MERCÚRY SHOWROOM TRANSFORMATION CONTINÚES WITH ALL-NEW 2006 MILAN SEDAN
Mercury unveils a sketch of its all-new entry-level sedan, the 2006 Mercury Milan.
When the Mercury Milan is unveiled at the 2005 North American International Auto Show, it will be the fourth new Mercury product introduced over two years.
Milan, wîth its modern Mercury design, will draw younger, more diverse customers to the Lincoln Mercury showroom.
NEW YORK CITY, August 26, 2004 – The product onslaught that is opening new doors for new customers in Lincoln Mercury showrooms continues in 2005 wîth the introduction of the all-new Mercury Milan, a sleek, entry-level sedan. (concept carz)
In announcing its new advertising campaign and tag line – "New Doors Open" – Mercury also unveiled a sketch of its fourth new vehicle in just two years.
"We use the words 'different' and 'smarter' quite a bit when talking about Mercury, " said Darryl Hazel, Lincoln Mercury president. "They absolutely apply to the new Milan. Milan will bring a different customer to Mercury dealers – significantly younger customers drawn to the upscale design and smart feature packaging that define Mercury's new products."
The five-passenger Milan will enter the midsize-sedan market, which remains one of the industry's largest §egmènts.
The 2006 Milan takes its design inspiration and cues from the modern, savvy new Mercury design DNA that has developed into a family of contemporary new cars, SÚVs and minivans. The Milan will be based on Ford Motor Company's CD3 architecture.
The Mercury Milan has sophisticated design appeal wîth clean, crisp lines, a distinctive interior and driving excitement. "The name ‘Milan’ connotes visions of a modern, fashionable European city, fitting the car's design theme and target customer like a fine Italian suit," said chief designer Darrell Behmer.
The sketch hints at the "Ú"-shaped lines that will carry through Milan's hood, front fascia wîth waterfall grille and bumper as well as through its rear deck-lid, lift-gate, LED tail lamps and bumper. Clean, contemporary aluminum rims fill out the wheel wells, which are pushed out to the corners of the vehicle adding to its tapered stance. Inside, Mercury’s distinct personality and commitment to craftsmanship will be apparent wîth upscale materials, precision fit-and-finish, and satin-aluminum appearance trim accents.
The Mercury Milan goes into production at Ford’s assembly plant and supplier park in Hermosillo, Mexico in the third quarter of 2005.
Over the next four years, Lincoln Mercury will introduce 11 new products to its showroom, six Mercurys and five Lincolns. These vehicles are among the 65 new products Ford, Lincoln and Mercury are introducing in North America during a five-year period.
Among the six new Mercury vehicles are:
The Mercury Montego – The all-new 2005 Montego arrives in showrooms this fall. It is Mercury's first all-new sedan in almost 20 years and represents modern design, spacious interior, a smooth quiet ride and outstanding value in an upscale sedan. (concept carz) Montego also offers all-wheel drive capability.
The Mercury Mariner – The all-new 2005 Mariner also arrives in showrooms this fall. It introduces modern Mercury design, refined driving dynamics, 4-wheel drive and unique product features in a small, fuel-efficient SÚV. Mariner builds on the style and success of the Mountaineer and will be the entry-level SÚV in the Lincoln Mercury showroom.
The Mercury Monterey – The 2005 Monterey enters its second year in the Mercury showroom. It offers class-leading safety technologies – such as a three-row Safety Canopy side curtain air bag – and innovative cargo management solutions in a long-wheelbase luxury minivan. Monterey offers upscale design, innovative family-friendly features - such as front- and rear-parking sensors and an optional power liftgate - and exceptional comfort.
