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

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Comments

  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,416
    I thoroughly disagree, my good host, that Ford is pulling in an old name. Up to last fall, Taurus was their best seller by far, even with total neglect. This is not the bringing back of an old name...it is not nostalgia. It is not retro. It is a current, recognizable plate that Ford was FOOLISH to give up. Sure, the best thing was for them to give the car more power, stability control and better NVH characteristics. Adding the name will get some more "boring sedan buyers" to look at trading their old Taurus for another one...rather than migrating to a Chevy Malibu (and I mean the current one, not the hot one coming).
  • HeyJewel,

    The nail on the head. Ford's advertising campaigns are horrid. When I see a bold moves commercial, it seems to focus more on the cute chick and cute guy than the actual car. The "Fusion Challenge" is a step in the right direction, but I never get the sense from Ford that the car is something exciting, and sense Ford no longer has the reputation that a Toyota or Honda has, I'm not rushing out to the dealership to check them out.

    Flash back 21 years ago, watch the ad below, and tell me if there is anything that Ford's done recently that matches how innovative this looked back then.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piValJkSDVo
  • Heck, here's one from 27 years ago that is more effective than the Ford Edge commercial....

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vHslRd8onw
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    are much better in content and are far more convincing than the current Edge ads...

    They're also better than the 2000 Sable ad that was on YouTube also...
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=7oPdFxJ2Rx4

    I also like how the 1980 Escort gets better fuel mileage than a 2007 Civic, Corolla, Rabbit, or Focus.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,797
    once again, gas mileage rating are about to be revised.
  • douglasrdouglasr Posts: 191
    "If you deliver only what the customer wants at the moment, somebody else is going to blow you away with something that goes beyond your product, or service, in quality, or innovation..."

    Don Petersen recounted in his memoirs about the original Taurus program that took six years to develop---and the 1983 T-Bird was a by-product of that program. Petersen left his "team" headed by Louis Veraldi alone from start to finish, working with Jack Telnack to create the Taurus. They managed to incorporate more than 400 desirable features into the Taurus in order to compete against the competition. They set the stage for the marketplace when the car was introduced. A unique Ford Motor product that you could not buy anywhere else. Plus Taurus had its own unique "signature" styling which the public responded to for many years.

    This is precisely what Ford Motor must return to. Unique styling, evoqative yes, but a 'Blue Oval' brand of motorcars, and not bland copies of everybody else. That is why BMW and Porsche are so successful today, because they never swerved from the unique product-line and have kept several generations of loyal customers as a result.

    Mr. Mulally used the Taurus program as an example at Boeing to save that firm from disaster. Boeing regained its sales leadership against Air-Bus as a result---the Air-Bus Chief Christian Strief having resigned over production delays of the big 550 seat jumbo jet and is now sadly "running" Peugot. A fate that did not befall Boeing, Mr. Mulally also going so far as to use production techniques from Willow-Run applied to Boeing for manufacture.

    No, the public won't be fooled by a rebadging of the 500. But the "500" meant nothing to anyone. People forget that the last time Ford used that name was when it was coupled with the bottom line 'Custom-500' in the 1960's! A car that Jack Webb used in the TV show 'Dragnet' of the same era. Prior to that it had also been the moniker of the 'Galaxie-500' which was once a higher end Ford. So the re-use of the Taurus name, still so resonant with the buyers is a good move. I have not met one person who thought killing the Taurus was a good idea---if anything they were angry about it---driving them to the competition.

    The car is OK, but needs a motor with another 75Bhp at least to give it some "get-up-and-go". Who wants to drive an underpowered car that can't get out of its own way? Why else did they rebadge the Zephry into the Z when they changed the motor? It would take less than six months for Ford Motor to up-rate the engine. If the engineers are not now testing such are car, they should do what Rudolf Uhlenhaut did in 1968 at Daimler-Benz when he encountered numheadedness in the front office with respect to performance: he secretly stuffed a W100 6.3 Mercedes-Benz V8 "600" motor into the smaller W109 bodyshell, locked the hood, and handed the keys over to his unsuspecting boss for his week-end test-drive. That's how the legendary 300SEL 6.3 got born! (It's also how the Cobra, and Shelby Mustang's came about---stuffing a lot of BHP under the hood!!)

