By on June 27, 2012

After the much anticipated (yes!) May World Roundup (no hyphen) article last Monday, I thought I’d spoil you and come back unannounced right in the middle of the week to lighten up a drab day at work. If you’re having a fantastic day at work, make your way out . If when you click on the link above you find you absolutely love that little Roundup of mine, then you are welcome to check out previous world Roundups here for March 2012  (“Has the Hybrid era started for good?”), and here for April 2012 (“Big change coming from India”).

Today, we are travelling through time to have a look at the best-selling models in the USA 20 years ago, in 1992. Yes, 1992 is 20 years ago. I know. I also feel like I just celebrated NYE 1993. But we are all 20 years older now. So if you are having a fantastic day at work, AND you were born after 1992, man/woman, just don’t talk to me ok?

So don’t talk to me and visit 164 additional countries and territories in my blog. There.

Now back to 1992.

And 1992 was the year of the Ford Taurus…

Many of us were convinced by the advert above that buying a Ford Taurus in 1992 was the best thing to do and as soon as the the second generation Ford Taurus was released it topped the passenger car ranking in the US for the first time for the 6 year-old nameplate. But the fight was tough. #1 passenger car in 1991, the Honda Accord was still leading the rankings by mid-year with 191,682 sales vs. 181,189 for the Taurus.

By the end of the year though, the Taurus was the best-selling passenger car in the USA for the very first time with 409,751 sales vs. 393,477 for the Accord. This figure of 409,751 sales remains to this date the Taurus’s strongest annual volume ever. It was the first time since 1988 and the Ford Escort that an American brand placed a car atop the passenger car ranking.

The Taurus would keep the title of best-selling passenger car in the country before passing the relay to the Toyota Camry in 1997. The Camry has kept the lead ever since (14 years!) except in 2001, when it was passed by the Honda Accord one last time.

The Ford F-Series topped the overall ranking for the 11th consecutive year with 472,475 sales, ahead of the Chevrolet C/K at 428,514 units.

Below the Taurus and Accord, the Ford Explorer takes the 5th spot overall at 306,681 units, ahead of the Toyota Camry, Dodge Caravan and Ford Ranger.

Top 10 best-selling models in the USA in 1992:

(You can check out the entire Top 189 ranking here)

Pos Model 1992
1 Ford F-Series 472,475
2 Chevrolet CK 428,514
3 Ford Taurus 409,751
4 Honda Accord 393,477
5 Ford Explorer 306,681
6 Toyota Camry 286,602
7 Dodge Caravan 251,921
8 Ford Ranger 247,777
9 Ford Escort 236,622
10 Honda Civic 219,228

Further down the ranking, you can witness a lot of models from brands that have now disappeared: the Saturn SL ranked #15 with 196,126 sales…

…the Mercury Sable ranked #22 with 116,623 sales…

…the Geo Metro, a rebadged Suzuki Swift, was #28 at 94,995 units…

…the Oldsmobile Ninety Eight ranked #72…

…and the Eagle Talon was #78.

That’s all the nostalgia I have for you today!

Until next time!

Matt Gasnier, based in Sydney, Australia, runs a blog named Best Selling Cars, dedicated to counting cars all over the world.

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46 Comments on “Best Selling Cars Around The Globe: 1992, The Year of The Ford Taurus...”


  • avatar
    Detroit-X

    Thanks for not saying the Taurus was the first sedan of that era with aero styling. Many forget it was the Audi 5000.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Taurus was the every man’s Audi 5000 minus the handling, they were on top of the world and then Ford just neglected it and allowed the Japanese to take over, never recovered the top spot.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Ford neglected everything back in the 90’s – The Mustang languished essentially unchanged from 1987 to 1993 and the update was a half-hearted weak sauce affair.

      Really not a fan o Jac Nassar and his slavish devotion to PAG. Glad he disappeared.

    • 0 avatar
      redmondjp

      I don’t think neglect is the correct term. Besides the 3.8 head-gasket and transmission issues that plagued these cars, what really killed the Taurus was the “no right angles here” 1996 redesign that was far to radical for the Camcord crowd. Taurus sales dropped by a third in 1996 and never recovered.

