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Ford Confirms Lincoln MKS, Ford Shelby GT

The announcement comes at a time when critics are accusing the auto maker of having a dearth of new products.

TRAVERSE CITY, MI – Ford Motor Co. Executive Vice President Mark Fields today confirms production of the Lincoln MKS fullsize luxury sedan and a consumer-derivative of the Shelby Mustang GT-H, the so-called “Rent-a-Racer” offered by Hertz Corp., here at the annual Management Briefing Seminars.

The MKS, scheduled to debut in first-half 2008, is based on the concept car of the same name unveiled at this year’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The new vehicle will fill a much-needed niche in the Lincoln lineup, as the long-in-the-tooth Lincoln Town Car will be dropped, leaving the Lincoln marque briefly without a fullsize sedan.

The MKS, which will be built at Ford’s Chicago Assembly Plant, is powered by a 4.4L V-8. Ford declines to estimate yearly output, but reportedly it will be about 50,000 units annually.

Fields also notes the MKS will borrow the cap-less refueling system from the Ford GT supercar. The system is better for the environment and provides ease of use, he says, adding the feature eventually will make its way across most of Ford’s lineup.

The Shelby GT-H closely follows the recently released 500-hp Shelby GT500 and is the second Mustang to bow this year created with the guidance of legendary racer and industry icon Carroll Shelby.

The GT-H version has been built in limited numbers for rental-only, as was its famous predecessor, the Shelby GT350, which was offered for rental-only in 1966.

The consumer version of the GT-H will be called the Ford Shelby GT and will be powered by a 4.6L V-8 that produces 325 hp.

“We know the combination of Mustang and Shelby is magic, and we proved it again when we revealed the Ford Shelby GT-H,” Fields says. “The car received such rave reviews that our dealers and customers asked for a version of their own.”

The announcement of the two new vehicles comes at a time when Ford’s critics are accusing the auto maker of having a dearth of new products in its pipeline as competitors such as General Motors Corp. and Toyota Motor Corp. continue to roll out new sheet metal.

It also comes the day before day GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner is expected to announce his company will build a production version of the Camaro concept, which bowed to much fanfare at the 2006 NAIAS.

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