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European Fords May Add Spice to Company's North American Lineup

From AUTOMOTIVE NEWS| January 30,2007

Ford is considering a plan to bolster its North American lineup with a limited group of Europe-built models, according to new boss Alan Mulally. Among the models under investigation for sale in the U.S. market are the upcoming fourth-generation Mondeo, the European Car of the Year award-winning S-Max and the Transit Connect commercial vehicle.

The move by Ford to call on its European operations to add spice to its slow-selling domestic North American lineup closely mirrors that of General Motors. GM recently engaged its own European subsidiary Opel to provide its ailing Saturn division with at least three new models, including the Astra, Antara and Vectra.

Mulally won't get specific about the Blue Oval's plans, but he says there is a high probability of Europe-built Ford models selling alongside their U.S.-produced siblings in the future.

The recently installed Ford supremo talks highly of the Mondeo in particular: "When I went to see the James Bond movie and I saw that Mondeo, I wanted it," he told Automotive News when asked about its prospects of heading Stateside. Of the Transit Connect, Mulally is quoted as saying: "What a neat vehicle for commerce in the United States. We need a small utility, a really high-utilization vehicle."

Sources close to Mulally also confirm there are ongoing cost studies with the S-Max that could also see it form part of the Blue Oval's North American lineup. Despite the enthusiasm from above, however, no firm decisions have been taken. Still, Mulally makes no bones of the fact that Mondeo, S-Max and Transit Connect are "all under consideration," adding, "They just make sense."

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