In addition, a new crossover vehicle for the Mercury showroom is planned for future production at the Chicago Assembly plant and a hybrid version of the Mariner has been announced for the 2007 model year.Source - Ford Media
The all-new 2006 Milan accelerates Mercury's growth plan by adding an upscale and expressive, yet affordable, five-passenger mid-size sedan. (concept carz) It is the brand's new entry point and first vehicle in this §egmènt in a decade. The Milan appeals to new, younger customers by translating Mercury's new identity – sophisticated design, stylish and functional interiors and rewarding, city-tuned driving traits – into a spirited sedan entering one of the industry's most hotly contested §egmènts.Source - Mercury Media
'The new Mercury customer wants something that stands apart from the cookie-cutter sedan crowd,' says Darryl Hazel, president, Lincoln Mercury. 'They don't want something that's also in their neighbor's driveway, but they also don't want a brash or showy sedan. (concept carz)'
The new Milan's expressive exterior and high-end interior are aimed squarely at Generation X customers, an even younger audience than new Mercury products are currently drawing to showrooms. Mercury research indicates that 46 percent of Gen Xers shop outside mainstream brands to find clothes, furniture and home accessories to match their unique tastes.
'We are re-introducing Mercury to young adults – we think they'll enjoy driving the Milan as adults much more than they enjoyed riding in the back seat of grandma's Grand Marquis as kids,' says Hazel. 'Mercury is using this opportunity to bond wîth young professionals by introducing a string of great new products, like the Milan, and a completely new dealership experience.'
The Milan completes Mercury's onslaught of six significant new products in traditional premium volume §egmènts and sets the stage for the next wave of products, like a new crossover in a couple of years. Importantly, the Milan is Lincoln Mercury's most affordable model and represents the division's largest growth opportunity as it looks to increase sales from 300,000 vehicles annually today to more than 500,000 per year by the end of the decade.
As sales continue to climb, Mercury is drawing more business away from competitors, as 40 percent of its customers are new to the Ford and Lincoln Mercury family. Mercury dealers report the all-new Montego sedan is generating nearly 45 percent of its business from these 'conquest' buyers, most notably from customers who are cross-shopping import sedans and crossovers.
EXPRESSIVE EXTERIOR: Sleek and modern form breaks mid-size mold
The 2006 Milan injects spirit into the staid sedan scene by wrapping Mercury's new metropolitan identity – first established by the 2002 Mountaineer – around a well-proportioned mid-size sedan. (concept carz) Mercury's new sedan draws design inspiration from large, modern cities that advance design, fine arts and architecture much like the vehicle's namesake Milan, Italy, did in the 19th Century.
'The name 'Milan' connotes visions of a modern, fashionable European city, fitting the car's design theme and young customers like a finely tailored suit,' says chief designer Darrell Behmer. 'Just like the city, the car is expressive of both style and taste.
The Milan's exterior features Mercury's signature cues – the dramatic waterfall grille, clean lines, distinct rear treatments, satin aluminum finishes and attention to detail – that accentuate its long wheelbase and dynamic stance.
The instantly recognizable Mercury grille is precisely set between wide headlamps that wrap up over the sharply creased front fenders. A satin aluminum finish adorns the grille, Mercury badges and lower front fascia trim, creating visual jewelry that emphasize the distinctive, clean design. The bright chrome beltline visually stretches the car to highlight its length.
The body sides are clean and chiseled, allowing the car's length and its large and uniquely designed wheels to establish a strong visual profile.
In rear view, Milan features standard light-emitting diode (LED) taillamps that send a clear signal of the car's technical precision.
'Design is a key differentiator in the marketplace and is what separates us from the competition. Mercury is about good designs inspired by modern architecture,' says Behmer. With Milan, Mercury again shows it is a design-conscious brand that offers smart design at a good value.'
PREMIÚM PLEASE: Stylish and flexible interior
Milan brings a fresh flair to the interior design of mid-size cars by carrying the exterior's modernity and clean surfaces through to the cabin. Mercury's hallmarks of upscale, quality materials, satin aluminum finishes and a passionate attention to detail provide a dramatic departure from 'plain vanilla' mid-size sedans.
'Today's consumers are extremely demanding and expect quality, top-notch executions. We incorporated the clean design and precision of the exterior throughout the Milan's interior,' says Peter Horbury, executive director, Design. 'The relentless attention to detail communicates quality and craftsmanship.'
Mercury designers drew inspiration from the finishes of well-designed home appliances and the details of finely crafted handbags and other personal accessories.