    This is what Ford Motor engineers need to do today. Take the pieces from the shelf and build some cars with gusto, then ask for foregiveness later.

    ...and my dear "ARMSMEN"* on the 14th floor of the Glass House: Please STOP, repeat S-T-O-P, copying the old Mercedes monikers "SEL" that you have glued onto Ford Motor products. Nothing makes me scream out loud: "COWARDS" faster than when I see that on the back of a Ford Motor product. Ford does its best when their products are unique, when they act independently with verve and gusto. They did it time and time again between 1946-1969, and rarely after that, with a few hits every-now-and-then.

    So Ford can still win, but they need to be twice as good as the competition, unique and independent of everyone else. That is what made the Taurus a success, and that was the rubric that Mr. Petersen gave to the rank and file back in 1980 when he took over from Henry Ford II.

    It was good advice then, and it still stands. Mr. Mulally, are you listening?

    DouglasR

    * "ARMSMEN": CEO of Ford Motor: Alan R. Mulally, aka A.R.M., his "troops" thus should be called "ARMSMEN"---just as Earnest Breech brought in the "Whiz Kins" in 1945 at the behest of HF II. ...and "ARMING" them with thought and vision.

    (sources: 'A Better Idea' Donald E. Petersen, Houghton-Mifflin, NY, 1991; 'Mercedes-Benz V8s' F. Wilson McComb, Motorbooks International 1980)
  • heyjewelheyjewel Posts: 1,046
    The "Fusion challenge" might be a step forward, but to me it's dishonest. They compare FWD Camrys and Accords with AWD Fusions. Of COURSE they'll stick to the road better. Why not apples to apples? Hmmm? FWD Fusions would fare how against their direct competition? I understand that it is a plus that one can pay extra for AWD, however one could pay extra for a hybrid Camry or Accord as well. Would it be fair for Toyota to compare gas mileage of the hybrid Camry to a non-hybrid Fusion? ANd bury the word hybrid in the noise as Ford buries the term AWD in their commercial?
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,416
    The hybrid Fusion will finally be released this fall. I can't fault Ford for ballyhooing the AWD Fusion. After all, Camry and Accord don't offer a similar version.

    Even if 500 sales fall (like so many of Ford's re-do's lately), they would have fallen further without the Taurus name. Taurus means something, good or bad, to millions of potential customers. 500 means nothing. Zip. It was a halfway decent car in a field of cars overshadowing it.

    Ford needs to grasp all straws right now, as well as deliver real goods as soon as they can. That's why I, primo Ford critic, am practically wetting my pants that they are preserving the Taurus name. Such a rational decision that costs them nothing, and will have a payoff within a range from nothing, to something small but significant. Who of us semi-sane could have hoped any longer that anyone in the glass house would do anything rational, and quickly?
  • heyjewelheyjewel Posts: 1,046
    Hybrid Fusion will be a great addition to the field. THAT will be a step in the right direction. Of course, since it uses Toyota technology, Ford wont be able to sell many of them because of Toyota's being in first position for parts and supplies etc. Toyota will make sure Ford has enuf to sell a few hybrid Fusions but that'll be it. It's in Toyota's interest for Ford to soldier along. For Toyota to ruthlessly drive Ford out of business would be a bad PR trip on them. They don't want that.

    Once again, I gotta disagree, first just with opinion - it is my opinion the name means squat. Some folks remember Taurus fondly, some remember it as a rental car and others as a POS that they had to fix or repair daily. The only Taurus owner I've known is in the last category. Any extra 500s they sell will be because of the engine. No matter what you say to the contrary, it will be MY belief that since they FINALLY addressed the cars' major shortcoming that THAT is why people are buying the car, NOT because it has a familiar name on it. And neother of us wil be able to prove the other wrong, so let's let it lie.

    And I gotta disagree on substance - the name change costs them money. Not a ton, but some. They gotta throw away all the old badges, order new ones right? Plus the marketing folks can have a field day with new brochures and pictures to play with, they're the big winners. Job security.

    I've heard they're going to rename the Focus to the Pinto or Escort? What say you to that? And I read one blogger who suggested they take the final step and rename the company to "Titanic Motors".

