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For Ford, Luxury Matters

September 10, 2003

Ford Motor Co.'s European luxury unit on Sept. 9 revealed three new production cars and a concept vehicle aimed at reversing its flagging

fortunes, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Ford created Premier Automotive Group to turn its four European luxury brands -- Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover and Aston Martin --

into a unit that would save money and eventually generate as much as one-third of Ford's global profit by selling more high-profit cars and trucks. But PAG has been a disappointment after losing $900 million in

2002 and $88 million in the first quarter of 2003, the Free Press said.

PAG showed signs of improvement in the second quarter with a $166-million pretax gain on a

16-percent boost in revenue from the same quarter of 2002, the Free Press reported.

The cars introduced at the Frankfurt auto show will go a long way toward determining PAG's success for several years, according to the Free Press. The new models include a

station wagon version of the Jaguar X-type, the new $146,800 Aston Martin DB9 luxury sports car and the new Volvo S40 compact, which should

sell for around $21,000 when it debuts in the United States in March, the Free Press said.

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