February 06, 2007

Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Ford to rename 500 model the Taurus

DETROIT (AP) Ford Motor Co. will rename its slow-selling Five Hundred model the Taurus, a name that Ford had previously used for a car that became the nation's top-seller, company officials said Tuesday.

The officials spoke to The Associated Press on the condition they not be identified by name because the official announcement had not yet been made.

The Taurus, considered by some the car that saved Ford, revolutionized the way autos look and feel when it was introduced in 1985. The Dearborn-based automaker ceased production of the Taurus in October after 21 years and sales of nearly 7 million, perplexing many industry analysts and former Ford executives who said the brand name had great value. [...]

Well, first of all, why is it the public doesn't have a right to know who this source was!? I DEMAND THAT WE KNOW IN THE INTEREST OF NATIONAL SECURITY!!

Anyway, as for the car, it's a little late for that. The 500 has been selling slowly because it's never been clear what it's supposed to be. A replacement for the Crown Vic? Nope. A replacement for the Taurus? Nope--that's supposed to be the Fusion, which is sorta slotted in the same size as the late Contour. It's not a bad car at all from what all I've seen about it (although I've seen the interior up close and it reminded me of my '82 F-100 in terms of design integrity and materials), but again, what it's supposed to be is unclear. As for Taurus, it was a groundbreaking car that was damaged by the faddish ovaloid restyling, and not only never recovered, Ford ceased to invest in keeping it fresh.

Although "many industry analysts and former Ford executives who said the brand name had great value" might be technically correct, it's probably worth considering that the Taurus wound up its life being a great brand if you ran a rental car company or were a fleet buyer. Profitable? Probably. Not that great as a way to burnish your reputation as a maker of high quality, high value automobiles, though.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at February 6, 2007 09:10 AM

Seems Ford never really promoted the connection between the current 500 and its supposed ancestry of the 500 moniker attached to the 60s vintage Galaxie and Fairlane. I suspect that the bloodline was so far removed as to be unnoticeable to the general public and without promotion, it just didn't revive.

Calling it a Taurus ain't going to help it any now though.

Posted by: Nate at February 6, 2007 01:57 PM

There are probably very few people below the age of 40 who even realize there were such things as Galaxie 500s and Fairlane 500s, and for the ones who do, it's probably not that compelling of a reason to go out and buy one. Chrysler managed to mine their 300 history relatively well in comparison.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at February 6, 2007 02:04 PM