By on June 21, 2009

Our man Baruth has driven both the re-refreshed Taurus and the new Taurus SHO. I’ve got one word for his report: embargo. And another: Monday. Yes, TTAC now “respects” long-lead product-related embargoes. In other words, if a car maker invites us to test drive a new product, we’ll agree to stay schtum until they decide it’s OK to publish our review. Or the embargo breaks down. Galled as I am at our own collusion, I’m reversing our stance on the buff-book-protecting manufacturer–media conspiracy of silence for two reasons. First, it will have no impact on the content of our reviews. (We will always reveal the manufacturer’s contribution to our reviews.) Second, you WANT us on that junket. You NEED us on that junket.

Now that the feds have handed Chrysler to the Italians and nationalized GM, TTAC’s automotive coverage needs more, uh, automobiles. As for news embargoes, fuhgedabboutit. If they send it, we will publish. And speaking of inconvenient truths, Automotive News [AN] reports that the newly refreshed new-ish Taurus (nee Five Hundred) will arrive at dealerships with cash on the jinxed D3 platformed family hauler’s hood.

The Taurus will hit Ford showrooms in August. Customers taking delivery of a new Taurus before September can take $500 off of the sticker. Those who opt for the Taurus SEL, LTD and (here’s a surprise) SHO models get an additional grand off. The offer does NOT apply to the base SE ($25,995).

FoMoCo marketing Maven Mike Crowley explains the decision by pointing out that the US new car market is still “tentative.” “Even a great product, you want to launch it and get it off to a good start.” And then what? Raise prices? Not if this news McNugget is any indication: “Ford will sell the 2010 model to rental companies but intends to keep the rental mix in the single- or low-double-digit percentages.” The road to hell, eh?

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71 Comments on “Ford Taurus Refresh Arrives with Cash on the Hood...”


  • avatar
    dwford

    As for Embargos, Car and Driver and Jalopnik at least have already busted the embargo on the SHO, basically calling it a fast luxury sedan and and not a true SHO.

    As for the rebates, they don’t necessarily indicate a pricing problem or a product problem, rebates on new models like this are used to help cover some negative equity for potential customers. You can imagine all the Ford 500 and ’08-’09 Taurus owners might be a little upside down, right?

  • avatar

    dwford

    Text amended.

    The whole junket system is a PITA. In this case, Car and Driver broke the embargo created to protect THEM. And thus unleashed Jalopnik.

    It’s like a Mexican standoff where everyone is drunk off their ass on Tequila.

    The buff books’ day is done. Not to mention the salient fact that they have websites of their own.

    And so the antiquated embargo system is collapsing under its own weight. The carmakers should just deep six it. Run the press event when you’re ready for the coverage. Period.

  • avatar
    Samir

    I’ve never felt car reviews were particularly time-sensitive anyway.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    $500 rebates are sort of a don’t care in today’s market. Who gets excited about a $500 discount on a $25k and over car?

    If the car is really good, putting modest numbers into the rental fleets is not a problem at all. Make the car good enough, and exposure to it through rentals can provide sales leads. BTW, Hertz stocks boatloads of Camrys and Previas without hurting Toyota resale values.

  • avatar

    Of course FoMoCo is committed to fleet sales: that’s always been a large chunk of the Five Hundred and 2008+ Taurus sales. They are the preferred vehicle of insurance claims reps (a flood of Taurus’ arrived after Hurricane Ike) and traveling sales reps.

    Nice car for sure, but I’m pretty sure it’ll fare just as well as its predecessors.

  • avatar
    Matt51

    Anyone can, and does, make a good car now. There is no doubt the Taurus will be a good car, that is taken for granted. Making a good car, in itself, misses the point. My wife, after a long stay at home job raising children, decided to re-enter the workforce. She applied at Kohl’s for a cashier position, which she did get. She said there were twenty people applying, all dressed nicely, all professional looking, many college graduates, some had been managers in retail. The job pays around $8-$9 per hour. This is the real America. How does someone making 8-9-10 dollars an hour afford a $30,000 car? Well, they don’t. The real quesion is, which companies can compete with the 09 Kia Spectra which is selling for around $10K with air. It will also depreciate nicely and make a great buy in 2-3 years. Ford appears to be out of the game, unless you count fleet purchases of the Taurus, and construction workers who need the F150. Of course Ford is going to get a lot smaller.
    So Kia appears to be a winner, as will Tata and maybe some Chinese companies. Nissan with the Versa. Maybe Suzuki.
    The American, European, and most Japanese car companies (maybe excluding Suzuki and Nissan)are designed to be cash extortion machines. They try to convince the consumer they need to part with all their hard earned cash to support a lifestyle image.
    Well, no we don’t, as Ford is going to find out the hard way.

  • avatar
    CommanderFish

    There really just isn’t that big of a market for cars such as this, just ask Toyota. The new Taurus’ direct competitor is the Avalon, and that has never sold in large numbers.

  • avatar
    BDB

    In addition to the Avalon, I’d say its other competitors are the Buick LaCrosse and Chrysler 300. The LaCrosse is the only one that really gives it a run for its money, but its a Buick.

    The real quesion is, which companies can compete with the 09 Kia Spectra which is selling for around $10K with air.

    The Ford Fiesta says “hi”.

    As soon as that arrives Ford will have a strong entry in every single car (read, just CARs, not even getting into light trucks) category. Who thought that was even possible five years ago? The question is, can the car market turn around in time for people to be able to afford them and make them successful?

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    Matt – The same person shopping for a full size Taurus isn’t going to be looking at a compact Spectra. In fact, a Focus S Automatic is within a couple hudred of the MSRP of a Spectra LX Automatic, and the options list is nearly identical, as is the size of the two vehicles.

    Yes, those making a shade above minimum wage might be tempted by the Kias and upcoming Chinese imports, but calling the more established brands ‘cash extortionists’ is more than a bit extreme. Going beyond the fact that image is very important for a lot of buyers, that most people make quite a bit more than $9/hour, and that the current economic downturn is only temporary, you do get what you pay for in those budget boxes vs luxury or mainstream targeted vehicles. Squeaks, rattles, unrefined and noisy engines, plasticky cheap interior bits, low quality cloth, craptacular speakers, and questionable ergonomics all plague the cheapest of the cheap. Personally, if I only has 10 – 15K to spend on a car, I’d buy a late model pre-owned Fusion, Malibu, Mazda6, or Civic before I’d delve the depths of the Kia or (shudder) a Chinese automaker’s lineup.

