DETROIT (AP) _ Ford Motor Co. is breaking a five-year advertising hiatus for its Crown Victoria automobiles with a campaign that targets younger, more performance- oriented customers than the traditional full-size car buyer, the company said Monday.

''We're not going after the yuppie,'' said Ford Division advertising manager John Vanderzee. ''We're looking for the older Taurus owner who now wants a little more car.''

Actually, a Crown Victoria customer buys a lot more car than a Taurus.

The 1992 version of the big, rear-wheel drive car has a wheelbase of 114.4 inches, compared with Taurus' 106 inches, and an interior volume of 132.2 cubic feet, compared with 101.1 cubic feet for Taurus.

The '92 Crown Victoria is redesigned and re-engineered from the previous squared-off version. There was some concern about giving the big sedan a more aerodynamic look, said Bob Gillooly, the Ford Division car advertising manager.

''We were aware going into the full-size segment (with a rounder look), of not to go too far,'' he said.

Consequently, Vanderzee said Ford was going after two distinct markets with the new Crown Victoria - the traditional full-size car buyers and those moving up from mid-size cars.

The median age for the two groups, he said, were 63 and 51 years old, respectively. Advertising for the 1992 Mercury Grand Marquis, a close cousin to the Crown Victoria, is staying focused on older, more traditional-car buyers.

''Full-size is a very rigid group,'' Gillooly said. ''If they couldn't buy a new one, they'd buy a used one.''

To entice customers to the new Crown Victoria, Ford will air a 60-second commercial and two 30-second ads beginning March 10, less than two weeks before the car officially goes on sale.

Print advertising, concentrated on magazines, will begin at the same time.

Vanderzee declined to say how much Ford was spending on the Crown Victoria campaign.

During 1990, Ford sold 118,017 Crown Victorias, up 8.8 percent from 1989. In 1985, when it last advertised the car, Ford sold 162,334 Crown Victorias.

Vanderzee declined to say how much Ford was spending on the Crown Victoria campaign or any of the company's other advertising projects.

During 1990, Ford sold 118,017 Crown Victorias, up 8.8 percent from the year before. In 1985, a much better sales year overall than either 1990 or 1989, Ford sold 162,334 of the cars.