    I too am semi-sane and I think this decision is crap. They would have been far better off to market the cars intelligently AND spend some develoment money to fix the horrble brakes on the Edge. THAT would have been good PR. This name change is smoke and mirrors. In other words - business as usual for Ford.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,416
    Oh, geez, go to bed! Pinto or Escort names have nothing on Focus. The 2000 Focus was so much better than Escort that it buried it. And the European continues that excellence even if the American version no longer does.

    But 500 is POS name that mever should have seen the light of day. A few people bought it this half-baked product, but not enough to get it on the radar screen. At least with Taurus "some folks remember it fondly, some remember it as a rental car and others as a POS that they had to fix or repair daily." But they remember it. Nobody but a few owners remember the 500, so why not change the name at the same time they address the shortcomings?

    The few cents the badges are going to cost will not justify sticking with a dumb name that has no associations at all, good or bad. More than 80 percent of consumers recognize Taurus as a Ford product, compared to about 9 percent for the Five Hundred, according to research by Art Spinella of CNW Marketing Research in Bandon, OR.

    They can't fix the horrible brakes nearly as cheap as doing this. Yes, you and I both hate the Edge, and wish it had been more cutting "edge." Ain't gonna happen overnight, and that is too bad. A name change, however, can happen overnight, even with a bankrupt company. Your well taken objections to Ford's decision making of the last many years should not prevent them from straw-grasping in every darn place they can possibly do it.

    The only wsy they will get back to addressing all the things you decry is by first, not hesitating to do anything at all that is cheap, a change, and unlikely to hurt the bottom line. Any pennies they make with these straws can go in the kitty toward doing the real things...and of course a name change doesn't make that grade. But if the choice is between a 2008 unknown 500 with the improvements that it should have had in 2005, or a 2008 Taurus that ain't half bad, well, Ford would be remiss to retain the stupid 500 name.
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    I thoroughly disagree, my good host, that Ford is pulling in an old name. Up to last fall, Taurus was their best seller by far, even with total neglect.

    Problem is, the 2006 was Ford's best seller, but they all went to Hertz, Enterprise, and Dollar. Ford admitted they artificially inflated sales by dumping these cars on the rental market, and finally realized it was a bad idea. Their January sales numbers reflected that reversal of policy.

    Adding the name will get some more "boring sedan buyers" to look at trading their old Taurus for another one...rather than migrating to a Chevy Malibu (and I mean the current one, not the hot one coming).

    This Taurus won't be available until the new "hot" Malibu is also out, so your comparison doesn't work. And the sad part is, the Malibu (in the Fusion/Camry/Accord class) and the Impala in the 500-Taurus/Avalon/300 class) will both blow it away. The Impala offers a 300+ horse V8 from the Silverado line, the 300/Charger offer two flavors of Hemi power - will Ford counter that with the new Taurus? Probably not. By the time this platform is re-engineered to truly compete, the other carmakers will be on their next generation.

    As you note, the Taurus was neglected... that's why I believe this won't work. The Taurus of its last 5 years went nowhere while its competitors continued to improve. This is too important a sales segment to just play catch-up. I last drove a Taurus in 2002 (surprise, a rental), and it was one of the most lifeless things I ever had to drive. My godchildren's parents had a 2000 that they bought used at just one year old... same feel.

    I used to be a "Ford guy" - my dad owned them, I owned them. But I just don't see any innovation coming out of Dearborn. Before and after the Daimler merger, Chrysler maintained that "so what, we're building it anyway" attitude... Toyota and Honda still completely revamp their cars no matter how great they sell... and at least with Chevy, GM has started to find its way again. Ford's only recent successes are the Mustang and Fusion. That's not enough to pay the bills.

    And as others have pointed out, Ford isn't advertising the vehicles any more, just an image. The competition's ads tell you why you should buy their car - Ford ads don't because they don't have the features.

    MY2008 will be the year that makes or breaks Ford. Mulally had better hope this works.
  • "And rednecks is an offensive word."

    PC Police Alert!!!!

    The term "redneck" is used freely. It is not considered profanity by the standards of society. All forms of media use the term without adult viewing or listening restrictions. Comedian Jeff Foxworthy has made alot of money using "redneck" as the theme of his act. His shows are widely viewed by people of all ages and backgrounds.

    If you find the word personally offensive then say so. But don't define proper speech to me on an automotive forum. Because frankly, I don't care.
  • Who wants to drive an underpowered car that can't get out of its own way?