    If you take the mainstream full size sedans, the Taurus, Impala, Avalon, Azera, and 300, you will find all start within a couple thousand of each other in the mid 20s, the Impala coming in lowest, the Avalon the highest. Power, fit and finish, fuel economy, safety, standard kit, and overall styling have a wider spread in that lineup, and for all objectively measurable criteria the 2010 Taurus comes out at or near the top (although admitedly it does carry the third highest MSRP behind the Avalon and 300 LX).

    BDB – I keep seeing comparisons between the new LaCrosse (which does look like it will be a very nice car) and the new Taurus, but the LaCrosse is a lot closer in size to a Fusion than it is to a Taurus. The Lucerne is the Buick that most evenly matches up to the Taurus.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    C&D’s review of the new SHO says the ‘Ecoboost’ 3.5L returns 16 mpg (and that’s probably on premium). Doesn’t seem too damn ‘Eco’ to me.

    For the kind of money Ford’s wanting for the things ($38k), it’s no wonder they’re immediately putting cash on the hood. One of the remaining G8 GT’s languishing on Pontiac dealer lots for thousands less would seem to be a much better buy.

  • avatar
    BDB

    It is better that they are putting a small amount of cash on the hood than letting dealers charge thousands over MSRP. The latter killed the Aussie GTO, the G8, and will kill the Camaro.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    BDB: “It is better that they are putting a small amount of cash on the hood than letting dealers charge thousands over MSRP. The latter killed the Aussie GTO, the G8, and will kill the Camaro.”It’s a good indicator of how Ford and their dealer network is (hopefully) much more ‘tuned-in’ to the market than GM or Chrysler and are looking more at long-term viability than the quick buck. It’s tough for a dealer to tack-on thousands in ‘adjusted market value’ when the manufacturer already has a rebate (even a small, inconsequential one) on a new model and probably one of the few ways Ford can get it across to its dealers not to mess around.

    Maybe they learned their lesson with the dealer mark-up that quickly killed the mediocre new Thunderbird. There are new ones still for sale on Ford dealer lots.

  • avatar
    BDB

    @rudiger–

    I think that may have been the goal here. Put a small rebate on the hood to prevent another Thunderbird/Challenger/GTO/G8 disaster.

  • avatar
    P71_CrownVic

    ”Even a great product, you want to launch it and get it off to a good start.” And then what? Raise prices?

    Probably. All of Ford’s new products are way overpriced anyway. Overpriced and under delivering.

    C&D’s review of the new SHO says the ‘Ecoboost’ 3.5L returns 16 mpg (and that’s probably on premium). Doesn’t seem too damn ‘Eco’ to me.

    For the kind of money Ford’s wanting for the things ($38k), it’s no wonder they’re immediately putting cash on the hood. One of the remaining G8 GT’s languishing on Pontiac dealer lots for thousands less would seem to be a much better buy.

    You are right… ‘Eco’boost is a fallacy…there is NOTHING ‘ECO’ about it.

    It is a 3.5 V6 with 6.0 V8 fuel economy.

    The Hyundai Genesis…with it’s more powerful (375), bigger (4.6L) V8 gets the same mileage as the Lincoln Taurus with “Eco”boost.

    Someone should tell Ford that when you increase airflow onto the combustion chamber…you will need more fuel. It is called the air/fuel ratio.

  • avatar
    King Bojack

    Why do incentives in a shitty car market warrant news postings? Did any one honestly expect anything these days to launch w/ no incentives?

    Why is this a surprise to any one?

  • avatar

    You’ve probably posted this before and my apologies for not remembering but I have to ask this of you P71_CrownVic. This is not a slam but a question. Every and I mean virtually every post about Ford or their products and I mean every post you slam them. What’s your real beef with Ford? Did you use to work for them? Is there something there that I ‘m not seeing? Just a question and not a criticism of your posts.

    I am no fan of the former big 3. I drive a Scion Xb I feel that Ford has made some pretty impressive changes and improvements and right calls. They’ve changed their top leadership a few years ago (GM didn’t and were forced to by the government), They raised the cash they needed when there was still time. They actually put in development new small car products like the new Fiesta which will be here in the US shortly as opposed to GM teasing us with the Beat while not pulling the trigger years ago on a US release. They seemed to clean up their marketing etc (Why kill the Taurus name etc)

  • avatar
    Joe ShpoilShport

    I’m afraid that Ford is missing the point (as I see it, anyway). Matt51’s point about everyone makes good cars is valid, though there is still SOME variation, and personal preference is still a factor.

    I think that, even with possible relief from the slow economy around the corner, the old system of selling cars is broken. Having been in the market and purchased a vehicle lately, dealers are still trying to do business the same way – deception and greed. You may say that they aren’t greedy, they’re hungry. What was the excuse two, four years ago?

    GM and Chrysler have an opportunity to change that. If Ford expects to make inroads they are going to have to change the way they sell cars.

    Oh, what a dreamer I am.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I think that may have been the goal here. Put a small rebate on the hood to prevent another Thunderbird/Challenger/GTO/G8 disaster.

    If this was Ford’s intention, then I think it is a great idea. I’ve also noticed that the GT500 isn’t suffering insane markups like the last-gen Shelby (and current Camaros). Thumbs up to Ford for these two things.

    Now that the feds have handed Chrysler to the Italians and nationalized GM, TTAC’s automotive coverage needs more, uh, automobiles.

    Well, TTAC could always do a review of a non-crew cab F-250 V10. I’ve been hoping for that review ever since RF mentioned it in a podcast almost a year ago.

  • avatar

    ajla, I was working to locate a new 2010 GT500 for someone interested in purchasing it and it does indeed suffer the same markup and dealer treatment that the new Camaro has. $10k over at pretty much every dealer here and one wanted the entire price of the car to be paid before they would place an order. Oh, and of course, no test drives.

  • avatar
    lw

    I’ve started thinking of rebates in terms of cash flow vs. product.

