Automaker Signs For Long-Term Promo in New Shopping Mecca

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DETROIT ( -- In an effort to bolster the sagging image and sales of its Lincoln brand, Ford Motor Co. has signed
Photo: AP
Manhattan's Time Warner Center includes one of the nation's most sumptuous shopping malls.
a deal to put Lincolns on long-term display in one of the country's most opulent new shopping meccas: Manhattan's Time Warner Center.

$1.8 billion complex
Opened with a black-tie affair in February, the $1.8 billion complex was designed as both the new headquarters of Time Warner and a major destination point for shoppers and tourists alike. Sprawling across two city blocks at the southwest corner of Central Park, the double-towered structure is 80 stories of glass, gleaming steel and glitterati allure.

The center has some of the nation's most expensive condominiums, one of its most upscale hotels, eight posh restaurants and a mall of stores showcasing brands such as Giorgio Armani fashions, Tourneau watches and Tumi leather.

And now, clustered near its main entrance as well as scattered around its atrium, it will soon have shiny new Lincolns hoping to benefit by association. The brand's sales have been hampered by a lack of new models, a stodgy image and strong competition in the luxury category. But Lincoln plans to debut five new products over four years, starting early next year.

Sales slide
Ford said Lincoln sales slid from a year

Lincoln's exhibit will include high-tech canopies and plasma screen promotions.
ago by nearly 11% in the first half of 2004 and 13% last month.

As part of the deal announced today, the latest Lincolns will go on long-term display in a manner matching the glamour of the Time Warner venue. Cars will be showcased under floating high-tech canopies and amidst a phalanx of 26 high-resolution plasma screens beaming out Lincoln branding promotions.

Encouraging test drives
The daily flow of visitors will be encouraged to sign up for test drives at any U.S. Lincoln dealer and learn more about the luxury brand's car and trucks on surrounding computer kiosks.

Lincoln joins Samsung and First Republic Bank as marketing partners with the high-traffic complex on Columbus Circle, said Tim Hindert, president of Related Experiences, the event, media and sponsorship division of Time Warner Center's real estate development team.

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