2008 Ford Taurus X
Click for a mini gallery of Taurus, Taurus X and Sable

Let this be a lesson to Ford: if you have a web page up on your servers, it is LIVE even if you don't have a link published for it. The proof comes courtesy of Blue Oval News, where one of their forum posters played around with URL strings and found the splash pages for the 2008 Ford Taurus and Taurus X (née Freestyle), as well as the 2008 Mercury Sable (formerly Montego).

The materials were posted, and the rest, as they say, is history. The big news, of course, is the summary renaming of the Ford Freestyle, Ford Five-Hundred, and Mercury Montego to the familiar Taurus and Sable monikers. Ford honcho Alan Mulally made it no secret that he thought ditching the old names was a big mistake, and by resurrecting them, he and Ford hope that shoppers see them and welcome them back with open arms. It could work. There are plenty of people who don't follow this stuff with the level of fanaticism we (and you, the readers) do. For them, the idea of a New Taurus or New Sable will be of interest, even though we all know it's simply a matter of nameplate swapping.

It also helps that all three cars are restyled. The Taurus is the Five-Hundred that was rolled out in Detroit. The Taurus X loses the Freestyle name and gains the Edge's face, creating a family look for the crossovers. The Sable's new front end apes that of its little brother, the Mercury Milan. All the cars get the 260-horsepower V6 and some new stuff like Ford Sync will be available across the board.

While the initial reaction may be to dismiss this as an act of desperation, it very nicely sets up 2010, when the entire Ford lineup should be all-new. These are just renamed cars right now, but when they get redesigned, they'll be the all-new Taurus and Sable. They'll have had a couple of years to reconnect with the public and by then, all this naming hubbub is going to be a very distant memory. Especially to consumers.

Follow the jump for the press releases on all three.

Stay tuned tomorrow for much more on these cars, as the Chi-town crew will have live shots, full galleries, and (hopefully) video.

UPDATE: Full coverage on each car, including individual galleries, available at the links below:

[Source: Blue Oval News]
Related GalleryFIRST LOOK: 2008 Ford Taurus, Taurus X, Mercury Sable
2008 Ford taurusFord taurus X2008 mercury Sable


PRESS RELEASES:

FORD TAURUS
2008 FORD TAURUS FEATURES MORE POWER, STYLE AND MORE STANDARD SAFETY FEATURES
  • New Ford Taurus features more than 500 engineering changes, making it more distinctive, quieter, faster and safer.
  • 3.5-liter Duratec V-6 delivers an estimated 260 horsepower – an increase of nearly 30 percent from the previous engine.
  • Standard electronic stability control and available all-wheel drive provide confident ride and handling in all weather conditions.
  • Ford Sync™ offers new levels of connection, control, simplicity and personalization for electronic devices such as cell phones and MP3 players
  • Taurus will reach showrooms this summer.

CHICAGO, Feb. 7, 2007 - The 2008 Ford Taurus features more than 500 improvements that make it more distinctive, quieter, faster and safer. Highlights include new exterior styling, a new powertrain, a new all-wheel-drive system, more standard safety features – including standard electronic stability control – and structural upgrades to further enhance crash protection.

"Customers will find the 2008 Taurus delivers more of what they are looking for, including a strong design, high-quality interior, power and performance, must-have features like Ford Sync and a great safety reputation," said Cisco Codina, Ford's group vice president, Marketing, Sales and Service.

The 2008 Taurus features Ford's 3.5-liter Duratec V-6 that delivers an estimated 260 horsepower – an increase of nearly 30 percent from the previous engine – and 245 pound-feet of torque. It is mated to the same smooth shifting, six-speed automatic transmission as the new Ford Edge.

Importantly to customers, even with more power and performance, the 2008 Taurus delivers real-world fuel economy similar to outgoing Five Hundred – thanks to advancements in powertrain technology.

New exterior design is more emotional, more Ford

The new look of the 2008 Taurus suggests the same proven emotional appeal of the popular Ford Fusion. The new Taurus features the Ford brand's signature three-bar chrome grille, a sculpted hood with crisp accent lines and a new front fascia chamfered at the outer edges, adding more structure to the design.