    I may be off base, but my logic is that a car sells and then maybe 2-3 months later the manufacture settles up with the dealer for the rebate.

    So lowering the price $500 would not have the benefit to reaping $500 per car for 2-3 months (at the dealers expense). If a car is high volume, $500 per unit could add up quick.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    TriShield: “ajla, I was working to locate a new 2010 GT500 for someone interested in purchasing it and it does indeed suffer the same markup and dealer treatment that the new Camaro has. $10k over at pretty much every dealer here and one wanted the entire price of the car to be paid before they would place an order. Oh, and of course, no test drives.”There are plenty of new GT500s on dealer lots with no mark-up.

    The problem is they’re all 2009 (or older) cars…

  • avatar

    I also don’t see anything about the “new-new” Taurus that will reverse it’s tepid sales. Since the name has been reintroduced the car has failed to sell. The new one won’t fare any better so Ford is already spinning it to blame the new vehicle market.

    The SHO has also been tested by many outlets now and the numbers are underwhelming to put it mildly. But a couple of figures stand out and are eye-watering. First the price, MSRP is GT500 money. Then the fuel consumption, the turbo V6 (as I predicted being a Grand National owner/enthusiast) averages mid teens overall, worse than some modern V8s. Then the weight, the car is 4,400lbs. The SHO is a dog and will need some good incentives if they want to sell any of them.

    Ford should have put this powertrain into the Fusion instead and applied the SVT or SHO label to it. The Fusion has much better styling inside and out and it’s a smaller, tidier package that is much lighter. Then Ford would have really been on to something.

  • avatar
    Brian E

    I’m glad you’ve reversed your embargo stance. In my opinion, there is one valid function of embargos, which is to make sure that nobody feels pressured to publish something until they’re ready. Of course, the value of that decreases with time – an embargo of three months is a bit ridiculous, but somewhere between two weeks and a month seems to me to be a useful amount of time for publications to get their content ready and reviewed before putting it out the door.

  • avatar
    ajla

    @Trishield:

    That’s too bad that some dealers are still doing it. I remember being told by one Ford dealer that I would have to pay around $45K to buy their ’08 Shelby GT. And no test drives.

    The new Shelbys here on the Gulf coast all have markups of $0 to $3k, which is a lot less than the $15K I usually saw on the ’07-’09 version. Granted I’ve only seen two in the metal around here, but the Ebay GT500s seem to mostly be available for under $55k.

  • avatar
    SunnyvaleCA

    You are right… ‘Eco’boost is a fallacy…there is NOTHING ‘ECO’ about it. It is a 3.5 V6 with 6.0 V8 fuel economy.

    Adding the direct injection turbo feature to an existing engine gives you more power out of an existing engine. There is no “eco,” just a cost savings of being able to use off-the-shelf parts to get more power.

    On the other hand, if Ford had used a 2.5L base engine and added the ‘eco’ they could have had the power of the base 3.5L with somewhat better fuel economy. Look at the Audi 2.0L TFSI engine for how to do it correctly–similar acceleration to C300, 325i, and IS250, but with noticeably better fuel economy.

  • avatar
    BDB

    TriShield–

    You’re half right. But the Fusion should be called the Taurus, and what is now the Taurus should be the new Crown Victoria. If Ford wants to keep the old Vic for fleets, they could call it the “Crown Victoria ‘Classic\'” like GM did with the old ‘Bu.

    The Focus should be the Tempo, and the Fiesta the Escort. I’m a fan of keeping names around, and keeping them true to their original mission–not upsizing them (Ford isn’t the only one guilty of this, hello, Honda, with the full size Accord!)

    Wasn’t the EcoBoost originally called the TwinForce? Much better name, they should have kept it.

  • avatar
    slateslate

    The money spent on the SHO should have been spent dropping the twin turbos into the MKZ.

    Why develop a SHO when Lincoln is still a division looking for a purpose.

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    TriShield – MSRP starts at 37K, the GT500 starts at 48K (I believe for the 2010 model, my dealership hasn’t been able to snag any yet), so, pretty big difference. Yes, you can option a SHO into the high 40s, but then it has a ton of extra equipment the GT500 doesn’t have. A bit silly to compare the two though, as the only thing they have in common is they are the HiPo version of their models. Also, the SHO is hardly a dog. Only 5.2 0 – 60 puts it right with a BMW 550i or 760iL, two cars it sort of splits the difference between in size. Also, the reviews have noted stable handling, so it shouldn’t be too bad in the twisties. I am sure that the 3.5 EB will eventually end up in the MKZ and in some hot-rod version of the Fusion as well however.

    Ajla – $45K is MSRP, so whats the problem? There are no Ford incentives on GT500 cars regardless of the model year. As far as 2010s with a few thousand markup, if you don’t like it, don’t buy it, but if the dealer is charging it, apparently there are those willing to pay it. If you want a car without a markup on it, then go find one of the 2009s or 2008s being sold without.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    BDB: “The Focus should be the Tempo, and the Fiesta the Escort. I’m a fan of keeping names around, and keeping them true to their original mission…”The downside to reusing names is that there’s the potential of consumers thinking it’s the same ‘ole, same ‘ole, as opposed to being au courant, i.e., ‘modern’ and ‘exciting’. This logic would be particularly apt on mediocre vehicles and the Tempo and Escort definitely fell into those categories even when they were new.

    OTOH, I would think that enough time has passed that such classic, stalwart Ford nameplates like Fairlane and Galaxie could both be viable on new models. Maybe if the Fusion had been called the Taurus and what is now the Taurus had gotten Fairlane or Galaxie, leaving the Crown Victoria alone.

  • avatar
    BDB

    rudiger, the Tempo was terrible (I had first hand experience!) but I don’t think the Escort was bad for what it was.

    I’m sure some of the early Corollas were dreck, but Toyota didn’t kill the name. They improved it.

    For some reason Detroit only keeps their truck (and sometimes ponycar) names for the long-haul, these days.

    But you may very well be right that it would be better to reach back and use names that are beyond living memory for a good portion of the population, but still classic and not sterile alphanumero soup or silly “F” themed names.

