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What Are Your Thoughts on the Return of the Taurus/Sable?

jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
edited April 1 in Ford
Well... Ford unveiled a renamed Five-Hundred and Freestyle at the Chicago show. Seems like the Five-Hundred will now be a Ford Taurus, a Mercury Montego will become a Mercury Sable, and a Ford Freestyle will become a Ford Taurus X.

I think that the name change is questionable because sure, people recognize the name Taurus more, but the Taurus name has baggage, including low resale value, the image of "rental car special", and of course, there's that 1996 Taurus that nobody liked...

Same thing goes for the Sable. Why Ford decided to rename the Freestyle is beyond me, as Taurus X seems like a somewhat silly name.


  • I know alot of people have no idea what a 500 or a Sable is, and for that reason it gets overlooked. But yea, I would've chosen a better name, but like they said, with 80 and 60% customer awareness it is a good idea in that respect, the name is just going to drag it down. But who knows, the Sonata name sure picked up even after a bad rep., maybe it'll happen for Ford. It needs it.

    (Will the Atlanta factory reopen?)
  • I think it would've been fine to name them that when introduced (though I guess the Taurus was still around then), but changing the name NOW doesn't seem all the smart.

    Maybe they shoulda held off with the intro until the new 3.5L and then they coulda just used the Taurus name like it was an upgrade.

    I guess I have instant classics now, though. Yay for me. :blush:
  • That is exactly what is going on. The 3.5 intro was part of the intro in January at the Detroit Auto Shop, when they invieled what was then called the 2008 Ford Five Hundred. THe 3.5 intro was also part of the Chicago intro of the Mercury and the crossover, which are now all renamed.
  • rockyleerockylee Posts: 14,011
    I can't believe Maulley signed off on this. I knew he wasn't prepared for the auto-industry. He was a good politician and won government contracts to keep boeing from going under. He doesn't have those same government friends in the automobile industry. ;)

  • I don't know I have a hard time seeing a upside to this.
  • heyjewelheyjewel Posts: 1,046
    As a Ford guy for practially ever, I'm disgusted.

    Not only are their products second-rate but their marketing geniuses must be second-graders.

    This AM on the MSN home page there's a pointer to a comparo between 2 under $30K AWD sedans. The 500 and the Legacy. Guess who wins? But hey NEXT time they compare it'll be the Taurus against the Legacy. NOW Ford will win just based on name alone eh? They must think so.

    Ford is grasping at straws and they're pulling the short one every time. I've got 3 FoMoCo vehicles in my driveway right now. They've all been very good vehicles. In all likelihood, they'll be the last Fords I'll ever own.

    One is a Lincoln LS, probably the best Lincoln ever built. It was a car that could compete with the Germans head to head. I was on the ground floor of Lincoln's resurgence. If given a little attention, it couldda been a contenda for sure. Instead, Ford let it die on the vine and came out with a Zephyr NO, Wait, a emm kay zee whatever the h__l THAT is (at least LS was Luxury Sedan) which is nothing but a dolled-up Mazda. I'm actually a bit ashamed to be seen in a Lincoln now. When many of my friends said "You bought a LINCOLN?" Accent on sarcasm, I said well, you wait this LS is a BMW fighter and they'll be more from Lincoln soon. Now? 2nd rate cars and stupid names. Sell your Ford stock before it;s too late. There isn't evven anything in the pipe for this company, save 2 concept cars which will probably never be built cause the new stuff they're doing is just going to seal their fate. And probably all the good people took buyouts and just the dregs are left.
    Sayonara Ford. Hello ... I dunno, where do I go from here?
  • cxkcxk Posts: 2
    Ford just doesn't get it..This new Taurus gimmick isn't going to make or break them, they simply need to build cars that will actually get people excited. Almost every other car company has some type of "hot rod" for lack of a better word, 4 door sedan. Stop building slow, heavy, gas guzzling & dull cars and trucks, with the exception of the GT!
  • cxkcxk Posts: 2
    As a frequent business traveler, I have rented many LS's over the last 2 years and you are correct, the potential was there but was never close to reaching it. I don't understand how GM has started to build pretty good new cars and Ford still can't??
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,328
    Ford is maybe 2 years behind GM's curve on returning to profitability so they are shuffling deck chairs until their plans reach the point where we see them. This name business is just a way for them to buy time with the generic car buying public. GM did a little of that trick a few years back when they kept making the previous generation Malibu for rental fleets and naming it the Classic while supplying newer generation Malibus to the dealers.

    They don't have to worry about alienating 500 customers because there weren't any. It's a desperate shot but I don't think they have that much to lose on it.

