The end of a sedan icon.
Last Friday, March 1, 2019 was the end of an era at Ford’s Chicago Assembly Plant. After more than 8 million units over 34 years of near-continuous production, the last Ford Taurus rolled off the production line. Fortunately, employees of this facility will not be losing their jobs because the all-new Explorer, Police Interceptor Utility, and Lincoln Aviator will soon be built in its place. Ford is investing $1 billion to upgrade the plant and will add 500 more new jobs. But still, the legacy of the Taurus is an important one for Ford.
"Taurus broke new ground at its start and we’re thankful for its role in our portfolio,” said Mark LaNeve, Ford vice president, U.S. marketing, sales, and service. "Those same kinds of innovations will continue for today’s customers with Ford Explorer and the rest of our lineup.”
Revealed way back in 1985 at the LA Auto Show, the Taurus not only represented Ford’s latest engineering advancements, but also a ground-breaking exterior design. It looked futuristic and made its competitors in the mid-size family sedan class look outright bland. The Taurus proved design mattered in this segment. Ironically, the family sedan segment itself is currently experiencing a major downturn as crossovers and SUVs continue to dominate.
Ford plans to replace 75 percent of its vehicle lineup by the end of 2020 with all-new models such as the new Ranger, soon to arrive Bronco SUV, a still unnamed small crossover/SUV that’s expected to be car-based, and the Mustang-inspired all-electric performance crossover. I
In many ways, it’s sad to see the Taurus go. After all, it did spawn the SHO variant starting in 1989. The first Taurus SHO came powered by a 220 hp V6 which was quite a power jump from the base model’s 140 hp 3.0-liter V6. The Taurus SHO returned for every subsequent Taurus generation.
And by 1992, the Taurus had become America’s best-selling car. Heck, it even entered NASCAR in 1998. This isn’t the first time the Taurus has been retired. Back in 2004, the Five Hundred replaced the Taurus, though that nameplate was soon dropped in favor of Taurus mainly due to name recognition. But this time things are different. The state of the auto industry is different, and there’s no longer any room for the Taurus in the Ford lineup.