Ford Spares Lincoln Town Car, The Street’s Favored Ride

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The New York Sun

Ford Motor Co. will continue making the Lincoln Town Car, America’s largest sedan, quelling speculation Wall Street’s ride of choice would be mothballed after the 2007 model year.

Production will be shifted to a plant in Ontario “to meet ongoing demand,” the company said today. Ford said in January it would close the Wixom, Michigan, factory where Town Cars are built early next year and hadn’t disclosed plans to make the sedan anywhere else.

Today’s announcement is part of a company restructuring in response to a $1.44 billion first-half loss.

“This is certainly good news for the industry. We were very worried we’d have to replace it,” the president of New York-based Vital Transportation Inc., Berj Haroutunian, said. “A changeover to a new car would’ve been a disaster for the industry.”

Sales of the Town Car — which comprises more than 80% of New York’s for-hire fleet and is the “black car” of choice in every major American market — have slipped to about 47,000 in 2005 from a high of 149,000 in 1990, according to Autodata Corp.

There will be a six-month lapse after the Wixom plant closes before Town Car production begins in Ontario in late 2007 so the factory can be modified, a Ford spokeswoman, Anne Marie Gattari, said. The St. Thomas, Ontario, plant also builds the Mercury Grand Marquis and Ford Crown Victoria sedans.

The New York Sun

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