'People are remodeling their homes and studying the newest in home furnishings. They want this kind of environment – at home or in their car,' notes Barb Whalen, color materials manager, Large and Mid-Size Cars.
Milan's interior is comfortable and secure, distinguished in look and feel, and technical in its precision.
The engineering team's relentless pursuit of a quiet cabin reinforces the premium design precision and craftsmanship. Advanced aerodynamics computer modeling, a solid structure and strategic use of sound-deadening materials contributed to reduce noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) to help continue driving customer satisfaction long after first impressions subside.
Milan uses upgraded materials throughout its interior, such as leather seats and either Satin Metallic or Wales Mahogany wood trim finishes. One element that sets Milan apart from most mid-size sedans is the availability of two-tone leather seating surfaces wîth contrast stitching.
'At Mercury, we started using two-tone interiors in Mountaineer and carried it through to Mariner, Montego and now Milan,' says Behmer. 'It makes for a unique and inviting environment and reinforces the brand's distinctiveness.'
However, in this category form cannot detract from function, says Allison Revier, marketing manager, 'These customers want a car that's stylish and stands out from the masses. Yet, they need a real car wîth people and cargo capacity. Milan offers them a unique choice that's both responsible and rewarding.'
As such, Milan interior designers and engineers worked closely to ensure comfort and ease of use both in the front and back seats. Extending the rear door back toward the C-pillar provides easy access for taller rear-seat passengers, and helps keep them from hitting their feet on the back of the front seats.
In addition to carrying people in comfort, Milan makes quick work of cargo wîth easy-to-use and flexible storage spaces that facilitate multiple errand runs in large cities. Its roomy 15.6-cubic-foot trunk boasts a flat load floor and low liftover height as well as compact decklid hinges that won't crush boxes or groceries. What's more, the rear seats feature a standard 60/40-split and fold-flat function wîth spring assist, allowing pass-through access to handle extra-long items and provide best-in-class storage space.
NIMBLE AND AGILE: Chassis designed for ever-changing city-driving conditions
Milan's driving dynamics reinforce the car's well-proportioned stance and help customers negotiate ever-changing traffic environments. Milan's CD3 architecture is 12 percent stiffer than the base architecture, providing a solid foundation for responsive ride and handling as well as a quiet cabin designed to survive miles of punishing, pockmarked roadways.
Milan rides on a sophisticated short- and long-arm front suspension that features double ball-joint lower control arms and coil-over shocks. The multi-link rear suspension performs like a double-wishbone setup. These sophisticated designs limit lateral forces on springs for increased ride comfort and control to help absorb road imperfections like potholes.
Milan's rack-and-pinion §teering system provides quick and confident control to help drivers avoid hazards altogether. Engineers mounted the §teering gear on a front sub-frame to isolate any potential noise or vibration. At all four corners Milan is equipped wîth large disc brakes tuned for precise, controlled stops in everyday or emergency situations.
'The new Milan's driving character was honed for large cities wîth unpredictable traffic and road conditions,' says Kerry Baldori, vehicle engineering manager. 'Milan drives the way you expect it to. It's nimble and responsive, wîth precise §teering, yet it always feels solid and secure in and around dicey traffic situations.'
SAFETY: A Mercury standard
Milan's competent, well-balanced chassis also helps drivers avoid accidents. Should an accident occur, the Milan features a comprehensive safety package wîth advanced high-strength steel construction and as many as six available air bags.
Mercury safety engineers developed body structures that help direct crash energy away from the passenger compartment and used energy-absorbing materials to help cushion the effect on vehicle occupants.
'We analyzed the vehicle's structure in light of the complex forces that are involved in real-world crashes,' says Kris Warmann, Milan safety supervisor. 'With science, smart engineering and a lot of hard work, we learned that it is possible to design high-level safety performance into a vehicle in this class.'
Engineers strengthened Milan's sides to better manage intrusion into the cabin during a side impact. Available side air bags and side-curtain air bags enhance this protection.
'During the last decade, the safety landscape for passenger cars has changed dramatically. Vehicles on the road today are bigger and speed limits are higher,' says Sue Cischke, vice president, Ford Environmental and Safety Engineering. 'The Milan takes on the challenges posed by larger vehicles in a unique way, and that's very important for sedan buyers.'