    It will certainly drop the price of a used 500!
  • charts2charts2 Posts: 618
    During the past 30 years or so Honda and Toyota have offered the same model names Civic, Accord, & Toyota Camry. They made improvements every couple years to keep their cars fresh and have never been challenged for top quality and resale value. Now these cars are not exactly exciting but they have built in a quality reputation/top resale values that keeps customers coming back generation after generation.

    Changing a cars name is like playing the shell game. Customers today are much too educated to now buy the same car because its moniker is different. You might get a few Taurus purists but not enough to change Fords bottom line which is getting more red every day.

    GM, Ford & D/C get what they deserve. Second best products year after year. As time goes on the big three will eventually be #3, #4 & #5.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,415
    It's a good move, period. They never should have dropped the names in the first place. Taurus is a known entity, 500 is not. Taurus may have baggage, but it is better to have a name in print than not. All this brings to peopel's minds again what the Taurus used to be before Ford ruined it. Besides, lots of people LIKE their 2000-2005 bland Tauri. And it remained their best seller until the day they killed it.

    Sable is also more recognized (it actually used to be a force in the midsize market, if you go back enough years). I prefer Montego--it is a better "Mercury" name, but so be it. They won't sell gobs more of them with the new names, but they will sell a few more than if they had left the names as Montego.

    Mullaly knew right from the beginning how stupid it was to dump an iconic name like Taurus. It is one of the top ten most recognized car names. I cannot see where this will make either model a best seller, but I cannot see any downside to this move at all. None.

    It won't affect resale of 500/Montego in any appreciable way (except possibly favorably...but that is a long shot), since resale is not their strong suit anyway, being fairly unpopular models.

    It may speed up the redesign of Taurus/Sable too. Even if it doesn't, it is a brilliant move. It gets the cars more notice than they would have gotten with the relatively minor 08 changes alone. Also, that the company can now clean up bad moves so quickly gives me hope.
  • heyjewelheyjewel Posts: 1,046
    gregg, gregg, gregg. "Brilliant move"? Come on. Even Fields only called it a "Bold move". Me? I'd call it a "Bonehead move". Let's review.
    The *original* Taurus was a fresh, new car that pretty much turned the family sedan on it's head. At least that's what folks say. I never liked it, but that's just MHO. The Sable of course was just a Taurus with a light bar and a name to appeal to the market that the marketers decided that Mercury (the God of Speed!) should appeal to - women.
    The original Taurus went on to be leading selling family sedan. Only Camry and Accord were close. Chevy had nothing to compete for about 20 years.
    Then came two redesigns, each less attractive than the one before. Sales dropped off due to that and probably also due to Consumer Reports and others saying reliability was not equal to the Japanese. Duh. Meanwhile, Camry and Accord just got better and better. Mechanical/reliable wise anyway. Looks etc is only opinion, though if one looks at the interiors in the last couple gens of CamCords, they are heads above even the present day 500Tau.
    Now, Ford has a bland family sedan that noone notices, one that cant even beat a Subaru in a comparison, let alone a Camry or Accord. And they want to sell more. So what do they do - the rename it after a car that became a shadow of it's former self and most people now know the name only as the mid-priced rental at Hertz. And those that owned a Taurus - are they pining for another one? I dunno. I have only one frioend who had a Taurus - it was a wagon. She hated it becaue the brakes wore out every couple of weeks and she was always torqued that there was no inside release or even fob release for the trunk hatch. She drives an Odyssey now.
    I think Ford is doomed. Sorry, that's MHO is all. The vehicles they have are second rate. The names are stupid. The marketing is pathetic. How many millions have they spent on those Edge commercials yet not one that actually shows what the car is and why people would want it, unless they have a Spiderman urge. The thing has bad brakes anyway. Wait til more comparos come out. The Edge is going to finish dead last. It already did against about 20 other crossovers.
    And Ford has had ONE successful vehicle in the past, what, decade? The Fusion. SO now, EVERY freakin Ford has to look like a Fusion cause heck - the idiots are buying that one, so they'll buy this one too if it looks like that one.
    Also, I must've seen 10,000 commercials for the emm kay exx and navigaotor and emm kay zee in December. And what happens - sales DROPPED.
    I'm just disgusted with Ford, tell the truth. Dismayed and disgusted. And even worse, the 500 not only cant compete with Subaru, the Accord or the Camry but Chrysler has huge winner with the 300 and the Chevy Impala is actually a very very nice car these days WITH options to make it either an econo gas sipper (cant get a 500 that sips gas) OR an SS model that's a speed demon (the 500 has been woefully underpowered. The 3.5 might help a bit, but it aint gonna remind anyone of the Galaxie 500 XL.) And Chevy is going back to RWD for the Impala, which IS a brilliant move. And if they do an interior for it like they've done for the new Malibu - even CamCord buyers may notice it.
    The Ford is the bottom of the heap. It's a nice, bland car with a questionable reliability future. Why anyone would buy one over the competition, whether they call it the 500 or the Taurus, is a question for the ages. Sorry, that's MHO.
  • charts2charts2 Posts: 618
    Back in the 60s the Dodge charger was a big powerful RWD car that held its own in sales. Then Mopar killed it off only to bring the name back again in the late 70s as a little FWD Dodge Charger. It never made the grade. Ford tried the same with the T Bird. It didn't even come close to the original in any important way especially sales, it hit the dust. The Mercury Maurader same thing. You just can't use a name that was popular before and roll the dice hoping it will work again. Pontiac tried to fool eveyone with the new improved ozzie GTO. Didn't come close to comparing to the original that still commands big $ today. Few cars that have new names or names resurrected that have been succesful are few. The Chevy Impala is one that carries over 50 years of equity.

