When a new model hits the market, auto manufacturers typically release higher-option models out of the gate to maximize early profits. In short, if you're jonesin' to get into an all-new product, you often pay a content premium to be one of the first to get said new car or truck. In a good market, that makes sense, but since 2009 has been a sales disaster for automakers, it was understandable that Ford chose to make more lower-spec 2010 Tauruses than normal. Despite the challenging financial climate, as it turns out, many dealers are clamoring for more high content models.
Automotive News is reporting that dealers are short on SEL and SHO variants of the new Taurus. Marketing chief Jim Farley reportedly told a group of reporters at a press event that the situation was "a problem for our dealers." Overall inventory of the Taurus is solid, with the typical dealer holding a 60-70 day supply of the plus-sized sedans – but some dealers have reportedly waited up to 80 days for certain custom orders.
Given how much more upscale the 2010 model is over the last model, this can be seen as a victory of sorts for the Blue Oval, as it wasn't clear that consumers would welcome back the Taurus nameplate on any car, much less one with loftier aspirations and price tags. That said, all is not puppy dogs and ice cream – Taurus sales are down 22 percent year-over-year (selling 38,361 units through November), although whether that is because of the economy or the car itself remains up for discussion.
Ford dealers are reportedly also running short on F-150 Double Cab models as market demand was misjudged by product planners.
One vehicle that may help Ford to pick the right mix out of the gate is the Fiesta. Ford has gained over 80,000 hand-raisers for what will soon be the Blue Oval's smallest US vehicle and the "Fiesta Movement" has helped the automaker get a lot more data on what kinds of variants customers expect. If the Fiesta launch goes as planned, we're thinking Ford will take similar steps to market other products in the future.
[Source: Automotive News - sub. req.]