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What Should Ford’s Next Taurus Be?

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It’s been about a year since Ford took its full-size Five Hundred sedan and renamed it Taurus. The move hasn’t won over new converts - Taurus sales were off 19 percent this year -- and in the meantime, competitors like the Nissan Altima and Chevrolet Malibu have taken a bigger chunk of the four-door market from Ford.

Now Ford may be prepping a response in the form of a new Taurus. Ford CEO Alan Mulally confirmed a new Taurus is in the works at a recent appearance in Detroit, and let it slip that the new version will be introduced next year.

"The new Taurus is the one we should have made originally," Mulally said during a speech in Detroit.

We’re not sure if he’s talking about the 1986 Taurus or the faltering 1996 version or the resurrected 2008 iteration. But one thing’s sure -- the Taurus is in for more dogfighting if it’s being planned as a larger alternative to the likes of the Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, Chevy Malibu and Honda Accord. Combined, those vehicles sold more than a million copies last year.

Though it has the dated silhouette of the Five Hundred, the current Taurus does have some strengths--including nimble handling, great interior room, and a 260-hp V-6 coupled to a six-speed automatic.

But to make a dent in sales, what will the next Taurus need to be? Will it have to take major styling risks? Come in hybrid and clean-diesel forms? Should it be bigger, smaller, front- or all-wheel drive?

Let us know what you think. Tell us three things the next Taurus has to have in the comments section below -- and stay tuned for more on the next Taurus as details emerge.
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Comments (25)
  1. This is the way...

    1. capture the imagination with form and function.

    2. throw in a robust hybrid drivetrain as standard equipment

    3. bring quality up to volvo standards
     
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  2. Ford image is pretty scratched, and make Taurus a best seller again, they need to use their best skills:

    1 - Forget Ford US Style. Look at what they did with Focus. Use Ford Europe "Kinetic Design". Maybe a bigger Mondeo.

    2 - Bring Diesel Options and Hybrid as well. If Ford wants to make the Taurus name strong again, why can't they do it together with the Diesel name too?

    3 - Introduce something really new, like Taurus did more than 20 years ago. Let it be the IPOD of cars.
     
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  3. The next Taurus should have:

    1. Class leading (not just good as) V6 fuel economy in mid-size segment.
    2. Overall length in the 191" - 195" range.
    3. Interior dimensions at or better than the current best of the mid-size segment.
    4. Interior sound levels at or better than Toyota/Honda/Hyundai.
    5. Build quality at or better than current mid-size segment leaders.
     
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  4. 1. Smaller than current model (current one doesn't handle as well as my '05)

    2. Lots of standard features

    3. Affordably priced.

    Re: Michael's comment about Ford meeting Volvo quality standards - Ford's current quality greatly surpasses Volvo on every survey - JD Power's Initial Quality Study and long-term Vehicle Dependability Study, as well as Consumer Reports. The reality is that Volvo needs to bring their quality standards up to Ford's level.
     
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  5. 1. clean diesel, hybrid and conventional drivetrains

    2. available all wheel drive

    3. strong statement styling that comes from the pen of an artist not the survey forms of a focus group.
     
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  6. I WOULD LIKE THE UPDATED TAURUS TO RESEMBLE THE AUSSIE FALCON BUT WITH A BENCH SEAT TO MAKE A REAL SIX PASSENGER .
     
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  7. Ford has so many great vehicles under different brands. (Strange that the Ford brand itself has so few.) Considering that Mulally said the next Taurus would be available next year may mean that the vehicle will be very similar to another brand's new vehicle launch. It would be great to see a "Ford version" of a new Mazda6 or Volvo S60.

    What ever we see, I hope it includes the following:

    -- "Kinetic styling" we've seen on recent Ford concepts
    -- Both a 4-cyl, a 6-cyl, and a hybrid offering
    -- Is it too much to ask for a turbo 4 cylinder?
    -- AWD option
    -- An anything-but-Ford interior. Perhaps they should imbed some Volvo interior designers in the group.
    -- A killer warranty. Take a page from Hyundai.
    -- Loose the current 3 chrome bar grill theme.
     