      The 1996 redesign was the Edsel of the 1990s – not in terms of its overall ugliness, but in the way that it was designed (eg ergonomic radio/HVAC controls designed by experts) and in how far short it came to meeting the company’s initial expectations.

      • 0 avatar
        dtremit

        This. There was a huge amount of effort put into the ’96 Taurus — the thinking was that they needed to introduce something as radical as the original Taurus was in ’86.

        The styling was clearly a miss, which colored everything else. And it was expensive thanks to the innovations they pushed (e.g., there were two separate integrated dash panels, one for bucket seat cars and one for the cars with the bench seat with the flip-forward console).

        Had they introduced the MY2000 revision of the car in ’96 (complete with cost savings), the story might have been very different.

      • 0 avatar
        hifi

        The pre-96 Tauruses were smartly styled and conservative. Believe it or not, back then the Taurus was well respected and sold very well. However the 1996 update was a terrible mess. It just screamed “low-rent” from the day it was launched. Inside and out, the visual design appeared to highlight the cheapness of every single surface and component. This car tainted the entire nameplate unfortunately.

  • avatar
    BunkerMan

    I want that F150!

  • avatar
    Joe McKinney

    I had a friend a friend who bought a 1992 Taurus. As I recall, he got a great deal on this car. Apparantly Ford really wanted to beat the Accord and was offering some generous incentives.

    Back in the 1990’s the Ranger, Explorer and Caravan were regulars on the top-ten annual sales lists.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Wow, to think that Ford sold over a half million of these vehicles in a single year.

    I miss a lot of cars from this era…

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    my in-laws bought a 1986 Taurus wagon, fine vehicle, better than my 86 Camry until things started breaking while my Camry just kept going trouble free, then it was no longer a better vehicle.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    1992. The year we moved to Ohio and the year Ford got the Taurus just right. In Medium Seafoam Metallic, please…

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Make mine a Sable but I do love the green paint colors of the 90s!

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        I remember arguing with myself as to what model I preferred: Sable or Taurus. I’d have to say I’ll take one of each. Same color, too!

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        I still own a 92 Sable in the green that the Taurus in the video has. I believe it was called Carribean Green. Great car, still reliable, still has original trans and no peeling paint. Just got its first rust hole…took 19 years to form…Now just an extra car for errands, train station, etc. I’ll keep it until the trans dies.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Ford handed the title of best selling sedan right over to the Asians with this car. The 3.8 V6 option was a head gasket leaky nightmare that few dealerships could every get right. Plus it was only rated for 140 HP which was the same as the much better 3.0 liter Vulcan when GM’s 3800 was putting out 165-170 horses. The AXOD-E/AX4S transaxles in these cars were junk from 1991 to around 1995 with major lubrication issues and this pile lasted until 2002 after when the much better AX4N/4F50N transaxle was finally made std across the Taurus line. Also the A/C and electrical gremlins assured that this car, when re-designed in 2000, would never reclaim it’s best seller status ever again.

    • 0 avatar
      ExPatBrit

      I had 3 Tauri(?). 90, 93 and a codfish 97 as company cars.

      The 93 was my favorite, dark green, nice rims and bucket seats with a center console shifter.

      The 90 blew its transmission twice before 60Kmiles, stranding me 100 miles from home in the middle of nowhere at midnight on the second occasion. They towed it away and dropped me at a hotel, I never saw it again.

      97 was cheap tat, got rid of it as soon as we were allowed to use our own personal vehicles.

      • 0 avatar
        C170guy

        I guess I just have VW/Audi anecdotes today? This car was aimed squarely at the Audi 5000 as mentioned above. The Audi was car of the year when it came out. A close friend owned one (actually both). To the Audi 5000 owners who never had their cars out of the shop long enough to drive and enjoy them (and they were very enjoyable cars, when they worked from what I hear-) a Taurus was the ideal replacement once all the money for a car purchase was gone in repairing the 5000. Just head gasket failures? Only a transmission that blows up? An electrical system that generally worked most of the time? No $75 per quart exotic fluids that leaked away in a week regardless?
        “Looks just like the Audi, where do I sign?” It happened just that way at least once that I am aware of. The owner lived happily ever after with a Lemon Taurus over the Lemon Audi.
        It was a heap, but he never complained, because it wasn’t out to assure his ruin.