  • avatar
    Matt51

    Someone wrote an article – so from memory the numbers are approximate – The Dodge Challenger V8 in 1970 was $3500. In inflation adjusted dollars it would be $15000. The new Challenger is 35-40K. Ford only competes with Kia Spectra in list price, not street price. You get a nicer Kia for less money. Kia will charge what the market will bear, they will just keep cranking up the pressure as they need to.
    The market died for a reason. Cars are not affordable, just as Henry Ford the grandson used to worry about all the time.
    So the market is making the corrections which need to be made, those companies who can adjust will live, those like Ford who are living in the past will die.

  • avatar
    ohsnapback

    Not to get too far off topic, but this economy is not in a typical recession like those of years past. People assuming a turnaround is near seem to be not paying attention to the structural changes that have taken place. GM used to employ 360,000 U.S. workers and now employs 75,000. Those shuttered factories of the former Big 3? Gone for good (with very few exceptions). Auto suppliers are dropping like flies. This is why new grads from even Ivy League schools can’t find jobs and 50 year olds with executive experience are lining up for $12 per hour jobs when the opportunity presents itself (and they’ve lost a ton of wealth in their house, 401(k) and pension, if they had any of these, also).

    As for the new Taurus, it’s far too overpriced to be a success in this economy. When Chrysler launched their 300c, the economy was on fire thanks in great part to the insane real estate/house bubble, and buyers felt wealthy and had credit to access to buy whatever they wanted.

    The styling is nice and the interior isn’t better or worse than its competition, but start tacking on the extras, and you’ll see $30,000 in the blink of an eye, with the SHO at….ready?….$40,000.

    I’m sorry, but that’s plain insanity. You’re in BMW and MB territory now, even if it’s for smaller models (the 3 series is a benchmark and the new C class seems very well put together) and you’ve passed some Lexi. You can get an Infinity G37 for these prices!

    I have a feeling that a lot more cash than $1,500 is going to have to be stacked on the hoods of these cars to even reach the most conservative sales estimates.

    And Matt51 is correct – demographically, there are going to be few buyers that will be able to afford the new Taurus, and the ones that can will most likely prefer an Audi, Volkswagen, or Infinity or Lexus, anyways.

    The car market has gone crazy, as sales have plunged, yet automakers keep up with the inflation of MSRP (and then have to knock more and more money off the MSRP to generate sales). People literally expect 10k off MSRP as the new norm. This is why Hyundai was one of the few automakers to experience any sales’ gains so far this year, and everyone is down 30% to 54%.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    Matt51: “Someone wrote an article – so from memory the numbers are approximate – The Dodge Challenger V8 in 1970 was $3500.Some clarification is in order for what you got for your $3500 in 1970. That’s about what a 1970 Challenger R/T would have cost with a single option – an automatic transmission. Throw in all the other stuff that comes standard on new Challengers (A/C, radio, power steering, brakes, windows, cruise control, forged wheels, etc.) and suddenly the price is over $4000. It also doesn’t include today’s safety equipment like airbags (which weren’t available). Hell, you didn’t even get a right side mirror as standard equipment back then.

    But the point is still a valid one in that the manufacturers do seem to be pricing vehicles in an unreasonable manner that doesn’t coincide with the actual rate of inflation. It’s just not quite as dramatic as it may at first seem in comparison to what you got for the same (inflation adjusted) money back in 1970.

    FWIW, it’s not particularly difficult to figure out the market demographic of these unrealistically higher priced performance cars. They’re targeting guys who were either too young or couldn’t afford the late sixties/early seventies musclecars of their dreams when they were originally built. Now, those same guys are nearing retirement age and may be flush with disposable cash. Detroit is only too happy to liberate such schlubs of that extra, disposable cash to fulfill their youthful dreams.

  • avatar
    ajla

    @NulloModo:

    I wrote that I was looking at getting a 2008 Shelby GT, not a GT500. The sticker price on that car was $38K, not $45K. I followed your advice, I wasn’t willing to pay the markup price so I didn’t buy it.

    FWIW, that dealer never sold the car and it is still currently for sale at $32K. Considering that I would have bought it for $38K the markup strategy might not have been the best way to go.

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    Matt – Calling the Spectra nicer vs the Focus (and I don’t mean this as calling the Focus extraordinarily nice) is bullshit. The Spectra is a shitbox. The only redeeming quality it has is that it is cheap.

    ohsnapback – Yes, the current recession is worse than some others we have had, but any recession is only the result of fear amongst the spending public. In time people will get tired of holding back their purchases, they will go out and make them, and it will drive the economy back up. The bounty of foreclosures and short-sales in real estate will get snapped up and drive home prices back up. The only thing keeping the economy from rebounding right now is that too many people listen to the media and are afraid to spend money. If everyone started spending again things would be great in no time. I also don’t see these 50 year old executives lining up for $12 an hour jobs. Sure, one or two might have, and with all the sensationalism in the media about how awful things are they may make it sound like it is a common occurence, but fact is, there are plenty of jobs out there if you actually look. There is also plenty of credit. Yes, banks are doing a little more due diligence and the guy who is behind on his mortgage and had a repo last year might not get financed, more people are OK. Most US citizens have their heads above water, and while a lot have had their investments drop in value and their houses lose some money, they are still OK and will come out of things fine in the next year or so when things bounce back.

    Also, comparing a Taurus to a 3 series is ridiculous. People don’t shop by dollar amount first, they shop by size or function first. Someone will say ‘I have $40K to spend on a full size sedan’ or ‘I have $31K to spend on a SUV’ not ‘I have $25K to spend on whatever type of vehicle fits that price’. However, just to drive home the point, the only 3 series priced close to the SHO is the 328i, and by the time you add the options that the SHO comes with standard, the 328i is over $42K. Take a 4 cylinder Lexus IS (their cheapest model) and option it out the same as the SHO and the two are about even in price (the IS is a little less). For the same money if I could have a 350hp full size lux sedan vs. a 4 cylinder compact… I know which I would pick.

    Ajla – Gotcha, sorry, I forgot about the plain jane Shelby GTs. We only had a couple on the lot last year, sold them at sticker, and haven’t been bothered with them sense.

