Lincoln and Mercury For 1999
By Carey Russ
To say that the past year has been eventful for Lincoln Mercury is a serious understatement. First was a name change from "Lincoln- Mercury Division" of Ford Motor Company to plain "Lincoln Mercury" - no "Division" and no hyphen. That was followed by a move of corporate headquarters from Dearborn, Michigan to Irvine, California. As the company says, "this is not about changing our state of residence, it's about changing our state of mind."
The change is most reflected in the 1999 Mercury Cougar, the first Mercury product in recent memory designed with the youth market in mind. Lincoln is doing well, too. Thanks to the popularity of the Navigator premium sport-utility and the Town Car and Continental, it was the top-selling luxury marque for 1998.
Lincoln Cars and Trucks
The extra-large, premium-level Navigator sport-utility helped drive Lincoln sales to the top after its introduction last year. To keep the momentum going, it gets more power and adjustable pedals for 1999.
Early examples of the 1999 Lincoln Navigator will have an upgraded version of the 16-valve 5.4-liter overhead-cam "Triton" V8 with 260 horsepower, 30 more than last year. Later, a 300-hp, dual- overhead-cam, 32-valve "Intech" version will be available. Both achieve Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) status, and are matched with a four-speed automatic transmission. Both two- and four-wheel-drive models are available.
Optional power-adjustable brake and accelerator pedals, an industry first, are offered for increased comfort for drivers of all sizes.
The front-wheel-drive, V8-powered Lincoln Continental has new safety features and more power for 1999. Front-seat side air bags are now standard equipment, adding to the existing anti-lock brakes, traction control system, run-flat tires, and "RESCU" cellular-phone based automatic assistance system. The Continental's 4.6-liter dual- overhead-cam engine gets a boost to 275 horsepower.
The classic Town Car is traditional rear-wheel-drive sedan of the Lincoln line. After major revisions last year, the 1999 model has front side air bags and new interior comfort features.