        By the way, that exotic hydraulic fluid the 5000 used was not only expensive, but incompatible with most of the construction of the car. It was (and may still be?) the downfall of VW/Audis.
        A small leak would breed the ultimate death-spiral destruction of the car. Small leaks were the least of your worries since the large ones were too frequent. The fluid ate rubber and such like vacuum lines and gaskets. The gasket would fail, often in conjunction with the coolant hoses, the car would overheat and metal would warp and the owner would then forever have overheating nightmares- (even once supposedly repaired) and that was the easy part.

        The fluid also rotted all the rubber vaccum lines and most other rubber hoses which in terms of SUA actually was a real hazard, since the brakes would completely fail from fluid everywhere rotting the lines, disabling the vaccum boost, and at the same time the brake fluid was also leaking out because the brake fluid was also the hydraulic fluid was also the power steering fluid. Does that sound a little too exciting yet? It largely wasn’t a problem that the car would suddenly unintentionally accelerate-No, but once you were moving it was anyone’s guess weather the brakes would work or the steering was fully manual.
        Those pesky vacuum leaks would also lead to the vaccum pump to run then the car was parked and ignored, leading to another problem – Constant dead batteries and fried electrical systems. The battery was secured from theft inside the passenger compartment, behind the driver in the passenger seat – behind the two torx bolts that held the seat down which defeated the tow truck drivers. That was good, because the ones who could get it open invariable hooked up the jumper cables backwards (positive ground remember) and would fry the main fuses and various portions of the electrical system, if not blow up the battery outright in a shower of sparks and acid all over the interior, and tow guy. The batteries would sometimes explode on their own when overcharged (that happened too, due to previous electrical problems), because all that hydrogen had nowhere to go trapped under the seat.

        That’s all I can remember, but I would say it’s enough. To those who would say that the car is a fussy German car that needed good maintenance, and was intolerant of neglect – what would you suggest? The owner spent most of his time and money and life repairing it. It saw the dealership more frequently than it saw the road. How could one fix it or maintain it “more”?

        Interestingly- I just remembered, the 5000 and it’s variants were the most popular car in China for many years. No idea how that worked.

      • 0 avatar
        jhefner

        “This car was aimed squarely at the Audi 5000 as mentioned above. The Audi was car of the year when it came out.”

        A oft repeated myth; the Taurus design was well underway when the 5000s came out. It only affirmed that Ford was on the the right track. Source: “Taurus: The Making of the Car That Saved Ford” by Eric Taub.

        “Interestingly- I just remembered, the 5000 and it’s variants were the most popular car in China for many years. No idea how that worked.”

        Quoting below from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audi_100#Chinese_production. How do you give an Audi fan a heart attack? Tell him that the Chinese replaced the Audi engine with the Chrysler 2.2 liter four!

        “The C3-platform Audi 100 was also produced in Changchun, China, by FAW (First Automobile Works, a Chinese automotive manufacturer), for many years during the 1990s. Since most products are for governmental usage, all of China-made 100s are front-wheel drive sedans with a 2.0 L 4-cylinder engine or a 2.3 L 5-cylinder one.

        “In 1990, Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the CPC approved a resolution to circumscribe car import and the engine displacement of cars equipped to officials. Furthermore, the resolution also prescribed that all cars of central departments of both Party and government must be homemade ones. As the most luxurious and advanced cars made in China in early-1990s, FAW-Audi 100 and 200 have possessed a considerable percentage in Chinese high-class market of executive cars for nearly one decade, until the C3-platform cars was replaced by Audi A6 in 1999.

        “During the negotiation between FAW and Volkswagen in late-1980s, Volkswagen acceded to FAW’s suggestion of combining the C3 platform with previously introduced Chrysler engines in the new generation Hongqi (Red Flag). Hongqi CA7200 series with the technology of C3 were launched in mid-1990s, while most of C3 Audi 100 parts could be made in China. CA7200 were initially equipped with Chrysler 2.0 L or 2.2 L 4-cylinder 488 engines, whose product line was introduced into China in 1987. In 2000s, new Nissan VQ20 engines replaced the original 4-cylinder petrol engine. [1]

        “A small number of C3 200s (with 1.8T or 2.6 V6 engine) and some early C4 100s (largely in European style but with tail lights in American style) were also assembled in Changchun.”

