Ford New Models 2004
Ford: Mercury Milan 2006
The all-new 2006 Milan accelerates Mercury's growth plan by adding an upscale and expressive, yet affordable, five-passenger mid-size sedan. It is the brand's new entry point and first vehicle in this segment in a decade
"We are re-introducing Mercury to young adults – we think they'll enjoy driving the Milan as adults much more than they enjoyed riding in the back seat of grandma's Grand Marquis as kids," says Hazel. "Mercury is using this opportunity to bond with young professionals by introducing a string of great new products, like the Milan, and a completely new dealership experience."
As sales continue to climb, Mercury is drawing more business away from competitors, as 40 percent of its customers are new to the Ford and Lincoln Mercury family. Mercury dealers report the all-new Montego sedan is generating nearly 45 percent of its business from these "conquest" buyers, most notably from customers who are cross-shopping import sedans and crossovers.
The 2006 Milan injects spirit into the staid sedan scene by wrapping Mercury's new metropolitan identity – first established by the 2002 Mountaineer – around a well-proportioned mid-size sedan. Mercury's new sedan draws design inspiration from large, modern cities that advance design, fine arts and architecture much like the vehicle's namesake Milan, Italy, did in the 19th Century.
"The name 'Milan' connotes visions of a modern, fashionable European city, fitting the car's design theme and young customers like a finely tailored suit," says chief designer Darrell Behmer. "Just like the city, the car is expressive of both style and taste.
The instantly recognizable Mercury grille is precisely set between wide headlamps that wrap up over the sharply creased front fenders. A satin aluminum finish adorns the grille, Mercury badges and lower front fascia trim, creating visual jewelry that emphasize the distinctive, clean design. The bright chrome beltline visually stretches the car to highlight its length.
The body sides are clean and chiseled, allowing the car's length and its large and uniquely designed wheels to establish a strong visual profile. In rear view, Milan features standard light-emitting diode (LED) taillamps that send a clear signal of the car's technical precision.
"Design is a key differentiator in the marketplace and is what separates us from the competition. Mercury is about good designs inspired by modern architecture," says Behmer. With Milan, Mercury again shows it is a design-conscious brand that offers smart design at a good value."
Milan brings a fresh flair to the interior design of mid-size cars by carrying the exterior's modernity and clean surfaces through to the cabin. Mercury's hallmarks of upscale, quality materials, satin aluminum finishes and a passionate attention to detail provide a dramatic departure from "plain vanilla" mid-size sedans.
"Today's consumers are extremely demanding and expect quality, top-notch executions. We incorporated the clean design and precision of the exterior throughout the Milan's interior," says Peter Horbury, executive director, Design. "The relentless attention to detail communicates quality and craftsmanship."
Mercury designers drew inspiration from the finishes of well-designed home appliances and the details of finely crafted handbags and other personal accessories. However, in this category form cannot detract from function, says Allison Revier, marketing manager, "These customers want a car that's stylish and stands out from the masses. Yet, they need a real car with people and cargo capacity. Milan offers them a unique choice that's both responsible and rewarding."
In addition to carrying people in comfort, Milan makes quick work of cargo with easy-to-use and flexible storage spaces that facilitate multiple errand runs in large cities. Its roomy 15.6-cubic-foot trunk boasts a flat load floor and low liftover height as well as compact decklid hinges that won't crush boxes or groceries. What's more, the rear seats feature a standard 60/40-split and fold-flat function with spring assist, allowing pass-through access to handle extra-long items and provide best-in-class storage space.
Milan's competent, well-balanced chassis also helps drivers avoid accidents. Should an accident occur, the Milan features a comprehensive safety package with advanced high-strength steel construction and as many as six available air bags.
Milan's specialized body structure works to manage the energy inflicted upon the vehicle in a collision.
Mercury safety engineers developed body structures that help direct crash energy away from the passenger compartment and used energy-absorbing materials to help cushion the effect on vehicle occupants.
"We analyzed the vehicle's structure in light of the complex forces that are involved in real-world crashes," says Kris Warmann, Milan safety supervisor. "With science, smart engineering and a lot of hard work, we learned that it is possible to design high-level safety performance into a vehicle in this class."
Engineers strengthened Milan's sides to better manage intrusion into the cabin during a side impact. Available side air bags and side-curtain air bags enhance this protection.
"During the last decade, the safety landscape for passenger cars has changed dramatically. Vehicles on the road today are bigger and speed limits are higher," says Sue Cischke, vice president, Ford Environmental and Safety Engineering. "The Milan takes on the challenges posed by larger vehicles in a unique way, and that's very important for sedan buyers."
The new Milan comes with a choice of powertrains geared for the challenges and responsibilities of city driving, offering performance balanced with fuel efficiency and clean emissions.
Milan offers two engine choices – a 2.3-liter Duratec 23 inline four-cylinder that provides 160 horsepower flowing through either a five-speed manual or automatic. A 3.0-liter Duratec 30 V-6 pumps out 210 horsepower through an advanced six-speed automatic transaxle.
Ford Motor Company is taking a leadership position in six-speed automatic transmissions to simultaneously boost performance – without necessarily going to larger engines – and fuel economy with the wider ratio spreads allowed by the extra gear.
Today, less than one percent of all vehicles sold use a six-speed automatic. But by 2010, Ford Motor Company expects 15 to 20 percent will have six speeds, and 50 percent by 2015.
This V-6 powertrain gives Milan an edge in passing situations with quick kick down and acceleration for crisp acceleration from 55 to 75 miles per hour (mph.)
The engines also are fuel-efficient and burn fuel cleanly. The Duratec 23 will qualify for Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle certification in California while the Duratec 30 will earn Low Emission Vehicle II evaporative standards in most states and even Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle II tailpipe recognition in California.
In about a year, Milan's powertrain offerings will expand with the availability of all-wheel drive. And in 2008, Milan will become Mercury's second full-hybrid vehicle, joining the Mariner. It will also be the fifth full-hybrid offered by Ford Motor Company after the Ford Escape Hybrid, Mercury Mariner Hybrid, Mazda Tribute Hybrid and Ford Fusion Hybrid.
The 2006 Mercury Milan goes on sale in the United States in the fall of 2005.
photos: Ford Motor Corp.