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  8. Ford needs to allow there designers to 'flex their muscles' in terms of design and not limit their creativity. The Taurus should have an upscale, yet sporty look that is innovative and stylish (not outdated the moment it arrives on the showroom floor). A hybrid version seems to be a no-brainer to compete with all the fuel efficient vehicles that GM is coming out with. I would also like to see interiors that are more sleek, stylish, and innovative - similar to the cockpits in the latest Lincoln concept cars such as the MKT. To top it off, a high performance version would be nice utilizing Ford's new TwinForce engines and would basically fill the niche they left when the Taurus SHO was killed off years ago.
     
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  9. Drop the Taurus name. It's code for "shitty rental". The glory days of 1986 are long gone.

    Why not "Fairlane"? They're not using it on the Funkmaster's Flex, after all.
     
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  10. Overall the current Taurus is a very nice car. It is quiet, roomy, has a nice interior, and the 3.5L V6 is smooth as butter. I suppose the somewhat conservative styling and larger size hurt it's image. That and while the previous Taurus slowly fell into the dark unknown, many previous Taurus buyers switched over to Accord and Camry. As is always the case with the Jones', keeping up with them means following their buying trends. I would suppose that these now Camry and Accord owners are realizing that the Taurus they once owned was really nothing special and lacked in quality and refinement compared to the Japanese. Getting these people to switch back is going to be very hard and expensive. It is much easier and cheaper to retain customers rather then try to win back customers that have left.

    My suggestion, promote quality, give it a much edgier look, offer a clean diesel and hype the hell out of it, and really push AWD. Remove some of the cushion to the suspension and give it firmer handling. Drop it an inch or so to give it a more aggressive stance. Oh, and how about a manumatic option on the 6 speed auto?

    The Camry is about as boring as your grandfathers Buick, so with a little more quality, a few more features, and a GIANT ad campaign Ford should be able to start fighting back.
     
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  11. It will be difficult with the scores of pathetic taurus' sold; consumer perception is the hardest to change.

    1)Quality - Great Warranty; good materials inside and out; refinement/high percieved quality

    2) Multi-powertrain options (clean diesel, fwd & awd, hybrid if they want, LOW WEIGHT!)

    3) Style.
     
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  12. The next Taurus must have an exciting look. It must capture attention to young buyers. It has already a good engine.

    The only thing it needs, like other Ford cars is a sportive image.
     
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  13. Ford just doesn't "get it".

    The 500 never sold well because it didn't have an engine, plain and simple. Just about everything else out-performed it including a few lawn-mowers, and to make the experience worse, the underpowered Duratech was noisy and thrashy delivering a decidedly unrefined driving experience. A short test drive was enough to scratch the 500 off my shopping list.

    Ford should never have released the 500 the way it was, and as a result they tarnished it's image and lost the short window of opportunity that opens when a car is new to market. Perhaps if the small Lincoln V8 or even the 4.0 liter V6 with more torque were offered as optional powertrains, the 500 may have been more successful.

    Ford did all the right things for 2008 by installing the new, powerful and very competent 3.5 liter V6 and upgrading the interior and exterior, but then shot themselves in the foot by calling it Taurus - the very definition of mediocrity.

    NOBODY aspires to a Taurus. It is not 1986 anymore.

    It is a real pity because the Taurus and Sable are very nice vehicles in their own right, offering a lot of very nice car for the money, but the window of opportunity in attracting market attention is gone.

    As the saying goes, you only get once chance to make a good first impression - and Ford blew it.

    Let's hope Ford doesn't blow the next Taurus - perhaps they can start off by calling it Galaxie, or Fairlane or something with heritage instead of after a dead bull.
     
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  14. 1. The new Ford needs the aggressive looks of the Interceptor concept.
    2. It needs new/old names, like "Fairlane" and "Galaxie".
    3. It needs the new 2.5L 4-cylinder for the base model "Fairlane", plus a 2.5L/Hybrid "Fairlane 500", the 3.5 liter for the "Galaxie" and the Twin-Force V6 for the "Galaxie 500" top model. AWD available for Galaxie/Galaxie 500 only.
    4. It needs both sedan and coupe bodystyles.
    5. No more Beige and Grey interiors! Bring us interior colors like "Ford Blue", "Mustang Red" and "Bronco Brown"
    6. Give Mercury the same basic sedan and coupe, but on a 2" longer wheelbase with crisper styling and frameless door-glass for both (a-la Passat CC) Mercury should be "The Man's Car" again (but women will love them anyways)
    7. Name the Mercury's "Montclair/Montclair 500" for the 4-cylinder & Hybrid, and "Park Lane/Park Lane 500" for the V6 & Twin-Force.
    8. Mercury should get an exclusive convertible: available in Montclair 500 and Park Lane/Park Lane 500 trim/engine levels only.
     