      • 0 avatar
        ExPatBrit

        Ironic but I replaced the 97 Taurus company car with a personally owned used 96 Audi A4 Quattro, best car and ROI I ever owned. 169,000 miles and no major issues.

  • avatar
    Bob L

    Bought a ’93 SHO in July ’96. Still drive it every day. Only major problem, ever, was a leaky radiator trashing the crank position sensor (fingers crossed!).

  • avatar
    el scotto

    The only Taurii I remember driving were rentals. You couldn’t use the armrest and the ashtray at the same time. That was an epic design failure to me.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      That would be the “fish face” or “catfish” brand new model that replaced the ones in the pictures above. The armrest was quickly fixed but it is amazing that no one caught that in testing.

      • 0 avatar
        jhefner

        The book “Car: A Drama of the American Workplace” by Mary Walton captured the design process from the second generation Taurus to the “catfish” third generation Taurus; including the armrest/ash tray issue.

        Ford was criticized for being too conservative with it’s second generation update; so they went all out with the third generation restyle. They also tried to out-Camry the Camry; they took one completely apart, and studied it down to the last nut and bolts.

        The end result achived both goals, but Ford zigged when it should have zagged. The resulting styling was radical departure from the second generation alright, too radical for some folks. In retrospect, it was too early; many of it’s features were copied by other with greater success.

        And what people wanted was not a better Camry, but a cheaper one. Toyota slashed prices and features on the Camry; Ford had to as well; but not before they lost market share.

        The armrest/ashtray issue was revealed; but too late to do anything about it. The trunk was also too small, and the rear headroom suffered as well. All of these as well as the going overboard on the oval theme were all resolved with the fourth generation update in 2000; but Ford had lost faith in the Taurus as well as market share; and it never regained it’s top spot.

        The fish face Taurus did have a bright spot as the new NASCAR Ford Taurus, which replaced the NASCAR Thunderbird on the NASCAR circuit. It’s aero styling enabled it to capture most of the top spots in every race they ran in; though not without it’s share of controversies.

        http://a6.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/412212_3753748056761_1774358012_o.jpg

  • avatar
    replica

    My first car was a grey, inside and out, 1993 Ford Taurus. It was a hand-me-down from my parents after they gave up trying to sell it for months. The car ate a head gasket at 75k miles or so. They had it fixed at the dealer. I drove it for a few months and the transmission started to slip. This was around 78k miles. It was very well maintained, yet, was still a terrible car. I don’t know why anyone would have fond memories or WANT a Taurus of that era. Wait. Those radio buttons just SLIGHTLY closer to the driver were pretty sweet. You know. So I can never change the radio from NPR because I’m white and from the suburbs. Oh, and my Genesis greatest hits tape.

    Wait. Another memory. The seats were quite soft. Good for placing my off-brand Discman on to avoid skips and good proximity for the stereo via tape-with-a-wire. Hi-Fi beatches.

    Lightning crashes,
    An old woman dieiieieieiieess.

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      You did have to keep up with the oil changes, and change the transmission fluid religiously every 30,000 miles (though I babied mine; and managed to go to 130,000 before it’s first fluid change.) But, if you kept up with the routine maintenance, the 1995 and beyond transmissions and engines held up well.

      I don’t have fond memories of a Taurus — I am still enjoying my 1995 Ford Taurus wagon with the light blue paint. Due to my own lack of maintenance it was dead for four years due to a cracked cylinder head and blown head gasket. But, it seems to living it’s second life well.

      http://a6.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/464494_3216868675112_1668226073_2570857_1167999401_o.jpg

      I always thought the Taurus wagon was the best looking wagon ever made. (It even sold well in Japan.) Much better than the comtemporary Accord and Camery wagon. The back space is actually usable for more than a couple bags of groceries.

