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3/4 Front Glamour 2003 Lincoln Aviator

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MPG 13 City / 19 Highway

Introduction

Lincoln showrooms have been like Old Mother Hubbard's cupboards of late: rather bare. But Lincoln's cupboards are now being re-stocked, and the most recent addition is the 2003 Aviator sport utility. Ford's luxury division has been eliminating models from its line. Gone is the aging Continental along with the Blackwood, an impractical but expensive sport-utility vehicle with a pickup bed that never took off. In essence, all that Lincoln dealers have had to sell is the LS entry-luxury sedan, the Town Car and the Navigator sport-utility. The Aviator, on sale since November, is the luxury marque's first midsize sport-utility vehicle. It is part of Lincoln's two-prong strategy for attracting different sets of buyers to the brand. Lincoln executives, who saw division sales tumble by 5.6 percent in 2002 to 150,057 vehicles, according to industry trade journal Automotive News, plan to invest in its traditional vehicles like the Town Car to retain loyal buyers, refine fairly recent models such as the LS and Navigator to keep the new customers it has attracted and add new products to lure younger, affluent buyers. Indeed, they hope the Aviator's smaller dimensions and lower price will lure buyers, whose average age is expected to be about 45 years old, a decade younger than Navigator owners, with more of them being women. Based on the Ford Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer, the Aviator drives into an increasingly crowded neighborhood of sport utilities with price tags that soar well above $40,000. It goes up against newly introduced midsize luxury sport utilities like the Lexus GX 470 and Infiniti FX45. It will also face the upcoming Volkswagen Touareg and Cadillac SRX. And it will challenge the relative old-timers, the Acura MDX, BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz M-Class.
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