Lincoln Mercury Opens New World Headquarters
14 July 1998Lincoln Mercury Opens New World Headquarters - Unveils 1999 Mercury Villager
IRVINE, Calif., July 14 -- America's premier luxury automotive company became a California-based firm today as Lincoln Mercury opened its new world headquarters here. The company marked the occasion with the unveiling of its new 1999 Mercury Villager minivan and a ribbon-cutting ceremony featuring its chief executive, Mark Hutchins, and the mayor of Irvine, Christina Shea. "Our choice of Southern California is significant. Around the world, California is known as creative epicenter. Cultural trends and automotive ideas often start here," said Hutchins, Ford Motor Company vice president and general manager of Lincoln Mercury. "We intend to absorb all that California offers. From our new headquarters, we will do the things needed to plan and market the most innovative cars and trucks in the world." The first domestic automotive company to establish headquarters operations in California, Lincoln Mercury's action is part of its ongoing business transformation and integral to its plan to design, manufacture and market advanced personal transportation. The world headquarters building, located at 19 Technology Drive, Irvine, will house the Lincoln Mercury staff on a temporary basis while the company plans and builds a permanent headquarters, also in the Irvine Spectrum. It is being leased from The Irvine Company. It will house 150 sales, brand, marketing, product development, public relations and support staff. There also will be worldwide video teleconferencing facilities and a product display. Lincoln Mercury associates in Detroit were given the choice of moving to California or being reassigned to other Ford activities. More than 70 percent of employees chose to make the move to Irvine. On July 7, 25 employees from Detroit moved into the building. On August 3rd, about 50 more families will make the move, and finally, on September 14, the last 25 families will come to California. In all, Lincoln Mercury is relocating approximately 100 families for its headquarters' staff. In addition, Lincoln Mercury will continue to maintain 17 regional offices throughout the United States. Today's grand opening ceremony was capped with the unveiling of the company's newest vehicle, the 1999 Mercury Villager. The Villager has provided a popular alternative in the crowded minivan segment. Since its introduction, the Villager has had the highest owner loyalty of any minivan, with special appeal to smaller families as well as image-conscious buyers looking for the versatility of a van without sacrificing car-like ride and handling. "This innovative, stylish minivan has been designed to meet the needs of active families and individuals, and we think it will be of particular interest to Californians," said Hutchins. Mayor Shea, in welcoming Lincoln Mercury to its new home, presented Hutchins with a key to the city. Lincoln Mercury presented the mayor with the keys to a 1999 Mercury Villager for use by the city's community services department in their youth programs. Mayor Shea and Hutchins were joined at the grand opening by Supervisor Thomas Wilson from Orange County District 5, who presented a proclamation, and California State Senator Ross Johnson, who presented a State Resolution welcoming Lincoln Mercury to California. "Lincoln Mercury is committed to being an active, visible and integral part of the community. We've begun a journey that will influence everything we do -- from the design of our products to how we participate in the community. Our goal is to be one of the most admired companies in California," said Hutchins.