      I remember when the Audi 5000 first came out; I saw my first one in a Taco Bell drive-thru. Looked liked a space ship landed, and took it’s place among the crease-and-tuck cars of the 1970s and early 80s. But I thought the Taurus wagon was also better looking than the 5000s wagon.

      I though all the early aero cars (5000s, Taurus, Merkur) looked great, and were a refreshing change from the styling of the day. But, when everyone went with the aero styling, and it took on Japanese features with the slant eyes and now the gun slit windows; it doesn’t appeal to me as much anymore. But, it is now a neccessary evil.

      My wagon now gets approving looks and nice comments from folks. Long live the second generation Taurus.

      • 0 avatar
        C170guy

        I have a question – The head gasket failures and cooling problems, in the Taurus, did that lead to transmission failures outright?
        In other words, was the transmission fluid cooled by a setup that used the radiator/engine cooling system?
        See where I am going with this?
        Maybe this is how the troubles progressed?

      • 0 avatar
        Vance Torino

        Amen, brother.
        Most beautiful wagon ever.

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      The transmission in the Taurus had a seperate radiator and cooling system from the engine itself. But, it was not adequate enough; allowing the transmission to run too hot. The easiest ways to get more life out of the Taurus transmission was to add an aftermarket transmission cooler, and avoid pulling a trailer. And change the fluid and filter on schedule; as I mentioned before.

      The 3.0l Vulcan V-6 just did not tolerate running hot. The cooling system was fine; but if the head gasket failed and you allowed the motor to get too hot; it would crack the cylinder head. Which is exactly what happened to mine; I could not beleve that an engine that was overhauled just a year ago had a blown head gasket, and continued to drive it. Live and learn.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        I don’t recall much problems with Vulcans, just the POS 3.8. In fact I have never babied my Vulcan, but never overheated it either. So I have never had anything apart on the engine. Well, not quite. The bolts for the thermostat gasket pass into the “wet” area in the block, which caused them to rust enough that I could not get one of the three bolts out. Had to eat my pride and drive it (sans coolant, speed up, coast down engine off) to the pro wrench for repair. I have to say that the car was pretty well made and quite durable.

    • 0 avatar
      tuffjuff

      I’ve owned ’94 and ’96 Taurii, both had heads that blew up, the ’94 twice in a month, and the ’96 had a stuck solenoid in the transmission.

  • avatar
    dolorean

    Ah memories. The Taurus was the car that save Ford in the mid 80’s. First appearance in the movie “Robo-cop” as the police car of the future, broke all sales forecasts and helped aleve the last remnants of the Malaise Era in America with the SHO. By ’92, the Mustang had just survived being replaced by the Probe by the largest write-in campaign in Ford history to save it. That was the year of the 7-UP and speciality Mustangs and the beginning of SVT, which brought back the Mustang Cobra the next year for an astonishing $20K. The Explorer was a year old, running strong sales and credited with creating the SUV craze in America. The Tempo earned a V6, which was rare in those days for a small car to do, and the Escort had gone Mazda but in a good way. Loved this era.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    After a GM X car and two A cars in the 1980’s, I was ready to switch to Ford. My first Taurus was a 90 white Wagon that I bought 30 months old with 50K miles off lease from my sister’s employer for 32 cents on the dollar. It’s reliability was way ahead of GMs midsized cars of the 80s. I kept the 90 Taurus for 30 months when her green metallic sea foam 92 wagon came off lease. Sold the 90 for what I paid for it. I then purchased the 92 directly from GM Capital for the same 32% of retail as the previous one. We kept that car for five trouble free years before replacing it with a new 99 Honda Odyssey. In retrospect, this was not a smart move given the underdesigned tranny in the Honda that I had to replace at 82K miles. But, who knew?. That’s the chance you take buying the first year of anything.
    I miss the opportunity to buy two year old cars so cheaply and drive them for almost free for another two years.

