Ford Motor Co.'s Cross-Trainer — the multi-purpose 7-passenger cross/utility vehicle unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show — will have an all-new muscular sedan as its platform mate, WAW has learned.

CrossTrainer, codenamed D219, will be built at Ford's Chicago Assembly Plant in 2004 as an '05 model. Rolling out of the same plant will be the D258, described by a Ford source as looking “like a Lincoln LS on steroids.” In broadest strokes, its target demographic is males.

Ford confirms it has additional product plans for Chicago Assembly but won't disclose details. “We're only announcing the crossover vehicle,” says Ford President and Chief Operating Officer Nick Scheele. “We have other plans, which we are not announcing at this juncture.”

The CrossTrainer, to be powered by a V-6 engine, will be the first Ford vehicle to feature a continuously variable transmission from the new ZF Batavia LLC plant in Batavia, OH, jointly owned by Ford and ZF. The CVT will be standard equipment.

The unibody architecture for CrossTrainer is all new. Ford Div. President James O'Connor says the front-wheel-drive CrossTrainer will be part sedan, part SUV and part minivan, with seating for seven. All-wheel drive will be optional. Its nearest competitor, he says, is the Chrysler Pacifica sports tourer that goes into production a year earlier: in January 2003 as an '04 model.

The announcement is welcome news for Ford Chicago workers who recently learned production of Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable will be shifted to Atlanta, GA. As part of the changeover to CrossTrainer, Ford is grouping key suppliers for the vehicle in a new flexible manufacturing campus under construction near the vehicle assembly plant.

It is not clear how many suppliers will locate in the park. The facility, expected to be completed within 18 months, will create 800 to 1,000 new jobs. Employment levels at Chicago Assembly Plant will remain stable, Ford says.