    Ford is not in the position to gamble that "this might work or that might work". They need to stand back and see what they are producing and start with a new business plan making exciting cars again. Now if Ford was to call the Five Hundred the Camry, or Accord they might even fool a few people and steal a few sales.

    The Five Hundred name carries no equity. The Taurus name has had its day. I don't think previous Taurus consumers now want to spend thousands more on a car that no one wanted in the first place.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,415
    I don't disagree with much you say...except that I think this is a terrific decision for a company in deep doo-doo. It absolutely cannot hurt, and it may help. That they were able to make this change without resorting to endless clincs and fodcus groups is great. At least use names with which people are familiar. If you are not a car guy, Freestyle and 500 and Montego mean nothing.

    The other thing I'd point out is that originally, there was a perceptual difference between the Taurus and Sable. The Sable did look like a step up. They did not share any body panels. The Sable had a differnet front end, hood, roofline, rear window, longer rear fenders, and more formal rear end, as well as a modified dash. Each redesign was less successful in defining a "Sable" and the final Sable, though it still had its own roofline, was mostly Taurus, made a bit longer and more ungainly looking.

    I don't know if Ford will survive. I too have doubts about that. However, they will not fail because of this name change. It may help a bit, it may not, but it won't hurt them more. It is all upside to neutral, so why not?

    Some people may now discover the bland 2008 things actually have some power (with the same economy), are quiet, comfortable and one of the rommiest cars you can buy. Or not. But if they don't sell any better, it won't be due to the name change.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,415
    Oh, one other thing...
    IMHO, the 2008 Taurus looks nothing like the Fusion. Even the front end is rendered very differently. Not sure how they took the three bar look of the Fusion and managed to make it look so bland and anonymous on the Taurus. Oh well.

    The Interceptor front end is what they need to do with that 3 bar look to keep it distinctive. But there isn't much of anything they can do to make the Taurus look exciting or attractive, short of a full redesign. Even the Taurus X has rendered the 3 bar look far better than that stuck on the 08 sedan.
  • Thank you Ford, for further devaluing this noisy, underpowered, listless, and generally mediocre 2006 Five Hundred Limited I bought 14 months ago. This move ought to knock about $2000 to $4000 off of it's trade-in value. Much obliged!
  • If Ford wanted to properly revive the Taurus moniker, it should have applied the name to the car that became the Fusion back in 2005. With the combined appeal of the new design and the Taurus name, it is very likely that the new mid-size would be selling at a faster pace than it is now, especially since there have been (to my knowledge at least) no recalls or flaws with the Fusion.

    Why apply a name that is synonymous with the mid-size market to the full-size scene?
  • css1css1 Posts: 247
    If this works for Ford then perhaps GM should bring back the Aztek and call it a Trans Am APV!

    Did Ford get their marketing people from a flea market?

    Maybe at the NY show we'll see the revival of the Granada.

    Ford, if your out there - make better cars, we don't care what their names are.
  • New Sable has front design almost identical to Milan. But profile and rear end do not match with front end. Interior does not look elegant, I though they will fix it but they did not. Door panels look cheap – who need bottle holders in door packets? Radio and climate control look and feel cheap; steering wheel design is awkward. Car seems to be too high. It imitates old Passat but Passat had good proportions.
  • faroutfarout Posts: 1,609
    Having had a 1997 that went over 250,000 miles with 4 transmissions. The Taurus was comfortable car. However just renaming the poor selling "500" is doomed for failure. In order to pull the Taurus back from the dead name pile Ford will have to start fresh with a vehicle that people WANT to buy. The Ford 500 is an old peoples car, and I am a old people and don't like it at all.
    Not only is rebadging a car no one wants, a bad move on Fords part, a dud by any other name is still a dud.
    If Ford does not make a MAJOR change and produce vehicles that meet the needs and WANTS of people, they are
    doomed to be taken over by KIA.

This discussion has been closed.