New taillamps carry a strong, horizontal theme to the rear, while a new rear fascia houses dual chrome-tipped exhausts. Chrome side vents, door handles and mirror caps give the high-line model a more expensive appearance.

Ultra-quiet interior and plush ride

Interior quietness is often associated with a customer's perception of overall quality. For 2008 the Taurus team has delivered interior quietness that rivals many luxury cars. The new sound package includes such technologies as expandable foam pellets in the A-pillars to reduce wind noise and the use of an advanced sound-deadening material called Sonosorb™ in the doors, headliner and pillars. Sonosorb increases sound-deadening efficiency by 20 percent while retaining the same thickness as the material it replaces.

Engineers also reduced road noise by stiffening the area where the rear package shelf meets the floor pan. Even the new climate control system is 50 percent quieter than before.

Taurus's plush, confident ride is further improved for 2008.

Upgrades include revised shock towers that help increase front suspension travel by 10 percent, new dampers and springs in both front and rear, and a revised, retuned rear suspension.

One of the most significant changes is how the engine is mounted in the vehicle. The engine was previously mounted to the front subframe. On the 2008 Taurus, the engine and transmission are bolted to the body with hydraulic mounts to reduce vibration. By moving the roughly 600-pound powerpack off the subframe, engineers were able to better tune the suspension and, ultimately, create an even better ride.

Maximum convenience and space

A large majority of customers shopping in the large car segment place front seat roominess as a key want (86 percent) while many also prioritize cargo capacity (63 percent). Answering these desires, the 2008 Taurus features the most spacious interior of any large sedan, with best-in-class legroom front and rear and 60/40-split fold-flat second-row of seats. With the fold-flat front-passenger seat, items up to nine-feet long can fit inside.

Taurus also offers a number of must-have technologies. In addition to a standard auxiliary audio input jack, available convenience features include a voice-activated navigation system, a DVD entertainment system and factory-installed SIRIUS® satellite radio.

Ford Sync™ is also available on the new 2008 Ford Taurus. Sync is a voice-activated hands-free in-car communications and entertainment system which fully-integrates mobile phones and digital media players. The Sync in-car communications system was developed in collaboration with Microsoft and will be offered exclusively on 12 Ford, Lincoln and Mercury products in North America beginning this year.

Building on safety leadership

Research routinely demonstrates that safety features are at the top of customers shopping lists. For example, nearly 70 percent of shoppers are interested in side air bags and 65 percent are interested in electronic stability control. Both are standard on the new 2008 Taurus.

With these standard features, the 2008 Ford Taurus is expected to be segment leader in safety, capable of achieving five stars ratings in all four categories for the U.S. government's crash tests.

Ford's AdvanceTrac® electronic stability control system can predict the vehicle's intentions using a sensor to detect and measure oversteer and yaw by monitoring the vehicle's speed, throttle position and steering wheel angle. When the system senses wheel slip, engine torque is reduced and braking is applied where needed to help keep the car tracking safely on its intended path.

Additional standard safety equipment includes dual-stage driver and passenger front air bags, seat-deployed side air bags for driver and front passenger, and Ford's Safety Canopy™ side curtain air bags for both rows. For an added measure of safety, a new steering wheel design recesses the air bag 15 millimeters farther away from the driver.

About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures and distributes automobiles in 200 markets across six continents. With about 300,000 employees and more than 100 plants worldwide, the company's core and affiliated automotive brands include Aston Martin, Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, Mazda, Mercury and Volvo. Its automotive-related services include Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit www.fordvehicles.com.

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FORD TAURUS X
FORD STRENGTHENS CROSSOVER LEADERSHIP WITH INTRODUCTION OF NEW 2008 TAURUS X
  • 2008 Ford Taurus X is a full-size crossover with three rows of seating and Ford Edge-inspired exterior styling.
  • Must-have features include one-touch, flip-and-fold second-row seating and an available power rear liftgate.
  • 44 percent better acceleration than the outgoing Freestyle, thanks to new 3.5-liter V-6 and six-speed-automatic transmission.
  • Standard electronic stability control and available all-wheel drive provide confident ride and handling in all weather conditions.
  • Ford Sync™ offers new levels of connection, control, simplicity and personalization for electronic devices such as cell phones and MP3 players.
  • New Taurus X will reach showrooms late this summer.

