Ford released a new Taurus today at the Detroit motor show with influence from the Falcon
Remember the Ford Taurus, the oddly-shaped, all-ovals, American-designed sedan the Blue Oval marque tried to sell here, starting from 1996?
Tried to sell, because Ford was largely unsuccessful in shifting many; the hordes you see on the roads, including the even more oddball wagon, are used imports from Japan.
A car that had been hugely successful in America, bombed in NZ and Australia, just as another big US success, the Toyota Avalon, was destined to do several years later.
That mid-to-late 1990s Taurus had no chance in Australia where a paranoid Australian motoring media, noting its similarity in size and power to the indigenous Falcon, feared the big Yank would spell the end of the line for the Aussie bird of prey.
Even worse, the front-driver might replace the Aussie developed – originally out of an American car – Falcon on production lines at Broadmeadows and elsewhere.
And the hallowed Falcon moniker would be worn by an American usurper. Well, of course, the Taurus failed in its mission to bring US mass motoring to the Antipodes.
But there was more. Ford Australia’s Detroit masters wanted a kind of corporate look and the next generation Falcon, the AU, almost killed off the Aussie big car.
It picked up on the Taurus’s oval styling cues – one wit quipped that it looked a Taurus somebody had stepped on – and with them the sort of bad press that can hurt a car.
There were other issues with the AU but it was its oddball looks that hurt it most, and faithful Ford six buyers hung on to their old Model ELs while they waited for a replacement for this weirdly-styled car. It finally came in the BA, the car that saved Falcon.
Ford released a new Taurus today at the Detroit motor show and the irony is that just as that 1996 Taurus influenced the way the AU Falcon looked, the FG Falcon has influenced the 2010 US front-driver, especially in the frontal styling.
Not just an FG influence can be seen in the new Taurus but also the European Mondeo; well, they’re all from the same stable essentially so they all adhere to company styling philosophies.
Ford USA characterizes the 2010 Taurus as rivalling “German luxury sedans but at an affordable price.”
It’s selling it in three trim levels: SE, SEL and Limited, starting at $US25,995.
Standard engine is the Duratec 3.5-liitre V6 paired with a choice of two new six-speed automatic transmissions which include an option of SelectShift manual shifting.
The SelectShift is only on the SEL and Limited series and has steering wheel-mounted gearshift paddles.
SELs ride on 18-inch painted aluminium wheels, have heated exterior mirrors, supplemental parking lights and chrome exhaust tips.
The Limited gets leather seats, 19-inch chrome clad aluminium wheels, 10-way power driver and passenger seats, reverse sensing and a premium sound system.
Ford says it plans to make available in the Taurus the new EcoBoost 3.5-litre V6 which it says delivers V8-style power with 20 percent better fuel economy than the standard V6.