Just when it seemed that we would never see the Taurus again, new Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally says that he was a big fan of the Taurus and even rented one on a recent business trip to check it out. His feelings date back 20 years to a research study he was doing on Ford's production system for Boeing. He has also publicly stated that the Five Hundred "should have been the next Taurus."
Over the 20-year run of the Taurus, Ford invested literally hundreds of millions of dollars building brand equity in the name, then just walked away. It's nothing new with automakers; look at what GM did with the GTO, Camaro and Firebird. The GTO has come and gone and the Camaro comeback is well underway as a completely new car; can the Firebird be far behind?
Mulally took a whimsical shot at the name game this week when he said he was still looking to drive his Lincoln Zephyr. Not to be outdone by the new guy, Ford's sales analyst chief George Pipas made a Freudian slip by referring to the Zephyr in this week's sales call.
We say go ahead and bring back the Taurus name, but not on the Five-Hundred. Hopefully there will be a new, rear-wheel drive large sedan in the product pipeline soon that will need a name, so save it for that. Besides, the name "Taurus" evokes images of charging bulls and, if you think about it, wasn't appropriate for a plebian front-wheel drive sedan.