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Ford Shows Off a Pair of Svelte Lincolns for 2000

From Associated Press

Ford Motor Co. is putting its Lincoln line on a diet as it tries to shake an image of making land yachts for grandpas.

The Lincoln LS6 and LS8, unveiled Tuesday, are about the size of BMW’s 5-series sedans, considerably smaller than the models for which Lincoln is best known--the Town Car and Continental.

They will go on sale next spring as 2000 models. Ford did not announce prices for the new LS cars.

Like General Motors with its Cadillac Catera, Lincoln is aiming the LS cars at people who have a mid-size domestic sedan and are contemplating their first luxury car.

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It could be a hard sell.

Susan Jacobs, an analyst with Jacobs & Associates, said it is “extremely unrealistic” to think the LS cars will lure the kind of people partial to imports such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Toyota’s Lexus in the short term. “The vehicles that define Lincoln are still vehicles that are driven and purchased by older drivers,” she said.

Long term, however, the firm may be able to capture some import buyers and in the short term may appeal to people who drive domestic cars, she said.

The rear-drive sedans also mark another step in the Lincoln-Mercury division’s drive to rejuvenate itself. The Ford unit has launched new products and a new advertising campaign, and is moving part of its headquarters from Detroit to California, all in an attempt to inject more “fun” and “flair” into the Lincoln-Mercury name.

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The LS6, with a V-6 engine, and LS8, with a V-8 engine, will also be built in right-hand-drive versions for foreign markets.

Ford unveiled the cars at a media preview for the New York International Auto Show, which opens to the public on Saturday and runs through April 19.


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