We show that a pure gauge theory in higher dimensions may lead to an effective lower-dimensional theory with massive vector field, broken gauge symmetry and no fundamental Higgs boson. The mechanism we propose employs the localization of a vector field on a lower-dimensional defect. No nonzero expectation values of the vector field components along extra dimensions are required. New possibilities for the solution to the gauge hierarchy problem are discussed. © 2001 Elsevier Science B.V.