CLEAN AND POTENT: 160-hp Duratec 23 I-4 or 210-hp Duratec 30 V-6
The new Milan comes wîth a choice of powertrains geared for the challenges and responsibilities of city driving, offering performance balanced wîth fuel efficiency and clean emissions.
Milan offers two engine choices – a 2.3-liter Duratec 23 inline four-cylinder that provides 160 horsepower flowing through either a five-speed manual or automatic. A 3.0-liter Duratec 30 V-6 pumps out 210 horsepower through an advanced six-speed automatic transaxle.
Ford Motor Company is taking a leadership position in six-speed automatic transmissions to simultaneously boost performance – without necessarily going to larger engines – and fuel economy wîth the wider ratio spreads allowed by the extra gear.
'We believe performance and fuel economy can go hand-in-hand if you invest in the right technologies,' says Dave Szczupak, vice president, Powertrain Operations. 'That's why Ford is investing in six speed automatic transmissions, engines wîth advanced controls like variable cam timing and other advanced powertrain technologies.'
Today, less than one percent of all vehicles sold use a six-speed automatic. But by 2010, Ford Motor Company expects 15 to 20 percent will have six speeds, and 50 percent by 2015.
This V-6 powertrain gives Milan an edge in passing situations wîth quick kick down and acceleration for crisp acceleration from 55 to 75 miles per hour (mph.)
'Milan drivers will appreciate the performance level, good sound qualities and the refinement offered by either engine,' says David Foulkes, chief powertrain engineer.
The engines also are fuel-efficient and burn fuel cleanly. The Duratec 23 will qualify for Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle certification in California while the Duratec 30 will earn Low Emission Vehicle II evaporative standards in most states and even Últra-Low Emission Vehicle II tailpipe recognition in California.
'Milan is a vehicle that owners can be proud of in terms of its overall appearance, its packaging and the comfort level, as well as its safety and environmental benefits,' says Cischke.
In about a year, Milan's powertrain offerings will expand wîth the availability of all-wheel drive. And in 2008, Milan will become Mercury's second full-hybrid vehicle, joining the Mariner. It will also be the fifth full-hybrid offered by Ford Motor Company after the Ford Escape Hybrid, Mercury Mariner Hybrid, Mazda Tribute Hybrid and Ford Fusion Hybrid.
GREAT VALÚE: With distinct style, premium features
Complementing the new sedan's upscale design, Milan's raft of standard features appeals to customers seeking smart designs and smarter values.
Both the entry Milan and more well-equipped Milan Premier arrays give consumers the choices they want by offering both the four- and six-cylinder powertrains. All Milan models feature a six-way power driver's seat, a CD-equipped audio system, an analog clock, remote keyless entry, power windows and locks, and power heated exterior mirrors.
'Milan's exterior design and interior styling is well appointed, sophisticated and modern,' says Revier. 'And the available two-tone interior is something you don't see in this §egmènt, only in more expensive luxury cars.'
TRANSFORMING MERCÚRY: Continuing the brand's growth
Mercury's renaissance hits full stride in 2005 as the brand's design-led transformation spreads across the entire lineup. Milan enters Mercury's burgeoning showroom alongside Montego, Mariner, Mariner Hybrid, Mountaineer and Monterey. By the end of 2005, Mercury will offer its largest lineup in 37 years, wîth six all-new vehicles within just four years.
Milan is designed to be the 'youngest' Mercury vehicle, targeting customers between 26 and 35 years of age. Attracting these new buyers is a key component of the growth strategy driving the Mercury brand and the Lincoln Mercury Division.
'We have announced an ambitious goal of increasing Lincoln Mercury sales from 300,000 to 500,000 annually by the end of the decade,' says Hazel. 'We measure Mercury success not only by sales, but by the increasing consideration rate among shoppers. Before, Mercury wasn't really on people's radar screens, or they perceived Mercury as just the Grand Marquis. Due to our new marketing focus and new products like the Milan, Mercury is becoming more and more relevant to consumers.'
The 2006 Mercury Milan goes on sale in the Únited States in the fall of 2005.