  • avatar
    50merc

    Hooray for the comments from Matt51, BDB and Rudiger about the high cost of cars. It amazes me how many models nowadays are priced well over forty grand. Apparently it has never occurred to manufacturers that most folks can’t afford such machines. I think the Japanese makes are the worst.

    Every new car on the lot at the Toyota dealer in Norman, OK has at least one “pack” right on the Monroney sticker that’s by Gulf States Toyota, which calls itself an “independent distributor.” (Independent? Give me a break.) Their pack is a bunch of highly overpriced fluff like floor mats. It starts at about $300 on a Yaris, $500 or so on a Camry, and a thousand or more on an Avalon. The packs are much costlier when certain distributor-installed items are included; e.g., ordinary aluminum wheels are $804/set. The profit margin must be fantastic.

    [Michael Karesh: for Gulf States Toyota’s region, it would appear their unavoidable packs make the national MSRP prices irrelevant. I saw one vehicle on the lot here that did not have a pack on its Monroney sticker. It was marked “not for sale” and “fleet,” and came from the Toyota distributor for Maryland.]

    Then on most cars the dealer slaps on its own pack with such excesses as $199 for “door handle protectors,” whatever those are. (I was amused to see the charge is the same on both 2-door and 4-door cars.)

    I can fly to the D.C. area, buy a Toyota at Fitzmall at their no-haggle price and avoid these stupid packs. Or I can go my local Ford store, where I’ve always been treated fairly and like they sincerely want my business.

  • avatar

    I too wish they would have kept the Twin-Force name for this engine. Eco-boost is not only a terrible name, it smacks of greenwashing for greenwashing’s sake. Like GM’s pseudo “light” hybrid system with hybrid badges all over it. And flex-fuel badges.

  • avatar
    Matt51

    Ohsnapback,

    Exactly, we are in a new world. Private enterprise is in free fall. Even parts of government, which used to be more stable, are in free fall. We are far more likely to have another step down, before we have a recovery. I read the University of Michigan was losing all state funding due to the financial crisis, so they may go private. Billy Durant, founder of GM and later CEO of Star Motors, thought the economy was going to recover, bet wrong, and went bankrupt. Hang on to your seat belts. GM with its move to China may actually be ahead of the game compared to Ford. Ford seems to just import, rebadge, and cheapen Mazdas, Volvos or Ford Europe products for the US. They have lost too much of their engineering base to matter in terms of the North American car market.
    So if I wanted a Volvo, why buy a Taurus, and even then, this market is too small to save Ford.

  • avatar
    ohsnapback

    Matt51, spot on comments.

    The auto industry is following every other manufacturing industry – moving to China to make everything there and export it to the U.S. and Europe.

    The only new auto plant being built in the U.S. right now is Kia’s plant in Georgia.

    Kia has many plants in South Korea and China.

    Nissan, Toyota and Honda have all offered buyouts to their workers in Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio, respectively.

    For the one plant being built in the U.S., it’s probably safe to assume 40 are being built or planned in China.

    The ‘new’ GM is likely to aim to boost sales in foreign markets by building far more components in China – and remember, it’s not where the car is assembled that matters the most, but where the components – especially transmissions, motors, and other drivetrain components – are built that does.

    Go the store and pick up something that had to be made off the shelf. It’s almost certainly made in China.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    rudiger :
    June 21st, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    C&D’s review of the new SHO says the ‘Ecoboost’ 3.5L returns 16 mpg (and that’s probably on premium). Doesn’t seem too damn ‘Eco’ to me.

    For the kind of money Ford’s wanting for the things ($38k), it’s no wonder they’re immediately putting cash on the hood. One of the remaining G8 GT’s languishing on Pontiac dealer lots for thousands less would seem to be a much better buy.

    You’re leaving out that C&D also clocked the SHO at 5.2 seconds 0-60. That’s remarkably strong for a car this size, and 16 mpg is NOT unreasonable mileage for this kind of performance. Seems to me like the car is something of a performance bargain at $38,000.

    By the way, the G8 is a great car, but one thing that’s hampered it sales-wise is that it’s not available with AWD. A performance sedan with RWD and 300+ HP would be a serious pain in the ass during the winters where I live.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    P71_CrownVic :
    June 21st, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    You are right… ‘Eco’boost is a fallacy…there is NOTHING ‘ECO’ about it.

    It is a 3.5 V6 with 6.0 V8 fuel economy.

    The Hyundai Genesis…with it’s more powerful (375), bigger (4.6L) V8 gets the same mileage as the Lincoln Taurus with “Eco”boost.

    Someone should tell Ford that when you increase airflow onto the combustion chamber…you will need more fuel. It is called the air/fuel ratio.
    King Bojack :

    Did you check the performance stats on the Taurus SHO? That thing’s a rocket…it offers almost identical straight-line performance to a BMW 335xi sedan, plus HUGE interior room, for 38K.

    Not coincidentially, the “eco-boost” system is the same one offered by BMW throughout its range – twin turbo, direct injection. The system will offer instant power and torque off the line.

    You still don’t think there are any benefits to twin-turbo, direct injection technology?

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    To those who think the Taurus (or Taurus SHO) is too expensive, how much should it be? What would you have them cut out to lessen the price – the interior, the performance, the safety features? The same people who complain about the high price of the car are the ones who will lambast the US automakers for building subpar vehicles in the past with cheap interiors, shoddy motors, and questionable safety records.

    Also, if 38K is too much for a Ford sedan, why not make it a Mercury? Oh yeah… Mercury is a dead brand walking with no cache and no appeal. What about a Lincoln? Well, there is already the (more nicely appointed) MKS, and people are still complaining that it ‘cheapens’ the Lincoln brand (even though it is a huge seller and is drawing a lot of previous import buyers into Lincoln showrooms). Should Ford just not have built a car that by all accounts is roomy, comfortable, incredibly safe, full of features, and has great styling and quality inside and out?

  • avatar
    Matt51

    Nullo,
    Ford should not try to be BMW. They need to survive in the mass market, as the founder and his grandson well knew.
    Look at all the new Hyundai/Kia GOOD cars being introduced in the 10-20K range such as Forte and Soul. Ford is going to get their brains beat in, while they sell a handful of twin turboed cars.
    And no, there is no way I will buy a car with a turbo. Chrysler already proved the problems of using turbos back in the 80’s. Turbos belong on diesels, not on gasoline cars.
    Ford evidently has killed off their domestic engineering department, and it shows. Ford is the champ of re-branding, not GM. Take a Mazda, put in cheaper parts, sell as the Fusion. Ooh, the excitement!

