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Registered: Jan 2002
NEWS: Powerful New V6 Engine Coming...
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More Horsepower For Our Escapes?
New Ford V-6 engine
to be built in Ohio
Detroit News, Dearborn... Ford Motor Co. will announce plans today to build a sophisticated new V-6 engine, a move that could give the company a fighting chance in the battle for horsepower supremacy.
The all-aluminum 3.5-liter V-6 engine -- which has been delayed at least twice -- is set to go into production at Ford's engine plant at Lima, Ohio, in late 2005. The plant could produce up to 300,000 of the new engines a year.
More details will be announced... at a ceremony today at the Lima plant, company spokesman Joe Koenig said. Ford would not disclose how much it will invest to produce the new engine, but the total investment could reach hundreds of millions of dollars.
The new production line is not expected to create a significant number of new jobs at the factory, which employs 1,600.
The engine fills a glaring gap in Ford's product arsenal -- a high-powered V-6 engine for mid-size vehicles across the Ford, Lincoln and Mercury brands.
- "Horsepower is becoming the new mantra," said Michael Robinet, an ....yst with CSM Worldwide who tracks automakers' production plans. "This move is all about keeping pace in horsepower wars."
- Japanese automakers, including Nissan Motor Co., Toyota Motor Co.p., and Honda Motor Co., are on the leading edge of a movement to produce engines that produce more horsepower without sacrificing fuel economy.
Nissan's 3.5-liter V-6 engine -- which powers the Altima and Maxima sedans, the 350Z sports coupe and the Murano sport wagon -- can generate up to 280 horsepower.
Honda's 3.5-liter engine, produced down the road from Lima in Anna, Ohio, also has struck a chord with American buyers of Accord sedans and Pilot sport utility vehicles.
The new Ford engine, which will be named Duratec, will feature a double overhead cam and variable valve timing.
Ford is likely to offer the engine in a number of sedans and crossover vehicles. The new Five Hundred sedan and Freestyle crossover, for example, will debut next year equipped with Ford's 3.0-liter V-6 engine, which can produce 200 horsepower. In 2006, though, Ford is expected to offer the vehicles with the new 3.5-liter Duratec.
The new engine will also be integral to Ford's plans to build up to 10 mid-size cars and crossovers, including the Ford Futura, off the basic chassis of the Mazda6 sedan.
"A high-tech, high-horsepower engine is really becoming the price of entry for mid-size cars," said George Peterson, president of AutoPacific, an automotive marketing firm. "The Japanese have been raising the bar."
Ford's board of directors signed off on the new engine line last week during a regular meeting in Dearborn. The automaker received state and local tax breaks to invest in the Lima plant. Local officials passed a memorandum of understanding last month agreeing to forgo tax collections on the new engine line if Ford agreed to donate 40 percent of the tax to the local school district, according to Ohio and Ford officials.
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