This Taurus is no bull.
That’s the message Ford Motor Co. wants to send with its newly redesigned Taurus sedan, which once dominated American auto sales before being gored by Toyota, Honda and the SUV invasion.
It won’t hit local showrooms until next week, but the Detroit automaker brought the new Taurus to town as part of a nationwide preview tour. In a briefing at Fossil Creek Golf Club on Monday, Ford marketing exec Ken Czubay touted the car, which starts at around $25,995.
“The design is stunning,” Czubay said. “This is going to be a wild, cool car.”
Those are not exactly the words that would have been applied to the last vehicle to bear the Taurus nameplate. The car was considered a styling leader when it debuted in 1985, but by the time the name was dropped from the line in the 2006 model year, it was relegated to rental fleets.
Ford filled its niche with the short-lived Five Hundred, which in the 2008 model year took back the Taurus name.
Czubay said the 2010 version has “got crown-jewel styling” and is far different from its predecessor. “It has the fun-to-drive aspects, and it is loaded with technology.”
Czubay doesn’t claim that it will become America’s biggest seller again, but he is confident that the Taurus, which began shipping from the company’s Chicago assembly plant a week ago, will keep up with global competition.
There isn’t a station wagon or a hybrid, but unlike earlier versions, this Taurus won’t fill the ranks of rental fleets. Not many, at least.
“Only in rental operations that have Ferraris and Porsches,” Czubay said.
High-tech touches include MyKey, which allows owners to limit the car’s top speed, a feature that will presumably endear Taurus to parents if not teenagers. Also included — in what could be creatively marketed as the “buzz-kill package” — is an audio limit that keeps operators from cranking the stereo to more than 45 percent of maximum volume.
“It is a really smart car,” Czubay said.
Brad Brownell, general manager of the company’s central market, said the car’s higher “command” seating will also attract drivers who have become used to the elevated perch in an SUV.