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Ford Motor Rebuilds Lincoln Mercury Divisions

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Detroit Concepts Show Lincoln Isn't About to Lie Down and Let Cadillac Take All the Attention

DETROIT--Ford Motor Company showed that it is pressing forward to rebuild its languishing Lincoln Mercury division by introducing three new concept vehicles at the 2004 North American International Auto Show, two of which are slated for production.

The stage was set at Cobo Hall in Detroit for Ford Motor Company's Lincoln Mercury division to roll out its new production prototypes and concept vehicles during the 2004 North American International Auto Show. Ford has nearly exclusively rented the arena, where the Detroit Pistons basketball team used to play, for its auto show unveilings for four years. (Photo: Ford Motor Company of Canada)

The full-size Lincoln Mark LT luxury pickup truck joined the stage along with the Mark X two-seat convertible hardtop roadster and the new Aviator crossover wagon. The new 2005 Mercury Mariner compact sport utility vehicle was also rolled out, but it was the concepts that grabbed most of the attention.

For Ford Motor's premium domestic brand the 2004 Detroit auto show is about fulfilling the promise made to rebuild the division quickly and with pride, said James O'Connor, President, Ford North America, as he arrived on stage, Jan. 5, inside Cobo Arena in the Aviator concept vehicle.

The new 2005 Mercury Mariner compact sport utility vehicle was unvieled at the 2004 North American International Auto Show. (Photo: Ford Motor Company of Canada)

"Let's face it, before we brought these two brands back to Dearborn, from their 'lost weekend' in California, things at Lincoln Mercury really weren't working that well," O'Connor said.

More Than a 'Lost Weekend'

After General Motors purchased Detroit's Renaissance Center in the late 1990s, the Lincoln Mercury division was forced to move out, and Ford decided to relocate its sales and marketing offices to California (Henry Ford II had built the RenCen as a downtown renewal project, mostly with Ford Motor Company and GM money in the 1970s). The purpose for the west coast move, an idea reportedly pushed by former Ford Vice Chairman Robert Rewey, was to give the stodgy brands an injection of Californian hipness.