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    Matt – There is nothing inherently wrong with a turbo gasoline car. Subaru, VW/Audi, Volvo, and BMW have all had great success with turbo gas engines that are both powerful and very reliable (yes, VW doesn’t have the greatest track record for overall reliability, but that is heavily weighted towards electrical systems and odd squeaks, the engines, especially the 2.0T are fairly bulletproof).

    I don’t see how Ford is trying to be BMW with this car, they may offer a lot of power and an upscale interior at a slightly premium price, but they also include tons of options as standard that cost an arm and a leg with any lux marque.

    I haven’t been inside of a Soul or Forte, but from photos, the Soul has a scary interior (though I like the exterior styling) and the Forte looks decent, if uninspired. The current Focus isn’t a paradigm of small-car wonder, but the upcoming Fiesta has been reviewed incredibly well by all accounts, and the next Focus will converge the US with the Euro model, where it is the best selling car overall, so there must be something good about it. There are still plenty of people who see past the ‘Buy me I’m cheap and have a great warranty!’ schtik of the Koreans, and while the cars are getting better, they still aren’t quite up to the level of a good Ford, Honda, or Toyota.

    As for engineering, Ford’s US team is responsible for the F150, which continues to be the best selling (for both Ford and in the segment) and most profitable vehicle in the lineup, the Super Duty, which is by far the best selling heavy duty pickup on the market. Yes, the CD3 and D3 platforms borrowed from Mazda and Volvo, but whats the point of investing heavily or owning other companies if you can’t take advantage of what they do well?

  • avatar

    Null, the sales of the SHO are going to be extremely weak.

    The Taurus should maybe be $30k loaded. Maybe $32k for the SHO. $45k with the things people really want is sticker shock for a Ford, especialy one wearing the Taurus name.

    The interior of the new model is not nice by any means, it’s hard, shiny and grey. It looks like plastic elephant skin. Nothing about it screams luxury or premium or desirable (it’s Lincoln twin isn’t any nicer inside either).

    Basically what Ford made with the SHO is a very expensive rental car that performs decently. The market for which will be pretty small if nonexistent.

  • avatar
    ohsnapback

    Wait….the SHO is $45,000???

    Wow.

    Just….wow.

    That’s just plain unfathomably stupid.

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    ohsnapback – The SHO is 38K base, which is actually loaded with a lot of equipment including power everything and leather, 45K is adding Nav, massage seats, self parking ability, sport packages, and pretty much everything else on the options list.

    TriShield – Since neither of us have actually seen a SHO in person, I am going to withold judgment until I do (preview models are making their rounds through dealers this coming week). With regard to the Lincoln, if you think the interior of the MKS is in anyway not top notch, you obviously haven’t been in one. High quality real leather seats, real wood trim, real leather on the dash (well, maybe that is leatherette, but if it is it feels real enough that one can’t tell the difference) high quality and easily legible gauges, comfortable and supportive seats, ergonomically laid out switch gear that feels good to the touch, and tastefully used chrome trim all are tributes of the MKS interior. After hearing so much about the Hyundai Genesis I made a trip to the local Hyundai dealer to check it out, and while nicer, very nice for a Hyundai, the interior in the Genesis can’t hold a candle to the MKS. Given that all of the reviews of both the new Taurus and the MKS praise the interior, you are in a very small minority if you feel they are low quality.

  • avatar
    Matt51

    I have three problems with turbo’s on gasoline engines. 1) initial cost, you pay a premium 2) reduced engine life, the average life is greatly reduced, proven again and again. Diesels are strong enough turbo-charging does not sacrifice engine life 3) plumbing under the hood is a mess. A supercharger has a cleaner installation.
    So, now you know why companies which prize long engine life do not offer turbo cars. Just because Toyota does not turbocharge, and Ford is planning to, does not mean Toyota is stupid. No, just the reverse, it means Ford is terminally stupid. I still remember the chief engineer at Chrysler (forget his name) when a member of the press asked him if he would buy a turbo, which Chrysler was pushing in the 1980’s, he said no.

  • avatar
    King Bojack

    FreedMike:

    You brought up my name but I don’t know why. I was merely stating that damn near any car these days is launching with some kind of incentive, either specific to a vehicle or the natural incentives offered to an entire line. Lastly, many dealers are offering local incentives anyways despite new models. So the new Taurus having incentives shouldn’t be as newsworthy as TTAC, Autoblog and I think Jalopnik say it is.

    At any rate, not charging according to the features and quality of the car is what’s helped fuck Detroit well and good. Lowering cost to help sell in volume is old Detroit think and we’ve all seen the results of it. That being said the SHO is perhaps the best overall full size sedan value on the planet. Only Ford/Domestic haters/brand~name snobs are finding reasons to hate on the car. Essentially, for what you get, 38k is a good price for the car.

  • avatar
    ohsnapback

    They should have named the SHO the Ford E350.

  • avatar
    P71_CrownVic

    You still don’t think there are any benefits to twin-turbo, direct injection technology?

    In Ford’s case…yes. They are trying to sell Ecoboost to the greenies…hence the name change from Twin Force. That and a FWD, V6 performance car is like having Swine Flu.

    And when there are 6.0 V8s and 375 HP V8s that get the same or better mileage…then why go with a high-strung, unproven V6? It makes no sense.

    To those who think the Taurus (or Taurus SHO) is too expensive, how much should it be?

    33K MAX…just like the G8. The SHO is priced where the Lincoln version of the Taurus should be priced. The MKTaurus should start at 38K and “Eco”Boost version should TOP at $45,400.

    All new Fords (and Lincolns) are overpriced though. From the useless Flex to the Taurus and the MKFlex to the MKTaurus.

    And what ever happened to Ford’s claim that “Eco”boost would be a $700 option? Oops.

    The interior of the new model is not nice by any means, it’s hard, shiny and grey. It looks like plastic elephant skin. Nothing about it screams luxury or premium or desirable (it’s Lincoln twin isn’t any nicer inside either).