CHICAGO, Feb. 7, 2007 - Unveiled today at the 2007 Chicago Auto Show, the 2008 Ford Taurus X is a full-size crossover that offers three rows of seating, a powerful 3.5-liter V-6 engine with six-speed automatic transmission and a long list of standard safety equipment – including side curtain air bags and AdvanceTrac® electronic stability control.

Innovative convenience features on the Taurus X include one-touch, flip-and-fold second-row seating and an available power rear liftgate.

The 2008 Taurus X will reach dealer showrooms in late summer 2007.

"The three-row Taurus X is a key element in o ur broad crossover lineup and is a great complement to the popular, two-row Ford Edge," says Cisco Codina, Ford's group vice president of North America Marketing, Sales and Service. "Like Edge, the new Taurus X delivers confident design, good power and handling, and plenty of standard safety equipment. With Taurus X, customers get a roomy, interior that is flexible, functional and comfortable – in all three rows."

Bold, new look inspired by the Ford Edge

The exterior design of the Taurus X picks up design cues from the Ford Edge, including the

step-up headlamps and distinctive Ford three-bar chrome grille. The Taurus X also features a restyled hood, newly shaped front fenders and fascia along with headlamps and fog lamps mounted in new chrome surrounds.

Taurus X sports a new rear fascia, Fusion-inspired taillamps, chrome dual exhaust tips and an available reverse sensing system. A new roof rack up top features a tougher, more rugged design.

Also available for the first time on Taurus X is an Eddie Bauer branded series. Ford's relationship with Eddie Bauer over the last two decades has proven to be very popular with customers with a nearly 40 percent take rate of the series on both the Ford Explorer and Expedition. The Eddie Bauer series includes a unique two-tone paint scheme, standard 18-inch, five-spoke aluminum wheels, wiper activated headlamps and an Eddie Bauer badge.

Innovations improve an already versatile interior

The 2008 Taurus X delivers the interior space and convenience features that customers shopping for a three-row crossovers are known to prioritize. Two new features set Taurus X apart: one-touch, flip-and-fold second row seats that provide easy access to the third row and an available power rear liftgate. Controls for the power liftgate are located on the center console, rear cargo area and on the key fob.

With the Taurus X, the interior is as large and comfortable as it is flexible. It is available in 5- and 7-passenger configurations and offers exceptional visibility and space for all passengers because of the stadium style seating that places the third row higher than the second row.

It can haul cargo as well. With the second and third row folded flat, Taurus X offers 85.2 cu. ft. of cargo space behind the first row. Fold the front passenger seat flat and Taurus X can accommodate items up to nine feet long.

Must-have features include an available voice activated DVD-based navigation system and SIRIUS satellite radio. For entertainment, rear seat passengers can enjoy an available DVD player with a large, eight-inch screen and a clearer, brighter picture.

Taurus X is also one of 12 new Ford, Lincoln and Mercury products to offer Ford Sync™ – a voice-activated, hands-free, in-car communications and entertainment system. Developed in collaboration with Microsoft, this Ford-exclusive system fully integrates mobile phones and digital media players into the vehicle.

New powertrain transforms Taurus X

At the heart of the 2008 Taurus X is Ford's 3.5-liter Duratec 35 V-6 engine. It delivers an estimated 260 horsepower – an increase of nearly 30 percent over the previous engine. To manage the additional power and deliver sharper performance, the continuously variable transmission has been replaced with a six-speed-automatic gearbox that was developed in tandem with the Duratec 35.

Even with the increase in power and torque, the 2008 Taurus X is expected to post real-world fuel economy numbers similar to the 2007 Freestyle, thanks to a more efficient powertrain and technologies like a fuel-saving electric power steering system. Final numbers, measured under the new-for-2008 EPA standards, will be released closer the vehicle's on-sale date.

