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 LORAIN, Ohio, Sept. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Production will begin Monday (Sept. 13) on the new 1994 Ford Thunderbird and Mercury Cougar at Ford Motor Company's Lorain Assembly Plant, accompanied by a production increase from 48 to 51 units per hour creating several new jobs.
 To prepare for production of the new cars, Ford invested $29 million in the plant's car section assembly area, mainly to upgrade the chassis and trim departments and to train hourly employees.
 "The production increase ties in perfectly with the launch of the new Thunderbird and Cougar, and the great customer demand for these cars that is expected to continue throughout the 1994 model year," said Plant Manager Bob Anderson. "This has brought about more jobs in the assembly process, all of which have been filled."
 Anderson said he expects the plant to operate at about 20 percent more overtime during 1994 compared to this year. "Enthusiasm is at an all-time high among employees -- and dealers who have seen and driven the cars," he added.
 Sales of Thunderbird and Cougar got off to a fast start at the beginning of the 1993 model year last fall because of a new "one-price" structure, and have maintained strong momentum since. In August alone, Thunderbird sales zoomed 67 percent and Cougar sales climbed 30 percent.
 For 1994, an all-new, more luxurious interior, an optional V-8 engine and standard dual air bags have been added to the Thunderbird, enhancing the qualities that have made the car the leader of its market segment for four years. The new wraparound interior provides greater passenger comfort and convenience, and the instrument panel combines with a new console. Door and seat trim have been upgraded, and the steering wheel and shift handle are new.
 Thunderbird also has a freshened exterior for '94: New front and rear treatments, new bodyside moldings, and new hood and headlamps.
 The car is offered in two models -- the LX and Super Coupe. Ford's 4.6-liter V-8 modular engine is a new option on the LX, which continues with the 3.8-liter V-6 standard engine. The Super Coupe has a 3.8-liter supercharged, intercooled V-6.
 Both of the Thunderbird models and the Cougar XR7 are among the first vehicles to be fitted with Ford's next-generation electronic engine control module (EEC-V). The highly sophisticated engine control device was developed in Ford's Formula One racing program, and simplifies detection of maintenance problems and the diagnosis of emissions situations.
 The re-styled '94 Cougar XR7 combines excellent value with a sporty look, and also has the optional 4.6-liter V-8 engine and standard dual air bags. The car has a new grille, front and rear fascias, bodyside moldings and taillamps.
 Inside, everything is brand new, more luxurious and color keyed -- from the plush cloth and leather bucket seats with power lumbar control to the cockpit-inspired, soft-tough interior with fully instrumented analog cluster.
 The Lorain Assembly Plant, which also makes Ford Econolines and Club Wagons, has more than 3,700 hourly and 300 salaried employees.
 -0- 9/10/93
 /CONTACT: Bill Carroll of Ford, 313-322-1300/

CO: Ford Motor Company ST: Michigan, Ohio IN: AUT SU: PDT

SB -- DE004 -- 0642 09/10/93 09:29 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 10, 1993

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