    Yeah…at the auto show I found that the interior of the Lincoln Taurus was anything but luxurious. The bean counters still have a strong hold at Ford.

  • avatar
    King Bojack

    Then Mr. P71 please define a good interior so we can have actual basis for comparison in the discussion. I’m seriously curious.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    The Taurus’ big problem is that the Fusion is a very good family car. Back when the Taurus was king, Ford’s next step down car was the Tempo … which was a big step down from a Taurus.

    Now the Fusion and Taurus are competing for almost the same customers. Salespeople and other fleet buyers appreciate the bit of extra room a Taurus will provide. In that sense the Taurus is trying to pick up where the Crown Vic left off.

    It will never again be a hot seller though.

  • avatar
    dwford

    The same people who think $38-45k is too much for a Taurus think $33-42k is too much for a Hyundai Genesis. Guess what: people are buying the Genesis – and there are no retail rebates.

  • avatar
    cory02

    I think the 2010 Subaru Legacy will steal some sales from the Taurus/G8/etc. Fully-loaded (including navi and bluetooth) with AWD and about 30 MPG on the highway for around $30k (maybe less depending on how willing the dealers are to make a deal).

  • avatar
    John Horner

    “people are buying the Genesis”

    The Genesis is a niche halo vehicle, and sells nothing like the volumes the Taurus did in it’s day. Once upon a time the Taurus was the best selling car in America. Never again.

  • avatar
    westhighgoalie

    If Ford would knock the price 3k on that SHO, I bet it would sell like hot cakes! There is a definite stigma about buying a Ford that is close to $40,000

    Its going to be one hell of a sleeper though!!!!!

  • avatar
    afabbro

    @Matt51:

    People making minimum wage at Kohl’s are not (or at least, should not) be buying new cars. You’re right, they won’t be buying a new 2010 Ford Taurus, but they may well buy a 3- or 4-year-old one.

  • avatar
    Matt51

    afabbro –

    It is the high quality and numbers of college educated people applying for low wage jobs which is an indicator of economic problems, not the fact there are some low wage jobs. I doubt anyone making $9 would waste their money on a two year old Taurus. Sorry, but Ford cars suck when it comes to resale value compared to Japanese iron, and Kohl’s workers like my wife won’t keep the price up on them. This is not the economy we were in even two years ago. Unemployment in California 11.5%, unemployment in Indiana 10.5% and rising. Oh, but whats his name at Ford says we are going to have recovery this year. And he believes in the Easter Bunny.
    People did not buy the Ford 500, they did not buy the current Taurus, and they are not going to buy this latest Taurus in any greater numbers. Not to say any of these were bad cars, they were not. BUT – this is not where the car Market is headed. The Market is a cold and cruel force, and the Market is making some severe adjustments at this time. Ford is screwed.

  • avatar
    Alcibiades

    My wife and I looked at and sat in a red 2010 Ford Taurus Limited AWD this weekend, at a local dealership. It was a very nice car; much more appealing than the outgoing Taurus, let alone the Five Hundred. I don’t know how it drives, or if it is overpriced, but it is a compelling effort, I think.

  • avatar
    don1967

    So the healthiest Detroit automaker goes back to the drawing board on its most important product, and returns with a 1980s-bland, 4600-pound tub. The tub is immediately discounted, not only before the first wave of turbo failures hits the chat rooms, but before the damn thing is even launched.

    Oh yeah, Detroit is on the road to recovery for sure.

  • avatar
    rocketrodeo

    Count me as one of the few (only?) commenters here with any significant seat time in the new Taurus. I’ve driven all the upcoming models for quite a few thousand miles. It’s a very impressive effort, a huge departure from the outgoing model.

    A few things right off: my fuel mileage experience doesn’t match the 16 reported. It’s better, much better. Mixed driving with a preponderance of freeway is more in the neighborhood of 22, and I’ve seen as good as 29 on the slabs. Second, the SHO uses regular unleaded, as do all of Ford’s upcoming GTDI engines. Third, it weighs about 4300 equipped with AWD and twin turbos; FWD models weigh significantly less. Fourth, ANY difference in fuel mileage between the GTDI and the standard engine models can well be attributed to the way I drove them. An extra 90 hp for no fuel economy penalty is a pretty remarkable thing, IMO.

    As far as the market positioning goes–I think it would be helpful to think of the Taurus as a four-door Thunderbird. There’s no market for big two-door coupes these days, and the midsize family sedan offering is ably covered by the Fusion. This is a car folks are going to buy because they want it, not because they need it–unless they are XL-sized people and need the extra room. It’s quiet, comfortable, sure-footed, and quick even with the base engine.

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    Don – Ford has a lot of experience with DI Turbo engines through its experience developing the DISI engines with Mazda and Volvo’s turbo powerplants. As important as the EcoBoost engines are, and given the lead time from when they were announced up until now that they are being released, I wouldn’t expect anything less than perfect reliability on them.

    Also, the Taurus, while once the most important model to Ford, is no longer. The F150 took that mantle long ago. There is also a fallacy in comparing this Taurus to the previous (pre 2008 model) cars, they compete in completely different market segments. The old Taurus was a midize, that car is now the Fusion, this Taurus is taking the place of the old Crown Vic as the full size in the lineup. If you want to look at a car to pave Ford’s future, the Fusion will always be designed to sell an order of magnitude above the Taurus.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    If Ford would knock the price 3k on that SHO, I bet it would sell like hot cakes!

    I doubt that they want to. The goal of this car is to create a halo in order to sell more of the regular models.

    I have my doubts that will work, though. Cars of this size are no longer popular.

    There may be a few old folks who would have previously bought a Buick who will now buy a Taurus, but I have my doubts that the public will get excited about any of the versions. Those buyers won’t care about the halo version.

    I see the Taurus in my rental future. If I were at Ford, I would have invested this effort into the Fusion and a competitive Lincoln, not this.

    Hertz stocks boatloads of Camrys and Previas without hurting Toyota resale values.

    That “boatload” represents about 10-12% of the Camrys on the market, so the proportion going to fleet isn’t high, relatively speaking. If Camrys were going to rental at the same rates as have been the G6’s and Sebrings, Toyota would be in trouble, too.

