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Old 02-10-2007, 02:12 PM
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Arrow Ford hopes Taurus name will revive sales


Ford to bring Taurus back??

By TOM KRISHER, AP Business Writer Tue Feb 6, 10:07 PM ET

DETROIT - Ford Motor Co. might hope resurrecting the once-mighty Taurus name will help reverse lackluster sales and a lack of desirable cars. One analyst says it???s a good start but the automaker has a long way to go. Ford will rename its slow-selling Five Hundred model the Taurus, a name Ford previously had used for a car that became the nation???s top-seller, two company officials said Tuesday.

"It addresses one of the issues Ford has: With all the name changes, it lost a lot of the consumers," said Rebecca Lindland, an analyst with Boston-based Global Insight. "(New Ford Chief Executive) Alan Mulally is not an industry guy, but he is a smart businessman. He???s sort of looked from the outside (and said) ...

What are you doing, and why did you discontinue the name????

The Taurus, considered by some the car that saved Ford, revolutionized the way autos look and feel when it was introduced in 1985.

Ford spokesman Jim Cain would not confirm that the Taurus name will be brought back, but said Mulally has been interested in the Taurus ever since arriving from aviation giant Boeing Co. last year.

"It will be announced in Chicago, whatever it is. I???m not confirming or denying," he said.

It will get a new, more powerful engine and some cosmetic updates for the 2008 model year, when the name change likely is to take place. The new version will be in showrooms this summer, company officials have said.

It became the best-selling car in America in 1992 with sales of nearly 410,000, unseating the Honda Accord just as Japanese imports were starting to take hold in the U.S., and it held the top spot for five straight years until it was supplanted by the Toyota Camry in 1997. Even near death last year, it sold 175,000 models in September, mainly to rental car and other fleet buyers.

The company was losing billions in the early 1980s when Taurus was just an idea. Philip Caldwell, chief executive at the time, challenged designers and engineers to come up with a radically different car that would return Ford to profitability.

"The Five Hundred was a huge letdown in terms of styling and proportion ?? all the more reason to be a little bit out on the edge, like the original Taurus was," she said. "In an ideal world, Ford would never have even bothered with the Five Hundred. They would have just redesigned the Taurus."

The Taurus, redesigned in 1996, became a symbol of the company???s current ills. It was left almost unchanged for 10 years with little advertising support as the company focused on high-profit trucks and sport utility vehicles.

Ford, left with few desirable cars, was caught flat-footed this year when consumer tastes shifted away from trucks. Its sales dropped 8 percent last year as buyers went to more fuel-efficient models made mainly by Asian brands.

Mulally, tapped to rescue the company, helped revolutionize product development at Boeing in part by taking inspiration from the broad, team-based approach Ford used to create the Taurus in the 1980s.

Ironically, those ideas failed to catch on at the automaker, some industry observers say.

Mulally, who in the 1990s managed development of Boeing???s enormously successful 777, applied the Taurus ideas to that project.

Ford shares rose 21 cents, or 2.52 percent, to close at $8.54 on the New York Stock Exchange

___

Associated Press Writer Jeff Karoub contributed to this report.

___

On the Net:

http://www.ford.com

By TOM KRISHER, AP Business Writer Tue Feb 6, 10:07 PM ET

DETROIT - Ford Motor Co. might hope resurrecting the once-mighty Taurus name will help reverse lackluster sales and a lack of desirable cars. One analyst says it???s a good start but the automaker has a long way to go. Ford will rename its slow-selling Five Hundred model the Taurus, a name Ford previously had used for a car that became the nation???s top-seller, two company officials said Tuesday.

"It addresses one of the issues Ford has: With all the name changes, it lost a lot of the consumers," said Rebecca Lindland, an analyst with Boston-based Global Insight. "(New Ford Chief Executive) Alan Mulally is not an industry guy, but he is a smart businessman. He???s sort of looked from the outside (and said) ...

What are you doing, and why did you discontinue the name????

The Taurus, considered by some the car that saved Ford, revolutionized the way autos look and feel when it was introduced in 1985.

Ford spokesman Jim Cain would not confirm that the Taurus name will be brought back, but said Mulally has been interested in the Taurus ever since arriving from aviation giant Boeing Co. last year.

"It will be announced in Chicago, whatever it is. I???m not confirming or denying," he said.

It will get a new, more powerful engine and some cosmetic updates for the 2008 model year, when the name change likely is to take place. The new version will be in showrooms this summer, company officials have said.

It became the best-selling car in America in 1992 with sales of nearly 410,000, unseating the Honda Accord just as Japanese imports were starting to take hold in the U.S., and it held the top spot for five straight years until it was supplanted by the Toyota Camry in 1997. Even near death last year, it sold 175,000 models in September, mainly to rental car and other fleet buyers.

The company was losing billions in the early 1980s when Taurus was just an idea. Philip Caldwell, chief executive at the time, challenged designers and engineers to come up with a radically different car that would return Ford to profitability.

"The Five Hundred was a huge letdown in terms of styling and proportion ?? all the more reason to be a little bit out on the edge, like the original Taurus was," she said. "In an ideal world, Ford would never have even bothered with the Five Hundred. They would have just redesigned the Taurus."

The Taurus, redesigned in 1996, became a symbol of the company???s current ills. It was left almost unchanged for 10 years with little advertising support as the company focused on high-profit trucks and sport utility vehicles.

Ford, left with few desirable cars, was caught flat-footed this year when consumer tastes shifted away from trucks. Its sales dropped 8 percent last year as buyers went to more fuel-efficient models made mainly by Asian brands.

Mulally, tapped to rescue the company, helped revolutionize product development at Boeing in part by taking inspiration from the broad, team-based approach Ford used to create the Taurus in the 1980s.

Ironically, those ideas failed to catch on at the automaker, some industry observers say.

Mulally, who in the 1990s managed development of Boeing???s enormously successful 777, applied the Taurus ideas to that project.

Ford shares rose 21 cents, or 2.52 percent, to close at $8.54 on the New York Stock Exchange

___

Associated Press Writer Jeff Karoub contributed to this report.

___

On the Net:

http://www.ford.com

-- -- -- --

14

Source: [url=http://www.localnewsleader.com/brocktown/stories/index.php?action=fullnews&id=59935]Brocktown News[/url]
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