Ford Taurus finally closes the door on American production
Ford’s Chicago Assembly Plant ended American production of the Ford Taurus sedan yesterday (March 4). It should come as no surprise that the decision to kill the Taurus is a result of declining demand for sedans and that the plant will increase production of more-popular utility vehicles. The Taurus nameplate will continue in China, where it is assembled locally.
Over the past three decades, the Ford Taurus has taken many forms. It was introduced as a family sedan in the mid-1980s, and by 1992 it was America’s best-selling car. After a mixed reception of the oval-styled third-generation model and a lackluster facelift, Ford revived the Taurus name in rebranding the Five Hundred sedan and Freestyle crossover (the latter with a Taurus X designation). The most recent generation of Taurus moved further upscale but neither of the last two iterations ever achieved the popularity of the original.
Of course, enthusiasts will fondly remember the high-performance Taurus SHO models, particularly the first- and second-generation SHOs with the Yamaha-developed DOHC variants of Ford’s Vulcan V-6. SHO was an abbreviation for Super High Output. Those cars came with a five-speed manual transmission (an automatic was added in 1993) and had a 143-mph top speed.
Chicago Assembly put together more than 8 million Taurus-branded cars since the first model was revealed at the 1985 Los Angeles Auto Show. Some thought its aerodynamic lines would turn off consumers of that era who were used to driving boxy sedans, but the first Taurus was a big hit.
Mark LaNeve, Ford vice president for U.S. marketing, sales, and service, said in a press release, “Taurus broke new ground at its start and we’re thankful for its role in our portfolio. Those same kinds of innovations will continue for today’s customers with Ford Explorer and the rest of our lineup.”
The all-new Explorer is one of the models that will replace the Taurus at the Chicago plant, which is slated to receive a $1 billion upgrade to build SUVs. That includes the Police Interceptor Utility and Lincoln Aviator, which share a platform with the Explorer.
Farewell Taurus, your run was more than respectable.