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  15. 9. Both Ford and Mercury need optional TDI's - so does Lincoln!
    10. Now that Jag is gone, Lincoln can move upmarket to compete w/ Cadillac - Can you just see the 2002 Continental Concept with a V6 TDI/Hybrid powertrain and AWD?
     
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  16. Get rid of that stupid Fusion and and get the European Mondeo over here. A car like that based on the European Mazda 6 architecture would be the key. Ford needs to be truly BOLD about powertrains here. Make the car completely and only available with alternative fuel technology, and make all repairs to the powertrain FREE at all Ford dealerships for 10 years. Give people a reason to want and need the ford as opposed to needing the Toyota and Honda for reliability. They should be a leader in technology and innovation by making no other engine available but one that uses no petroleum products. See if that works. At least the company can go down fighting instead of pasting that taurus nameplate onto a focus the next time arround to boost it's sales unsuccessfully.
     
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  17. Go back to basics, create a sedan that sets the standard in styling as The first Taurus did and at the same time gives you performance without sacrificing fuel efficiency. Must be boldly styled, sporty yet able to haul the family or why not a couple of perps back to the stationhouse. resuscitate the 86 version and theyll have a winner!
     
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  18. Rename the current Taurus, 'Crown Victoria' and rename the Fusion, 'Taurus'. Offer the "new" Taurus with 4 cylinder diesel turbo and manual transmission.
     
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  19. Simple, the new Taurus should strive for:
    1.Best of class styling (eg Nissan's Altima)
    2 Best of class performance (eg Honda's Accord)
    3 Best of class reliability (eg Toyota's Camry)
    mid 20s around-town mpg
    and a 100,000 mile drive train warranty
     
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  20. here's a thought - Ford and VW teamed up for a mini-van in Europe and did well with it. Now Ford should team with VW again and put bodies on a Passat drivetrain? Just a thought.
     
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  21. Bring back a high performance sport sedan version like the SHO--I believe there is a core group of loyal Ford enthusiasts who would welcome an opportunity to carry the Ford banner in something other than a Mustang or a truck and done correctly it should attract new, younger enthusiasts/ buyers from the foreign competition.
     
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  22. new Taurus Attributes:

    1. Exterior design should challenge cars above the $50K mark, as did the original ground breaking 1986 Taurus. Do not even consider benchmarking other cars in its class (i.e. Accord, Camry) as doing would result in a marginal vehicle.

    2. Interior ergonomics along with fit and finish should also be benchmarked against cars in the $50K range. Though realistically the new Taurus will not be a car in that league, it will push the designers and finance teams to think out side of the box to come close to those targets.

    3. Keep the Taurus name, even though it has been recently tarnished. Evoke the Taurus of 1986 which changed the industry in regards to vehicle styling. The biggest mistake made by the new Mulally team was to jump the gun and name the current vehicle the Taurus. The best move woud have been to hold off one more year and bring the Taurus name back along with a completely new vehicle.
     
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  23. I've owned a number of fords lincons and mercurys, including 1 sable and 2 taurus wagons.
    1 inspiring style at an affordable price

    2 good amount of rear seat legroom and good milage

    3 quit trying to sell more expensive suvs and bring back a station wagon, country squire or even the last (2000) taurus wagon. people want a car ride and handling with the ability to carry a bike, a grill, a tv or a cabinet. Most people don't tow anything
     
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  24. It should have the style of acuras. Sporty to attract young buyers.
    it should be very reliable and a a reasonnable price.
     
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  25. I say harken back to the second gen Taurus of the late 80s-93 era. To me they were the best looking and definitely bring back the wagon, my mom has a 93' and she is still stopped in the parking lot and complimented on its styling! Also clean diesel, please!
     
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