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Old 02-06-2007, 01:53 PM   #1
KILLER74Z28
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Ford to rebrand Five Hundred with Taurus name

What a joke... Renaming this bland sedan is not going to help it sell. I remember sitting in a meeting at FWH in Dearborn when they introduced the 500 and Freestyle to us, both are built on the same platform. I remember the marketing manager asking us which one we thought was going to sell better. I remember thinking to myself, “nether, both are bland and boring”… That’s Ford’s problem, except for the Mustang and F series pickup BORING BORING BORING… The funny thing is none of the higher ups recognize this…

Ford to rebrand Five Hundred with Taurus name

February 6, 2007

By SARAH A. WEBSTER

FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITER

In a move publicly advocated by CEO Alan Mulally, Ford Motor Co. is changing the name of its slow-selling Ford Five Hundred to Taurus.

The new 2008 Ford Taurus is expected to be in showrooms by this summer.

An announcement will be made Wednesday morning in Chicago, a Ford official confidentially told the Free Press.

The name change is reminiscent of better times at Ford. After the Taurus was introduced in 1985, it became the nation’s top-selling car and many believed it revolutionized the way cars look and feel.

Ford stopped building the Taurus in October. After 21 years and sales of nearly 7 million, the popularity of the vehicle had severely waned, and the only people buying the old sedan were rental car companies.

Ever since he came to Ford, Mulally has publicly questioned the decision to kill the Taurus name and he has been critical that the value of the name was allowed to erode, as Toyota and Honda continue to reinvest in brands like Camry and Accord.

On Jan. 24, he told the Free Press that he was considering reviving the name.

“We’ve thought about that,” he said. “The Taurus brand, everybody has such fond feelings for it.”

The Five Hundred, which is built on Volvo architecture and unveiled in 2004, has largely been considered a yawner in the marketplace. While it’s praised for its big trunk, roomy interior and command seating, the design was considered a vanilla-flavored flop.

Last year, a mere 84,218 were sold, down from nearly 108,000 the year before.

Ford unveiled a new, more stylish version of the vehicle, which will also get a more powerful engine, at the Detroit auto show this year. That vehicle will be the new Taurus.

But taking the Taurus name and slapping it on the Five Hundred won’t likely save the large sedan, said Joe Phillippi, president of AutoTrends Consulting Inc., in Short Hills, N.J.

“I just find it almost laughable that they take a brand that they just killed that was so damaged and then put it on a car that's been struggling, and assume that the face-lift and modest improvements are going to be able to work some magic on the sales side,” he said. “Of all the brands they've got in their stable, to take one so damaged doesn't make a lot of sense to me.”

Indeed, the Taurus has the lowest resale value of any General Motors Corp. or Ford car or truck on the market, according to data from Automotive Leasing Guide.

The estimated resale value on a new Taurus after three years of ownership is 29% of the sticker price, showing how severely damaged the brand has become over the years.

The Ford Mustang, by contrast, has a resale value of 54% of the sticker price after three years of ownership.

A vehicle’s resale value is considered one of the primary measures of brand strength.

Given that weakness, Phillippi said, Ford will have to invest massive amounts of money marketing the new model and name change

“They’re going to have to spend a lot of money on advertising,” he said.

Of course, he noted, Ford would have to spend a great deal of money to support the Five Hundred no matter what Ford called it, as the vehicle is struggling in the marketplace.

Contact SARAH A. WEBSTER at 313-222-5394 or swebster@freepress.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Old 02-06-2007, 02:44 PM   #2
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They should have rebadged it as a Pinto. A reminder of better times. Then watch the sales go through the roof (or through the gas tank).
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Old 02-06-2007, 04:40 PM   #3
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I recently saw an interview with Ford's new CEO.

He stated that, with the exception of the Mustang, the car's that Ford is building are perceived as "boring". He even admitted to the '500' as being such! Updating it and rebadging it as a 'Taurus', well, time will tell.

Maybe if they build the 'Interceptor' they can change that perception.
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Old 02-06-2007, 05:02 PM   #4
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I know some of you think the Interceptor is ugly as sin, but I've love to see it in production.
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Old 02-06-2007, 05:04 PM   #5
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I like it too, I saw it in my time of lurking, let me grab the link real quick.
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Old 02-06-2007, 05:06 PM   #6
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Interceptor thread:

http://www.camaro5.com/forums/showthread.php?t=454
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Old 02-07-2007, 05:52 AM   #7
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the Ford Five Hundred:

Here's an idea, in this day and age lets take an ugly car that weighs nearly 4000 lbs and put an anemic 200 hp engine in it.
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Old 02-07-2007, 10:12 AM   #8
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Well, Ford's cars are "boring", and i think that their sales are showing such. Also, their marketing is not exactly creating excitement either. That dumb ass commercial for the Ford Edge showing that car driving all over the side of a building doesn't exactly make me want to go out and buy one... what a stupid commercial. They had better hope that their truck and Mustang sales don't slip otherwise it may be buh-bye Ford in a few years.
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Old 02-07-2007, 08:26 PM   #9
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Five Hundred isn't only Ford to be renamed
Automaker acknowledges mistake in dropping Taurus
February 7, 2007

By MARK PHELAN

FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITER

Acknowledging Ford should have kept the Taurus name, Mark Fields, Ford Motor Co.’s president of the Americas, said this morning that the 2008 model of the Five Hundred will be called the Taurus.

Likewise, the Freestyle wagon will be called the Taurus X and the Mercury Montego will get the name Sable, as the Mercury version of the previous Taurus was known.

“We never should have walked away from the equity we built up with the Taurus name,” Fields said.

Ford surveys show the Taurus name is still recognized by 80% of consumers, making it the company’s “third-strongest Ford name behind the F-Series and Mustang,” he said, while only 40% of buyers even know the Five Hundred exists.

Using the right name is important, he said, but having the right vehicle must be the top priority.

“Winning companies are the ones embracing more products their customers want.” No shit... what a concept.

The 2008 models go into production in Chicago after the summer shutdown.

Contact Mark Phelan at 313-222-6731 or mphelan@freepress.com.
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Old 02-08-2007, 03:02 PM   #10
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well it is a good thing they held on to those names. when they announced the fusion sedan as a possible taurus replacement they wanted to bring back an old name for that car. they were gonna call it the ford futura, but the auto parts chain pep boys owns the right to that name for a brand of low cost tires they sell there. The ford Escape was gonna be called the Ford Mavrick, but they decided they wanted all the SUVs to have names starting with E .
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