DRIVE Q:Any information on whether the '06 Ford Fusion will offered as a five-door hatchback like the Mazda6? -- R.B., Arlington Heights, Ill.

A:The Ford Fusion is the new midsize sedan coming from Ford that's derived from the Mazda6 platform. Chances are it will be offered first as a sedan, and perhaps later as a hatchback, but we'll know more when Fusion is unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show in January. We do know now that Fusion will be offered in gas/electric version as well as gasoline-only version along about 2007.

Q:I've been interested in Ford Mustangs for a long time. A dealer told me that he expected a situation similar what to occurred with the release of the Ford Thunderbird, when the high demand and low supply of cars drove the price significantly over the MSRP. But once Ford produced more cars, the price came down. Do you see this happening with the 2005 Mustang? Also, the dealer told me that the price was going to be much greater than that of an '04 Mustang. -- J.M., Chicago

A:Ford said that the V-6 Mustang, which accounts for two-thirds of all sales, will start at $19,410, down from $19,505 for '04, while the V-8 will start at $24,995, up $695.

You can expect high demand and low supply at the outset of the model run. But Ford produced only about 5,200 Thunderbirds when it brought the car back out for the 2002 model year (and fewer than 20,000 for '03), and buyers willingly handed over blank checks and agreed to pay well in excess of full sticker price to get one of the first limited-edition copies.

Ford plans to produce more than 100,000 Mustangs. What you pay at the outset of the model year will depend on just how much demand there is, and how greedy some dealers will be. Don't look for rebates, however.


Q:Will Pontiac have a two-door coupe in its lineup besides the GTO in three years? And will the Pontiac G6 come in two-door coupe? -- S.B., Niles, Ill.

A:Yes and yes. Pontiac will bring out the G6 successor to the Grand Am this fall in sedan version only, but will add a two-door coupe and convertible G6 in the summer of 2005. So in addition to the GTO, Pontiac will have the G6 coupe in the three-year time span you asked about.

Send questions about cars and trucks to Jim Mateja, Chicago Tribune, 616 Atrium Drive, Vernon Hills, Ill. 60061-1523, or send e-mail, including name and hometown, to

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