Taurus X's available intelligent all-wheel-drive system, new for 2008, is less complex than the system it replaces and similar to the Ford Edge AWD system. It incorporates an active, on-demand electro-mechanical center coupler to allocate a precise amount of torque from front to rear, up to 100 percent to either axle. This system can also anticipate wheel slip before it happens. Under heavy acceleration, for example, the system will proactively allocate torque to the rear wheels before the front wheels begin to slip.

Taurus X features a long list of standard safety features
Taurus X is expected to earn five star ratings in all four categories of government crash tests, giving it leadership in passive safety. In terms of active safety, every 2008 Taurus X has standard anti-lock brakes and AdvanceTrac® electronic stability control, a feature nearly 70 percent of car shoppers are interested in according to Ford customer research.

The AdvanceTrac system can predict the vehicle's path using a sensor to detect and measure oversteer and yaw by monitoring the vehicle's speed, throttle position and steering wheel angle. When the system senses wheel slip or the loss of traction, the system reduces engine torque and applies braking where needed to keep the car tracking safely on its intended path.

The 2008 Taurus X features standard dual-stage driver and passenger front air bags, seat-deployed side air bags for driver and front passenger and Ford's Safety Canopy™ side curtain air bags for all three rows. The advance side air curtains feature "roll-fold" technology to enhance protection during an extended crash event. New reinforcements in the foot well area provide for better crash protection, while side impact protection is improved with pressurized crash sensors in the doors and redesigned interior door panels.

The rise of the crossover segment

Crossovers are part of the fastest-growing vehicle segment in the United States, outpacing even the remarkable growth SUVs achieved in the 1990s. CUVs surpassed traditional SUV sales for the first time last year, and they are on the way to 3 million sales annually by the decade's end.

Two distinct consumer trends have helped fuel the explosive growth of the CUV segment: car buyers seeking more spacious and flexible interiors along with the security of all-wheel drive, and traditional SUV buyers seeking more maneuverable and fuel-efficient vehicles that still make an active lifestyle possible.

The three-row Taurus X will complement the sporty and popular two-row, five-passenger Ford Edge in the lineup. To further underscore Ford's commitment to leadership, 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.

About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures and distributes automobiles in 200 markets across six continents. With about 300,000 employees and more than 100 plants worldwide, the company's core and affiliated automotive brands include Aston Martin, Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, Mazda, Mercury and Volvo. Its automotive-related services include Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit www.fordvehicles.com.

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MERCURY SABLE
MERCURY SABLE RETURNS TO SHOWROOMS WITH MORE POWER, STYLE AND SOPHISTICATION
  • Unique designs features inside and out set the 2008 Mercury Sable apart in the marketplace.
  • Modern, refined interior features include unique trim options and two-tone seating surfaces with contrast stitching.
  • Available convenience and entertainment features include DVD navigation, SIRIUS® satellite radio and Ford Sync™.
  • New Sable has 30 percent more power than the outgoing Montego thanks to standard Duratec 35 V-6 and six-speed automatic transmission
  • Standard electronic stability control and available all-wheel drive provide confident ride and handling in all weather conditions.
  • New 2008 Mercury Sable to reach showrooms this summer.

CHICAGO, Feb. 7, 2007 - Unveiled today at the 2007 Chicago Auto Show, the new 2008 Mercury Sable offers customers a sophisticated new look inside and out, a significantly quieter cabin, a more plush ride and a more powerful 3.5-liter V-6.

"Mercury products are aimed at winning over new customers who value distinct touches, and this new Sable is sure to impress with a more refined interior design and jewel-like details throughout," says Cisco Codina, Ford's group vice president of North America Marketing, Sales and Service.

"Mercury has a great deal of momentum right now, with a fresh lineup including the redesigned Mariner small SUV and popular Milan sedan. The new Sable will help continue this momentum," Codina adds.

