Freestyle follows same route to become Taurus X
Name changes are becoming a fast-moving trend for Ford these days. Not long ago, the company’s Lincoln division canned the Zephyr name for its entry-level sedan and instead saddled it with a boring MKZ alphanumeric designation.
Now the Dearborn automaker has decided to recall the well-known Taurus badge and stick it on its slow-selling Five Hundred sedan as an upgraded 2008 model. While at it, the corporate decision makers decided the crossover model formerly known as the Freestyle would adopt the Taurus X name.
“Taurus has been an icon for Ford’s family sedan for more than two decades, and it’s time to return this powerful name to where it belongs,” said Mark Fields, Ford’s President of The Americas, in making the announcement.
The 2008 Taurus will go on sale this summer. It features a Ford Fusion-inspired exterior design, a new powertrain with 60 more horsepower, a new all-wheel-drive system, available standard electronic stability control and other refinements to make it more distinctive, quieter, faster and safer.
The Taurus X crossover will go on sale late a little later, with the same design, powertrain and safety upgrades, as well as three row of seats, one-touch, flip-and-fold second-row seating and an available power rear liftgate.
The Taurus was a milestone in automotive design when it was first introduced in 1985. It was the best-selling car in America for five straight years, starting in 1992. At its peak, Taurus posted annual sales of more than 400,000 units.
When production of the original Taurus ended after 21 years on Oct. 27, 2006, nearly seven million cars had been sold — and an estimated 3.5 million Taurus models remain on the road today
The name remains powerful today. In fact, it is one of top three most recognized Ford nameplates, behind only the F-Series and Mustang. Consumer awareness of the Taurus nameplate remains at an impressive 80 per cent.
The new Taurus X crossover builds on the strength of its namesake, while underscoring Ford's commitment to leadership in crossover vehicles. Crossovers already have surpassed SUVs in annual vehicle sales, and Ford predicts they will become the largest or second largest segment in North America by the end of the decade - with sales of three million units.
The three-row, seven-passenger Taurus X will complement the sporty and popular two-row, five-passenger Ford Edge in the lineup. The two crossovers will be joined by yet another large Ford crossover — based on the Ford Fairlane concept vehicle - which will debut later this year and go on sale in 2008.