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October 9, 2002

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Mercury To Add All-New Monterey Minivan In 2003

Monterey Minivan

Photo: Ford

An all-new 2004 Mercury Monterey minivan will go on sale in the fall of 2003, providing levels of interior luxury, expressive design and functionality generally reserved for a luxury sedan.

"Mercury has an important role in the revitalization of Ford Motor Company, and the new Monterey is just the beginning of a multi-year strategy to update and expand our product offerings," said Elena Ford, Mercury group marketing manager.

"We'll follow the Monterey with at least one new Mercury car or SUV every year for the next several years."

The new Mercury products follow on the heels of the freshened 2003 Grand Marquis and the new Marauder, which are on sale now, and the Mercury Mountaineer, which was redesigned for the 2002-model year.

The new Monterey will offer industry safety firsts and advanced features, such as side curtain airbags for all three seating rows, front and rear object-sensing systems, an advanced tire-pressure monitoring system, heated and cooled front seats and dual-zone climate control. The Monterey also will be the only minivan in the market to offer, as standard equipment, a 4.2-liter V6 engine, for comfortable touring and effortless passing.

The minivan market represents more than 1 million units, and growth is expected in the $30,000-plus-luxury market. The new Monterey is aimed squarely at the luxury minivan buyer who is in his or her 30s to mid-40s. Nearly 45 percent of Monterey buyers are expected to be "empty-nesters."

The new Monterey will provide the functionality and space of a minivan without sacrificing personal comfort and luxury appointments. From a distinctive satin aluminum finish on the instrument panel and gauge cluster to fold-into-the-floor third-row seat and available heated and cooled front seats, the Monterey is designed to stand out from all other minivans.

Outside, Monterey is designed to be distinctive. This includes the signature Mercury "waterfall" grille, use of satin finishes on door handles and distinctive wheel designs.

Monterey will offer power-adjustable brake and accelerator pedals, adjustable anchor-point seatbelts and a tilt steering wheel -- allowing all drivers to be safe and comfortable behind the wheel. Dual power-sliding doors will allow convenient entry and exit from both sides of the vehicle. Thicker side and windshield glass will be used to reduce wind noise, adding to the vehicle's luxury feel.

Monterey will be the only minivan in the segment to offer forward and reverse object-sensing systems, rather than just rear sensing. The system uses sensors in the front and rear bumpers to detect objects in the front of and behind the vehicle and assist negotiation distances while parking.

Safety also will be a key priority for Monterey's customers, and the vehicle will offer extensive advanced features, including the Personal Safety System, side and side-curtain airbags, a low tire-pressure monitoring system and self-sealing tires.

(Oct. 7, 2002)

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