Sophisticated style brings the exterior to life

Sable's modern, distinctive look builds on the clean, modern design themes first introduced on the Mercury Mountaineer and that were further refined on the Milan and new Mariner.

"Mercury customers tend to have a more unique sense of style," says Moray Callum, director, Ford Car Design. "They have come to expect a different level of sophistication and refinement in the surface development, paint finishes and details like satin aluminum."

Sable's clean, integrated front-end design centers on Mercury's signature satin aluminum waterfall grille flanked by exquisitely detailed, jeweled projector beam headlamps that sweep up over the front fenders. Additional visual highlights at the front of vehicle include new chrome surrounds for the fog lamps and bright, satin aluminum caps on the side mirrors.

Sable's distinctive LED taillamps feature a predominantly white lens with red accent stripes. The new rear fascia has a cutout for the chrome-tips on the dual exhaust system, a visual cue that suggests more power under the hood. A chrome strip on the bottom edge of the deck lid provides a finishing touch.

Cool and expressive accents sharpen the interior

Complementing the clean exterior, a core attribute of Mercury design is a modern, airy interior. With Sable, this design direction comes to life in two-tone interior trim with unique accents. Customers preferring a more technical appearance, for example, can opt for Cyber Carbon, a deep, high-gloss accent that resembles carbon fiber. Alternatively, two modern wood grain accents – Guitar Maple or San Macassar – are available.

Standard cloth seats wear an updated and modern graphic design while the Premier Series offers supple two-tone leather seats detailed with contrast stitching and featuring a new, more modern, perforated pattern. The rectangular shapes of the perforations are placed farther apart for a more progressive, contemporary look. The same pattern is repeated on the door panels.

Customers attracted to clean, contemporary Mercury design are also very sophisticated in their technology needs. The 2008 Sable offers the right connection for driver and passenger alike.

In addition to a standard auxiliary audio input jack, available convenience features include a voice-activated navigation system, a DVD entertainment system and factory-installed SIRIUS® satellite radio and Ford Sync™, a voice-activated hands-free in-car communications and entertainment system which fully-integrates mobile phones and digital media players.

A comfortable, quiet driving experience

A completely revised sound package gives the new Sable interior quietness that rivals many luxury cars. Technologies like expandable foam pellets in the A-Pillars and improved sound-deadening material in the doors, headliner and pillars help reduce interior noise levels

Sable's quiet and confident ride is delivered in part by a revised MacPherson-strut front suspension with 10 percent more travel, new dampers and spring rates, and a retuned independent coil-over rear suspension. A new power steering system uses an intelligent electric pump to provide extra steering assist for such tasks as parking, and dials down the assist when it's not needed, for example, when cruising on the freeway.

Sable features an award-winner, 3.5-liter V-6 engine and a sharp, six-speed transmission. The Duratec 35 engine makes an estimated 260 horsepower, a nearly 30 percent increase over the outgoing Duratec 30, and 245 pound-feet of torque.

The available all-wheel-drive system – similar to the system used on the new Mercury Mariner – features an electronically-controlled center coupling that can distribute exact amounts of torque from front to rear, up to 100 percent to either axle.

The 2008 Mercury Sable's real-world fuel economy, even with the additional power and performance, is expected to be similar to the outgoing Montego model – thanks mainly to advancements in powertrain technology.

A clever, safe choice

The new Sable is expected to be a segment leader in safety, capable of achieving five stars in all four categories for the U.S. government's crash tests.

AdvanceTrac® electronic stability control system is standard on all Sable models. Additional standard safety features includes dual-stage driver and passenger front air bags, seat-deployed side air bags for driver and front passenger, and Ford's Safety Canopy™ side curtain air bags for both rows of seats. A new steering wheel design recesses the airbag 15 millimeters farther away from the driver, for an added measure of safety.

About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures and distributes automobiles in 200 markets across six continents. With about 300,000 employees and more than 100 plants worldwide, the company's core and affiliated automotive brands include Aston Martin, Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, Mazda, Mercury and Volvo. Its automotive-related services include Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit www.fordvehicles.com.