  • avatar
    rnc

    Perhaps one of the worst automotive decisions in history was the Ford family forcing out Peterson (most people don’t know that Ford was closer to death than crysler was, at one point it only had $300 million in operating capital). Peterson (or the CEO before him, can’t remember which), was an outsider that formed a team capable of and demanded the radical rethinking of everything leading to the original taurus and the most profitable auto company in the world. Two old insiders and a family member later and ford was close to death until an outsider came in and formed a team capable of and demanded the radical rethinking of everything. Giving Jack Smith 10 years of free reign at GM would be the only decision worse during that era I can think of.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Petersen Don’t pick a fight with someone who has their last name on the building. Not dissing you, it’s not the 1st time the Ford family closed ranks and fought as one.

  • avatar
    86SN2001

    Way to go Ford. You must like terrible sales numbers. Let’s analyze:

    F-Series – Only reason it’s “the best selling “truck” for X years” is because of fleet sales and because you keep adding models under the “F-Series” umbrella.

    Taurus – Completely ruined and nowhere near selling what it did. Probably because it’s so fat and frumpy now. It should be called ‘Avalon’. You went from selling ~34K/month to a pitiful 5K. Bold moves indeed.

    Ranger – You killed it…very slowly. Now you steer people who come in looking for a Ranger to your POS Focus? How does a mediocre little tin box replace a small, versatile, RELIABLE pickup?

    Explorer – See Taurus above. No matter how many settings (that do nothing) you add to the 4WD system, people just don’t want it anymore. Another brilliant failure by Ford. You went from selling 26K/month in 1992 to under ~10/month. Must be the way forward.

    Escort – You killed that reliable car for the POS Focus. You lost all of that name recognition in favor of Focus. And the new ones are just awful. And yet, you kept ‘Taurus’? Mind-boggling to say the least.

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      The Fusion replaced the Taurus as the mid-range family car; and sales are good (#10, ahead of the Accord in the USA); though still not as good as the Camry. What was the Ford Five Hundred was renamed the Taurus because of the bad press for killing the Taurus off; coupled with poor Five Hundred sales. (Most buyers are too young to associate the Five Hundred with the old Galaxie 500; don’t know what Ford was thinking there.) The new Taurus will never sell like the old one did; it is now a replacement for the old Crown Victoria.

      Nobody sells a small pickup anymore. They used to cost less than a full size pickup and get better mileage; but neither is true anymore. Why pay roughly the same price for a small pickup when you can a much larger one that still gets good fuel economy. The days of pickups making 10 MPG are long in the past now.

      And for all of your dissing of the Focus; this very column proves that it is selling reasonably well in the USA (ranked #9 ahead of the Fusion); but even more important, it is #2 in sales worldwide; and could take #1 spot in the near future. Obviously not everyone agrees with you.

      The rollover incidents due to bad tires on the Explorer and the negative press in regards to SUV in general has killed all SUVs; not just the Explorer. The Ford Escape, with 16,986 sales ranked number three among SUVs in April 2012; number one Honda sold 23,627 CR-Vs. The Explorer was number five with 13,419 sales.

      http://www.trucktrend.com/features/news/2012/163_news120502_april_2012_suv_sales_honda_chevy_ford/index.html

      Finally, you’re kidding about the Escort, right? Your Ford hate makes no sense. Ford is actually doing well; especially compared to it’s domestic rivals. (The only other two domestic cars in the top ten are the Chevrolet Silverado at number four and the Dodge Ram P/U at number eight; both also full size pickups. Further down in the list is the Chevrolet Malibu after the Ford Escape at #14 and #13, respectively.)

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      F-Series That’s commercial, not fleet sales; sorry Chevy. I have to call and request an F-150 when I fly to Indianapolis. Grew up a rural small town, do as the Romans do. Hertz’s one F-150 is a fleet sale.
      Taurus I just don’t really care and it wouldn’t have been the same car that debuted in the 80s
      Ranger I’m drinking beers with you on that one. Nobody and I mean nobody makes a small truck. Tacomas are now mid size and Dakota’s too, if they’re still being made
      Explorers got hit with the double edged sword of high price and being damned for being a large SUV
      Why are the Foci so awful? I think the Foci are in every way better than the Escorts they replaced; even the rental car ones. I don’t think anyone on this blog who has both drove the Escort and the Focus can look at someone with a straight face and say “Oh yeah, the Escort is far superior”.
      Except for your Ranger comment, all you do is complain and belittle Ford each and every time you post. No one else on here belittles a single company like you do. Many belittle the model of car they had; many disgruntled BMW/VW owners on here

  • avatar
    bill mcgee

    Really I thought back then that this generation Taurus was better looking than the first gen., though I preferred the more radical looking first gen Sable . The ugly third generation Taurus , on the other hand was hideous , panned by the car mags of the period and a sales flop . And as I recall an overconfident Ford raised the price signifigently when it came out . I knew several people who had that version and all had the transmissions go out .