  • avatar
    Durwood

    Hello, i am late here but i find the new Taurus to be what looks like Fords best effort yet for a full sized car. No, it is never gonna sell like it once did, because as mentioned here the Fusion has taken it’s place as the volume leader. And as far as the Sho’s gas mileage, i have been getting C&D for over 30 years and have yet to see any car get as bad of fuel milage as those leadfoots get.
    I priced a ltd online loaded up at around $35,000 which seems like a lot but had lots of features the genesis didn’t have. I always thought i would buy a new Genesis if i was looking for a cheaper (not cheap) luxury car. But i think the Taurus is actually a much nicer car for about the same money as it is. I really don’t think Ford thought they were gonna sell 50,000 Shos anyway. Yes, the market is very much different now and that may prove to hurt Ford, but i looked at Spectas and you can’t compare them to the Fords. The spectra on the tests i read comes in about dead last compared to other cars in it’s price range. The new Forte looks like a nice little car for Kia though. Ford is making very good products now and i think the public is behind them. I have bought six new Chevys over the years and my next car will be either a 2010 Fusion or Taurus. I just wish Ford would update the Ranger and keep it around.

  • avatar
    Gary Numan

    4,400 lbs! Overweight and overpriced!

    Per earlier post: 1970 Challenger price of $3,500 = $15,000 today is fairly close. May I suggest the B & B of TTAC use this inflation calculator to plug in different values and time for better comparisons:

    http://www.measuringworth.com/calculators/ppowerus/index.php

  • avatar
    geeber

    BDB: The Focus should be the Tempo, and the Fiesta the Escort. I’m a fan of keeping names around, and keeping them true to their original mission–not upsizing them (Ford isn’t the only one guilty of this, hello, Honda, with the full size Accord!)

    I would have christened the Fusion with the Falcon nameplate, and the Taurus with the Galaxie nameplate. Leave the Focus with its current nameplate, along with the upcoming Fiesta.

    And the Flex would have been named Fairlane.

    matt51: Someone wrote an article – so from memory the numbers are approximate – The Dodge Challenger V8 in 1970 was $3500. In inflation adjusted dollars it would be $15000.

    Not only does a typical new car have much more standard equipment than any 1970 car (when power windows and power seats on a car were still a big deal), but the new car is also safer, cleaner and far better built. Performance is much better, and the new car will last longer, too. A 2009 Civic EX sedan is a better car than a 1970 Cadillac Fleetwood, or a 1970 Mercedes.

    A 1970 car was pretty much worn out by 100,000 miles; most 2009 cars can go 200,000 miles with proper care.

    Pch101: I have my doubts that will work, though. Cars of this size are no longer popular.

    I agree, but I have the feeling that Ford may be taking the old Crown Victoria approach to this segment – namely, as competitors either abandon this segment, or become so weak that customers stay away in fear that the parent company will no longer be around, the remaining customers will migrate to this Taurus. Which means it can rack up some respectable, but hardly outstanding, sales figures. It’s also noteworthy that Ford is not bringing out a Mercury version, so all of the sales will be concentrated on this Taurus.

    For what it’s worth, there was a SHO version at the Carlisle All-Ford Nationals three weeks ago. It was attracting a fair amount of attention, and the most common comment was, “That’s a Taurus? Wow!”.

  • avatar
    dolorean23

    Nice car for sure, but I’m pretty sure it’ll fare just as well as its predecessors. – Sajeev Mehta

    I’m assuming you mean the later model Taurus (96-04), the ones that Hertz rental couldn’t wait to get out of their fleet. Although not a bad car, but who wanted to pay over $20K for a base model when a 2 yr old Camry was available?

    I’d like to point out the 86-95 Taurus was the #1 selling car in America at the time and not just because of its rental fleet. It was a great car, one that Honda and Toyota both would compare their Accord and Camry to. Ford, like GM, gave up in the late 90s of making cars and forgot what it was like to be on top.

    I think the new Taurus has potential. You have to remember, its the Ford flagship vehicle now as the LTD (sorry Grandpa) is going bye-bye. Its gonna run you a little for the nice one, which prices right near the base Lincoln.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Matt51 :
    June 21st, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    Someone wrote an article – so from memory the numbers are approximate – The Dodge Challenger V8 in 1970 was $3500. In inflation adjusted dollars it would be $15000.

    —————————————–

    Are you using the inflation rate that the Fed tries to brainwash you? I mean, there is real incentive that the Fed publish lower than real figures. (Think about public anger, and inflation adjusted obligations.)

    When I look at inflation, I look at real estate and food (organic food please, for an apple to apple comparison).

    In my city, the price of real estate has gone up 200% in the past 10 years. The price of a Camry stays the same, even though its size, hp, and equipment list grew by a lot.

  • avatar
    Matt51

    Inflation is tough to judge. I would say though, when I graduated I financed my first car, a 1972 Chevy Nova (a fine car by the way) for three years. My father thought you should only finance cars for two years. Cars are better, they last longer, and it is not the factories fault that American’s income has fallen. Blue collar wages have fallen in real terms since 1973, makes it hard for people to afford all the wonderful Taurus and Impalas in the world.

  • avatar

    The price is not out of line. 16 years ago we bought a new SHO and, as I recall, base MSRP was near-as-dammit $25k while ours stickered around $27,000. Using the Brainwashing Fed Inflation Calculator ™, that’s about $39,960 in ’09 USD.

    Second, I don’t think the weight is good but, like the price, it’s not way out of line. I cut and pasted a bunch of specs from Yahoo! autos showing the SHO splits the difference between a mid-size (A6) and full size luxury car (750i) in many quantifiable areas such as front and rear passenger space, wheelbase, width, height, yes even weight and hp. Every car on there save the BMW 3 and the G37 are within 10% of the SHO’s curb weight. It’s a big, fancy car with good power/weight ratio, lots of toys and sharp looks. Obviously I’m biased, but the figures are clear and nostalgia is a hard fog to penetrate.

    Finally, this Taurus will never sell like the ’86-’95s. It’s not in a high-volume segment; as many have said, the Fusion works there. I think it’s good value compared to mid/large luxury vehicles and maybe I’ll buy one.

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