Ford Taurus Reborn In Five Hundred
The Ford Motor Co. plans to announce that its slow-selling Five Hundred sedan will be using the Taurus name. According to company sources who asked not to be named, the announcement is not final yet.
Upon its introduction in 1985, the Ford Taurus redefined the American car. The sedan was a milestone design not only for Ford but for the American automotive industry as well. Ford sold about 7.5 million Tauruses during its 20 years of production. The sedan was also the best-selling car in the United States between the years 1992 and 1996. However, it lost its best-selling standing when Toyota Camry entered the scene in 1997.
Throughout its lifetime, the Ford Taurus has established a distinct fanbase of its own. It may not have that distinct Volvo grille but Taurus got what it takes to be loved by aficionados. However, its colorful existence in the industry was slashed when Ford scrapped it last year. The sad end occurred after a 21-year run that included a 5-year stretch as the best selling car in America.
Some enthusiasts are wondering if the revival of the name would rekindle that same old magic. Analysts say that resurrecting the Taurus is a smart move by Ford to leverage its remaining brand equity, but the name alone likely would not spur a sales revival. “The bottom line is the product,” said Michelle Krebs, an editor for Edmunds AutoObserver, an online auto industry magazine.
The naming strategy of Ford has been criticized in the previous years. It has renamed Windstar minivan the Freestar however the renaming did not work for the vehicle. With its Lincoln brand, Ford entertained the use of alpha-numeric system. In addition, the Escort was also renamed the Focus. Now, the automaker intends to revive the Taurus name in the Ford Five Hundred.
Alan Mulally, the Ford CEO, said that the company’s scheme to make all its cars names start with the letter F was a bad move, as it made Ford’s new cars easily forgettable. Moreover, he intends to revive some known and respected Ford nameplates for its new model line, the Taurus being one of them. When the face lifted Ford Five Hundred is launched in late 2007, it will be renamed the Taurus.
Many enthusiasts say that Mulally had a strong interest in the Taurus name so it is no surprise that he is bringing the name back. “Five Hundred clearly didn’t work,” said Sean McAlinden, chief economist at the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor. “There’s not a lot Mulally can do in a short time. This is something he can do.”
Officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity also said the Taurus’ twin, the Mercury Montego, likely will be renamed Sable, after the erstwhile Taurus counterpart. Ford spokesman Jim Cain declined to confirm or deny the name change. “There’s been a tremendous amount of interest in the Taurus ever since Alan Mulally expressed interest in the brand,” Cain said.
It can be recalled that Mulally has publicly questioned the decision to stop the production of Taurus instead of reviving its appeal with design changes. The Taurus came along when Ford was losing billions of dollars in the 1980s. Then-CEO Philip Caldwell ordered Ford designers to come up with a model that would save the company. That is when the revolutionized Taurus came into existence.
According to some analysts brand name has a great value. Some are also saying that the impact of the name on the sales of the vehicles is dependent on how people remember the brand. “Taurus once stood for trend-setting design,” Krebs added. “But that name is tainted. It really depends on do you have a good memory of the first Taurus or do you remember the later versions?”
Some dealers have rejoiced when they heard of the possible return of Taurus. “The Taurus is great branding,” Pete DeLongchamps, vice president of manufacturer relations for Houston-based dealer chain Group 1 Automotive Inc., said last Tuesday. “It had such a great history. We were surprised at the decision to stop making them.”Glady Reign is a 32 year old is a consultant for an automotive firm based in Detroit, Mi. she is a native of the motor city and grew up around cars hence her expertise in the automotive field. You can visitVolvo grillefor more information.
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