Model mania

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Automakers are expected to spend big to launch a slew of new and redone 2004 cars and trucks starting this month.

Consider: The industry will introduce more than 320 major models between the 2004 and 2007 model years; 45% of those are new entries, says Jacobs & Associates. Consultancy President Susan Jacobs predicts supply, bolstered by added plant capacity, will outpace demand. The auto industry played a big role in TV's upfront selling period this year, and will, as in the past, have a major presence in prime time and sports programming.

Early this month, Ford Motor Co. started to spend what it said will be $100 million to back the redone Ford F-150 pickup. The truck is crucial because it's the automaker's and nation's perennial best-selling vehicle. Ford Division starts the ad push for its new Freestar minivan in October.

Crucial introductions for General Motors Corp. include its all-new 2004 Cadillac SRT sport wagon. Elsewhere at GM, Interpublic Group of Cos.' Campbell-Ewald, Warren, Mich., is busy creating work for Chevrolet's redone Malibu sedan and bigger Malibu Max. Chevrolet will also launch the Aveo, the first joint GM model from South Korea with Daewoo Auto Technology & Co., and the new Colorado midsize pickup. Buick will continue its Rainier campaign.

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