    Not me . . that's why I got the Ford Five Hundred. :P
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,416
    My dear host, your points are mostly well-taken. But I think you still are missing mine.

    NO DOUBT, no question there are continuing problems with the design of the Taurus/500. However, the name change won't hurt and might even help, given the recognition factor that the 500 will never attain, no matter how long it is called that. Ford will retool this banal car as soon as they can (and the competition will march on too), but they can't do anything about the tepid 2008 changes already in place. Again, if large numbers of people buy things like the La Crosse, Malibu, 6 cylinder Impala, the awful Chrysler twins (that are just now being replaced by the Avenger and new Sebring), etc., the market for reasonably priced, fairly lifeless sedans is still huge.

    So some think Ford shouldn't do this (because of all the things they are NOT doing, or not capable of doing at the moment), when they can do it within their almost bankrupt state, get nearly free publicity for what was a totally anonymous and largely overlooked car? If it is still overlooked, they have lost nothing of substance. But there is at least a chance some of those millions who bought one or two or three Tauri will now look at the 08 for that reason alone. But enough of that. Let's agree to disagree.

    However, your contention that this is a revival of a name or nostalgia or retro does not hold in this case. Sure, Ford was pumping Tauri into fleet sales. But that does not mean these things were pulled off the market or crushed or sent to Antarctica. These are cars that will be driven by huge numbers of people in fleets. They will be re-sold as program cars to people who want inexpensive, but still under warranty rides.

    But more importantly, dealers around here are still advertising specials on the 2007 Taurus. Yes, Ford produced an 07, and ramped up production through October, so they are not in short supply. The "new" Taurus, being an 08, means Ford dealers will not have seen a gap at all in availability of the Taurus.

    A few people might miss the 500 name. Otherwise, I there is little downside to this purely marketing move, whether it "works" or not.
  • What would save Ford would be some decent marketing. I have NO IDEA what the 500 has to offer. I know it is bigger than the Fusion and a bit sharper looking than the Crown Vic, but I don't know why I should buy it over other cars.

    Until Ford redoes the sheet metal and figures out how to market it again, they're going to be alsorans.
  • faroutfarout Posts: 1,609
    My last 13 vehicles have been Dodge's or Jeeps. Before that I was a di-hard Forf man. Until a 1987 Topaz and an Airo-Star. These vehicles fell apart and became too expensive to keep up with. Poor workmanship, cheap undercooled engines and so forth.
    Ford had huge problems but, so does Dodge, Jeep and Chrysler. This flat front end that hampers fuel mileage, engines that just barely get 22mpg. The CVT made in Mexico transmissions, the WORLD engines made in Korea ,by KIA!

    This is a massive failure to produce a vehicle that the mass of people want.

    Farout
  • Who wants to drive an underpowered car that can't get out of its own way?

    Anybody who bought a 2005 Toyota Avalon XLS, I guess. :D

    http://www.dragtimes.com/Ford--Five-Hundred-Drag-Racing.html

    500: 1/4 mile in 16.4 secs, ending at 86 mph

    http://www.dragtimes.com/Toyota--Avalon-Drag-Racing.html

    Avalon: 1/4 mile in 16.2 secs, ending at 87 mph
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,416
    Like I've said, the 500's acceleration has been more about the perception than reality. Yes, Ford was more than remiss to introduce what is essentially a full-size car with only one engine, and a 3.0 at that. However, the old 500 could still out-accelerate a Chrysler 300 3.5. Gearing is an important factor. Still, the darn car was saddled with boring styling inside and out. To provide only one engine, and one that did best with a noisy CVT, was (to be charitable) short-sighted.
  • Like I've said, the 500's acceleration has been more about the perception than reality. Yes, Ford was more than remiss to introduce what is essentially a full-size car with only one engine, and a 3.0 at that

    I guess Ford made the mistake, then, of thinking people were RATIONAL.

    Here we have people bashing the Five Hundred because it "can't get out of its own way" . . and I seriously doubt they thought that (or would say that) about the 2005 Toyota Avalon back in 2005.