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      I think “flop” is an overstatement; and it had the same transmission as the previous generations. The AXOE transmissions were weak; they did fine if you serviced them every 30,000 miles; and could fail if you didn’t. Most of the 1st generation Taurus were probably also scrapped due to transmission failures, the second and third generations to a lesser extent.

      They tried to raise the level of refinement for the Taurus to the level of the Camery (the unoffical goal of the project was to beat the Camery) at a time when people were rebelling against high car prices. So, Toyota was lowering the price on the Camery at the same time Ford was trying to raise the level of refinement and price to match it. The changing market conditions along with the public reaction to the new styling caught Ford off guard, and sales did suffer.

      But it wasn’t a bad car. In case you can’t tell, I am a Taurus fanboy. I drive 120+ miles a day; in my travels, about 60% of the Taurus I see are the fourth generation (2000-2006) model. 30% is the fish face third generation (1996-1999) version. The remaining 30% is the occasional second generation (1992-1995) and fifth generation (2007-2010) Taurus. I have only seen maybe two or three of the first generation (1985-1991) still on the road.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Bought a ’92 SHO new in 1992; kept it for 11 years. I thought it was a pretty good car and struck a reasonable balance between handling and rid comfort. The car was certainly “right-sized” and could carry 4 people and their luggage quite comfortably. There were only two weaknesses on my car: the clutch (supposedly taken from a small Mazda pickup) was marginal. The throw-out bearing on mine failed at 40K. And, typical of all For performance products of the late 80s and early 90s, the brakes were inadequate. . . not as inadequate as on my ’87 Mustang GT (disc/drums!) which were simply ineffective at speeds over 80 mph; but marginal in terms of stopping and made of cheap metal, so the discs warped easily. I replaced the discs with ones made of higher quality metal (which didn’t warp) and used better pads which made some improvement. The supposed real fix was to replace the front spindles with those from the next generation car so you could fit the front brakes from that car.

    The story of Ford in the mid-90s can be summarized by the next generation SHO: slower, stops in a longer distance, uses more gas and is less reliable (also, automatic transmission only available). I believe the next generation body was more rigid (the ’92 was pretty flexible; one of the handling tweaks was to add reinforcement to the rear suspension assembly and panel behind the back seats) but also heavier.

    The Yamaha V-6 in the SHO was a wonderful engine, very linear throttle response throughout the rpm range, loved to rev., got 26-28 mpg on the highway.

  • avatar
    200k-min

    Oh the 1990’s when Ford talked about the sales volume all the time. I’m kinda glad that Toyota carries that torch because it’s too easy to get complacent when #1.

    I had a 1990 Taurus with AXOD tranny that I beat mercilessley, yeah I was young. Bought it off my father at about 90k miles and I ran it up to 200k miles w/out any head gasket, tranny or other common problems. Ford was able to make some really good ones, obviously as people were buying them.

    The 1996 redesign, while being a little to aggressive in the style department, was actually a much improved vehicle. The luxury features just weren’t available on the previous generations. They also had a decent for the time 200hp engine option.

    Unfortunately Ford hadn’t quite earned the reputation yet for the price increase this stuff required. Couple price with styling that people over 40 (most taurus buyers) didn’t find appealing and the sales dropped.

    Right now if Ford were to just do some minor tweaks to the very conservative Fusion I think they could have another best seller. Instead they may be making a smiliar mistake…and for the record I’m a huge fanboy of the new Fusion design. That said, pricing is key and it has to come in at or below the Camry, Accord, Altima, etc. if they care about volume sales. I don’t really care about volume, I want something that is better than the all crappy lineup from Japan (and yes I include the frumpy Altima).


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