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While the Taurus name still carries very strong awareness with customers, Ford needs to show the car-buying public that the 2010 model has an entirely new level of class and refinement. To accomplish its goal, the flagship sedan's new marketing campaign is ignoring competitors like the Honda Accord and instead going after the luxury competition.

New online ads will pit the 2010 Taurus, which starts at $26,000, against competition that costs $60,000 or more. In one spot, the Taurus goes head to head with the much more expensive Lexus LS. Both vehicles will be driving behind a leaky gravel hauler to show that the Ford has a better paint job. In another spot featuring the Infiniti M45X, Ford aims to show that the Taurus has a more sophisticated radar system. Infiniti spokesman Kyle Bazemore tells the Detroit News that his company is flattered to be chosen by Ford as a benchmark, but "our entry-level Infiniti G beat the Taurus in a head-to-head test by Edmunds.com."

Ford says the ads aren't targeting luxury car buyers, but instead they are meant to tout the Taurus' advanced technology. Analyst Jim Hall of 2953 Analytics LLP likes Ford's approach, since many vehicles in the segment don't have the same level of tech as the Taurus. Hall isn't so sure, however, if the online ads go far enough to distinguish the new Taurus from the old model. Ford's print and TV spots won't feature luxury competitors, though, instead focusing mainly on favorable reviews and technology.

Follow the jump
to view two of the new Taurus ads. In the first one, Ford takes on the Acura RL to see which vehicle has the quieter cabin. The prop? A fire-breathing drag racer, parked right between the two vehicles. The second spot features the Taurus and Lexus LS taking on the fore-mentioned gravel hauler. This commercial is pretty sweet, if only because of the slow motion chunks of rocks hitting both cars set to opera. Hat tip to Racer.

[Source: Detroit News]

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