Ford to stop Taurus production next week
(autoinsidernews) - Sometime next week, Ford will end production of its once popular Taurus sedan. After 21 years and nearly 7 million Tauruses sold (and 2 million Sables), Ford's former best-selling car in America will be retired and Ford will give up on what had been called the most influential automobile since Henry Ford's Model T. Early this year, Ford halted sales of the Taurus to the public, and accepted orders only from fleet and rental companies. But the Taurus still regularly topped the automaker's monthly passenger car sales charts, reports Trend.
Despite being labeled as a jellybean or a flying potato, the Taurus saved Ford when it was introduced in 1985 and went on to sell 263,000 units in 1986, its first full year on the market. We were in terrible condition financially, recalled Jack Telnack, chief designer on the original Taurus who retired in 1998. He said `Look, we need something really different, really new, that will kind of set the pace out there.'
When that thing came out, it was a big deal, said Robert Thompson, professor of popular culture at Syracuse University. It so much became kind of the template of what a modern car was going to look like.
By the late 1990s, the Taurus became the victim of Ford's focus on high-profit trucks and sport utility vehicles, which left the car almost unchanged for 10 years with minimal advertising support. In the meantime, competitors had copied the Taurus and refined their models, and the Taurus eventually became solely a rental car and fleet vehicle.
Mark Fields, Ford's president of the Americas, has said that he doesn't understand how the automaker strayed so far from the Taurus. While Fields wasn't with Ford when those decisions were made, he said he well that Ford's 1980s turnaround was led by appealing products. He says that is exactly what he's trying to duplicate now.