice president of North America Product Development. “We decided to put some of the features people love about minivans and SUVs into our all-new sedan.”
Theodore said the car’s interior roominess will be equal to or better than many larger cars – while retaining the proportions, maneuverability and fuel-economy of a mid-size car.
The Five Hundred will seat five adult passengers, and offer nearly three-and-one-half feet of legroom in the rear. The cockpit is designed to allow drivers of all shapes and sizes to find comfortable seating positions and for all vehicle controls and storage spaces to fall easily to hand.
The Five Hundred’s higher 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 carefully crafted to provide more headroom and the ability to raise the “H-point” – or hip-point – of the front seats. The H-point of the Five Hundred is two to four inches higher than the car’s mid- and full-sized sedan competition. The design also affords a more “upright” position of the front seats, delivering the “command-of-road” position coveted by SUV buyers.
The Five Hundred will use a new version of Ford’s 3.0 litre Duratec V6 and feature a six-speed automatic or a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) developed and produced by ZF, the world’s largest independent specialist for driveline and chassis technology. Ford says the CVT will provide exceptionally smooth operation and help to deliver up to a 10 percent fuel economy improvement versus a traditional powertrain.
Production of the Five Hundred will begin at Ford’s Chicago Assembly Plant in 2004. The Five Hundred will share a platform with the new CrossTrainer, a crossover vehicle announced last month at the Chicago Auto Show. The CrossTrainer is designed for up to seven passengers and their cargo.