The Ford Taurus’s North American demise is not unanticipated. Full-size car sales are flagging. The Taurus nameplate’s positive brand recognition is based on the success it enjoyed in another era. And Ford already revealed a new China-specific Taurus, based on the same CD4 platform as the Fusion and Lincoln Continental, with no announcement regarding the import of that vehicle to North America.
It also seems Ford, riding high on a wave of crossover and SUV sales on this side of the Pacific, won’t be bringing that Taurus to America anytime soon.
While speaking with Global Product Communications Craig von Essen on another matter, TTAC learned Ford’s plan for the Taurus is very much focused on China.
“The Taurus built and sold in China was introduced as an all-new flagship sedan for China, designed specifically to meet the needs of the Chinese consumers. At the moment, there are no plans to offer this vehicle elsewhere,” von Essen says.
As for the Taurus that continues to wither on the vine in North America, sales are down 6 percent through 2017’s first-quarter after falling 10 percent in calendar year 2016, 22 percent in 2015, and 22 percent in 2014. Ford is on track to sell approximately half as many Taurus sedans in the U.S. in 2017 as Ford sold just four years ago.
That includes the Taurus Police Interceptor Sedan, sales of which are sliding even faster in early 2017. Through the first three months of this year, Taurus Police Interceptor sales are down 19 percent, year-over-year, after declining in each of the last three calendar years. This year, 14 percent of the Tauruses sold are built as Police Interceptors.
Meanwhile, the Explorer Police Interceptor is attracting more than four times as many buyers as its Taurus counterpart. Ford has also unveiled a Fusion Hybrid-based police car that is now “pursuit-rated.”
If the Police Interceptor isn’t a reason to save the Taurus, what about the strength of America’s full-size sedan market?
Uh, what strength?
The fleet-reliant large sedan segment has already lost more than 23,000 sales in the first three months of 2017, an 18-percent drop compared with the same period in 2016. Whether it’s the new Buick LaCrosse, the top-selling Dodge Charger, or the Taurus itself, big sedans at volume brands are tanking. Full-size volume brand sedans now form only 7 percent of America’s passenger car market.
Ford Motor Company builds both the Taurus and Explorer at its Chicago, Illinois, assembly plant. The Taurus’s Lincoln partner, the MKS, saw its production come to an end last year as Lincoln replaced the MKS with a Continental. The Continental is built alongside the Mustang in Flat Rock, Michigan.
The Taurus’s home market future isn’t the only Ford passenger car about which we have doubts. Two months ago, we questioned why Ford wouldn’t commit to the new Fiesta in America after revealing the car for European consumption. At the time, a Ford spokesperson told TTAC, “We’ll have more to say about other markets at a later date.”
We have twice inquired since as to whether Ford is ready to announce whether the new Fiesta will actually make it to the United States. Ford has declined to comment.
The current Fiesta has been on sale in the U.S. since 2010. The current Taurus rides on Ford’s Volvo-derived D3 platform, continuing a D3 sedan tradition that dates to the Ford Five Hundred’s introduction in 2004.