Well, when you hear it on BlueOvalNews it must be true. According to the fan site all about FoMoCo, they've got the press release before the press conference — the five hundred will be no more for 2008. Instead, the Dearborn, MI based automaker will be bringin' FleetSalesBack (yeah!), and bringing back the Taurus nameplate. But it won't be just the five hundred that'll be getting the name, the Ford Freestyle will also be re-badged as the "Taurus X" and the Mercury Montego will be re-born as the "Sable." Officially official word's expected at either this morning's 8:00 AM CST breakfast, or at the 10:45 AM CST FoMoCo press conference. Full "press release" after the jump along with a picture of the Taurus X and the Sable. Call us when there's news on a SHO Taurus X.
FORD TAURUS, TAURUS X, MERCURY SABLE RETURN AS UPGRADED 2008-MODELS DEBUT THIS SUMMER
CHICAGO, Feb. 7, 2007 - Ford Motor Company today announced it is bringing back the well-known Ford Taurus name, introducing a new name - Taurus X - for its three-row crossover and returning the Mercury Sable to the lineup as upgraded 2008-model versions of all three vehicles go on sale this summer.
"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, at the Chicago Auto Show. "Consumer awareness of the Taurus name is double the Five Hundred that it's replacing, and awareness of Sable is triple that of Montego.
"By giving these vehicles the names that consumers recognize at the same time we're making significant upgrades, we're confident that even more people are going to be attracted to these great products in the future," Fields added.
The 2008-model Taurus sedan will go on sale this summer, replacing the Ford Five Hundred. The new Taurus features a Ford Fusion-inspired exterior design, a new powertrain with 60 more horsepower, a new all-wheel-drive system, more standard safety features - including standard electronic stability control - and other refinements to make it more distinctive, quieter, faster and safer.
The 2008-model Taurus X crossover will go on sale late this summer - replacing the Ford Freestyle - 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 2008-model Mercury Sable also goes on sale this summer - replacing the Mercury Montego - with extensive design, powertrain and safety upgrades, as well as unique touches that make it a Mercury. They include Mercury's signature satin aluminum waterfall grille, jeweled projector beam headlamps, distinctive LED tail lamps and a two-tone interior trim with unique accents. Customers preferring a technical appearance can opt for Cyber Carbon - a deep, high-gloss accent resembling carbon fiber. More traditional sophistication is available from two modern wood grain accents - Guitar Maple and San Macassar.
Ford Taurus: An Automotive Icon
The Ford Taurus was a milestone in automotive design when it was 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 7 million cars had been sold - and an estimated 3.5 million Taurus models remain on the road today
The Taurus 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 percent.
"The Ford Five Hundred has been a solid product, and it has one of the highest satisfaction rates in our lineup," said Cisco Codina, Ford's group vice president of North America Marketing, Sales and Service. "Once people discover the vehicle, nearly 60 percent end up buying a one.
"The Taurus will be even better thanks to significant upgrades - and, now, a name that people know. Going forward, we're going to cherish this iconic name with the same clarity, confidence and intensity as we do with F-Series and Mustang," Codina added.
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 the U.S. by the end of the decade - with sales of 3 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.
"The Taurus and Taurus X draw design cues from the Fusion sedan and Edge crossover. This family relationship will be a huge asset. The Fusion is an unqualified success, and the Edge is off to an even faster start than we saw for the Fusion," Codina said.
Sable Returns to Mercury
The Sable name today maintains an impressive 60 percent consumer awareness level. With the new 2008-model, Sable will offer the same differentiation that already is proving to be a success in the marketplace with the Mercury Mariner and Mercury Milan.
"Our newest Mercurys are attracting new customers and doing a great job at appealing to women," Codina said.
"The Mercury Mariner attracts more new customers today to Ford and Lincoln Mercury than any other nameplate, except the Ford Mustang. And about half of Mercury Milan customers are women, which is a higher rate than for the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry or Volkswagen Passat," Codina added.
Mercury's signature design cues - including satin aluminum accents, high contrast interiors and upscale trim and detailing - will differentiate the new Sable from the Taurus in the same way as the Mariner and Milan.
2008 Sable and 2008 Taurus X [BlueOvalForums]
You Sort of Called It: Report Says Ford Five Hundred to Be Renamed Taurus [internal]