    And this is IN SPITE of the fact that probably only 1% of drivers ever use the full-power of either vehicle when accelerating.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    that Ford could have rushed development of the 3.5 to get it into the Five Hundred and Freestyle at launch?
  • Probably so . . but then any problems with it, and people would be saying "Why did Ford rush it to market without fully testing it?" :P
  • I sat in the 500 at an auto show, when it first came out. Its interior was cavernous and well-constructed. Why would anyone, I thought, need an SUV with the 500 available? I predicted it would nab the taxi and cop fleet sales too......but it never happened. Ford saddled it with a weak engine (although its acceleration times are comparable to the competition.) Ford also should have switched it to RWD, to better compete with the 300/Charger........point is, the 500 will have a new engine and a venerable name. This name change will do wonders, mark my words.
  • pnewbypnewby Posts: 277
    Yep, and there is more than 1 way to be dumped. When Bill or Jacques at that time, weren't smart enough to recognize JRs perfection at his job, they quit listening. That's enough to dump me, how about you? BTW I think you are very knowledgeable in your postings, just a lot "nicer" when you take your meds. :)
  • Lots of talk about the 500's acceleration - or lack thereof. First off, based on Motor Trend tests, a Duratec Taurus was quicker than a 500 from 0-60 and in the quarter mile. Imagine a Taurus owner with a fully broken in engine test driving a new "tight" 500. It would not only seem slower - it is slower.

    But there is more to it than that. As mentioned, few people care about 0-60. How about ability to hold top gear on a long grade? Every 6 speed 500 I have driven has a tendency to downshift too easily on even slight grades or when requesting even slight acceleration. The 3.0 is not the quietest engine around and it sounds like it is mounted to the console instead of under the hood. While the gearing of the 6 speed helps WOT acceleration, it otherwise makes for a very busy and noisy powertrain.

    The frequent downshifts/upshifts and resulting noise gives the perception of lack of power. And that perception has a good dose of reality! The 2008 3.5 Taurus with the 6F transmission (I assume the 6F) and more sound insulation will be a huge improvement.
  • xrunner2xrunner2 Posts: 3,062
    Now I see the same already tired ad for the Edge day and night. OK, so the Edge is an Orange boxy vehicle that can ride on 2 wheels and on the sides of buildings. That is ALL this ad conveys, besides a catchy tune.

    Marketing people, in general, are overpaid grown-up third graders. Fords' marketers apparently ARE third graders.


    That Edge commercial, besides catchy tune, has pleasant looking actress. With a little bit of tweaking, that commercial could have been for some type of exotic restaurant at the top of a high building.

    One positive about the Edge is it's name. At least it's a word and not an acronym.

    I wonder if vehicle buyers today, who are asked to plunk down min $30K for a nice appointed crossover/wagon, would be interested in old-fashioned commercials showing "actual" attributes (hauling capacity, seating comfort, ease of loading groceries/boxes, room for children/dog/suitcases, etc).

    500 name change to Taurus will be a non-event soon. I would guess that other than auto enthusiasts/junkies, most people in the market for this type vehicle and an "American" brand will either forget this renaming, will not make much of it, or did not even notice it.

    Beside former satisfied Taurus customers, there are a whole new generation of possible buyers for the new Taurus (younger people, immigrants) who were not part of market of original and following generations of Tauri.
  • heyjewelheyjewel Posts: 1,046
    Thanks for that. I dont try to mean, but sometimes that's all I can be. It's just me being me.

    I agree 100% with what youre saying. Didn't know you knew the background. But yeah, in essense when they stop listening to you, it's like you're dumped so it's time to look around. BTW, though Jacques Nasser was and is a racist amoung other things, he was and is a car guy who championed the LS. It was Bill the Dufus who killed it.
  • heyjewelheyjewel Posts: 1,046
    Yeah and to top it all off, there is NO WAY for the driver to take control becaue of the idiotic "D-L" shifter.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,416
    Heck, we are all racist in one direction or another. Can't escape it in this color-obsessed culture. Setting aside his racist tendencies, I'm positive that Nasser would not have let Ford slip so low. I had a feeling when he was dumped (justified or not) that it was the beginning of truly bad times for the company again.
  • Add a small diesel and they might have something.

    They wan't sell me another without a good small diesel.
  • albookalbook Posts: 1,282
    Whoever said 500 outaccelerates 300 3.5-what are you thinking?since when does a heavier underpower car go faster than a lighter more powerful one?
    Pontiac GP has 3 less hp and still outaccelerates it.
This discussion has been closed.