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Ford Motor Co.'s Lincoln-Mercury Division is soliciting ideas from magazine publishers for a high-profile custom publishing project that would appear in October to support the launch of its 1999 Lincoln LS6 and LS8 models.

The new models are being readied to compete against lower-price luxury cars in the $30,000-to-$35,000 range from Mercedes-Benz and BMW of North America. The two models are aimed at entry-level luxury car buyers and are a key part of Lincoln-Mercury's plan to win over car buyers in their 30s and 40s.

lincoln meeting

Magazine industry executives from Hachette Filipacchi Magazines, Meredith Publishing Group, Forbes and Conde Nast Publications titles were among the company officials meeting with Lincoln marketing executives and agency executives from Young & Rubicam's Wunderman Cato Johnson, Detroit, Ford's direct marketing agency. The publishers are vying for a project that could be worth $10 million.

As many as 14 magazine companies are believed to have been asked to make presentations, industry executives said, for a planned 500,000 copies.

James Rogers, general marketing manager of Lincoln-Mercury, said plans were not finalized and declined comment on the custom publishing project.

The custom publishing concept is not yet fully developed, with publishing companies suggesting everything from a lifestyle publication (that could come from publishers such as Forbes and Conde Nast) to performance-focused editorial from the likes of Hachette's Car and Driver and Road & Track.

Magazine executives expect a decision in the next six weeks.

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