Ford executives recently introduced their new 1993 Probe with close to unrestrained enthusiasm, all the while admitting the good times they expect from the sporty coupe this year and next won't last.

"It's going to do phenomenally well. It's an image car for us," said Ross Roberts, the Ford Division general manager and a company vice president.With his next breath, however, Roberts takes a little of the sheen off the shine of the new Probe.

"We're going to be hot this year," he said.

"We're going to be hot next year. But two or three years from now, somebody's going to come out with something different and we're going to have to be looking at it. That segment will not let you rest."

Roberts, who was in Southern California to watch buyer focus groups, said Ford hopes to sell 125,000 1993 Probes.