By on March 2, 2019

Image: Ford

Much like in the pre-1985 era and a short spell from 2006-2007, every last one of you woke up this morning in a world without the Ford Taurus. The historic nameplate met its end on Friday at Ford’s Chicago assembly plant, with the automaker choosing to honor the model’s service through a media release.

At the same time, workers at General Motors’ Lordstown Assembly marked a much more solemn occasion. The last Chevrolet Cruze made its way through the plant’s body shop Friday afternoon, and with its completion comes the idling of a plant opened in 1966.

While both nameplates will live on in foreign markets, it’s curtains for U.S. and Canadian supply.

WKBN published photos yesterday of the last Lordstown Cruze, with a union leader telling the publication that final assembly of the sedan should wrap up on Wednesday. The plant turns out the lights on Friday, March 8th.

While GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck facility recently saw a production reprieve, Lordstown Assembly, as well as a Michigan and Maryland transmission plant and Ontario’s Oshawa Assembly, all fell under Mary Barra’s cost-cutting axe. There’s seemingly no hope for the Canadian plant; the other three facilities will be listed as “unallocated.” Whether or not GM returns product to the shuttered facilities remains to be seen.

One thing’s for sure — neither automaker has any intention of replacing the defunct models with a similar passenger car. Workers at Chicago Assembly now switch to assembly of next-generation 2020 Ford Explorers and Lincoln Aviators.

“Taurus broke new ground at its start and we’re thankful for its role in our portfolio,” said Mark LaNeve, Ford vice president, U.S. marketing, sales and service, in a statement. “Those same kinds of innovations will continue for today’s customers with Ford Explorer and the rest of our lineup.”

Since production began in 1985 (for the ’86 model year), more than 8 million Tauruses left Ford plants in the United States. A revolutionary vehicle at birth, the model suffered in the resulting ovoid era, only to find itself a rental darling in the early 2000s. Your author spent an uncomfortable night in a Vulcan-powered example near Baltimore in early 2002 and did not walk away well-rested.

Poling Ford Taurus

Production ended, for the first time, on October 27, 2006. A year later, Ford slapped the Taurus name on a refreshed version of the former Five Hundred, adding a more powerful V6 engine and a new six-speed automatic in the process. The current-generation model bowed in 2009 for the 2010 model year. With buyers draining from all passenger car segments and law enforcement fleets rapidly shifting to the Police Interceptor Utility, the Taurus quickly became an anachronism. Its death leaves the Fusion as the last Ford sedan in North America.

The Cruze saga is much shorter, though GM did manage to crank out over 2.1 million during its lifetime. Mexico supplemented production, adding the hatchback that bowed with the second-generation model. For a while, the Cruze could be had in two bodystyles, with a choice of manual or automatic transmission and a turbocharged gasoline or diesel powerplant. Don’t expect that kind of choice in your crossover-filled future.

For GM, the Cruze was the right car at the right time. Emerging from the automaker’s bankruptcy against a backdrop of high gas prices and a struggling economy, the Cruze garnered applause for its solid construction — an accolade never bestowed on its Cobalt and Cavalier predecessors. Corrosion resistance was excellent, as was crashworthiness. Materials impressed. The car’s suspension and brakes didn’t completely crap out after a couple of years (in 90k miles, I replaced the front brake pads once and never touched the suspension — it was a durable little thing).

Meanwhile, the uplevel 1,364cc inline-four delivered boffo fuel economy, especially in Eco guise. Your author once managed 55 mpg during a two-hour countryside jaunt in his 2011 Cruze Eco. Suck it, hybrids.

Image: General Motors

While build quality far surpassed earlier compact Chevys, first-gen model’s 1.4L engine leaked coolant like a spaghetti strainer (water pump, all seals, heater core, etc) and went through PCV valves like it was going out of style. As the owner of a 2018 model, yours truly hopes the redesigned second-gen motor holds no such surprises. (This mechanical fact, sizeable incentives, a generous trade-in price, and the continued perk of high MPGs and copious front-seat legroom, earned GM another sale.)

The consumer is always right, they say. Falling sales left Lordstown operating with a single shift, expediting the plant’s closure, but it’s always sad to see an affordable car shuffle off into history.

As Honda and Toyota (et al) have no plans to abandon the segment, Lordstown’s loss is their gain.

[Images: Ford, General Motors]

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135 Comments on “Ford Taurus Enters Extinction As the Last Chevrolet Cruze Trundles Down the Assembly Line...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    So is that the end of the D3 platform as well? (Taurus, MKT, Flex…)

    The last remenant of Ford/Volvo lasted much longer than the partnership itself.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Oops I forgot that the current Explorer, the least space efficient of all the D3 platform vehicles but because CUV-thingy the best selling.

      Sometimes I really dislike my fellow Americans.

      • 0 avatar
        EBFlex

        It’s funny you talk about packaging Dan. While the packaging of the Explorer, Taurus and the Lincoln Taurus are awful, it’s excusable because the platform they are using was designed in the mid-90s by Volvo.

        Ford got lazy and decided what they needed for 2005 was a car that was super old when it rolled off the assembly line (as the 500). It’s no wonder why these dumpy sedans never sold. They were handicapped from the start.

        This isn’t so much as a euelogy for the Taurus…..nobody has cared about the Taurus for 20+ years. This is a euelogy for the Volvo P2 platform.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          “It’s funny you talk about packaging Dan. While the packaging of the Explorer, Taurus and the Lincoln Taurus are awful, it’s excusable because the platform they are using was designed in the mid-90s by Volvo.”

          Funny you then mention the Five Hundred, because that car had fantastic packaging with 40+ inches of rear legroom, excellent head room, and had a 20 cuft+ trunk as well. It was the 2011 Taurus redesign where they chopped the roof and scooted the front seats back, and stuck a massive center console in the middle that screwed it all up.

          • 0 avatar
            EBFlex

            Unfortunately the actual measurements of the 2011+ Taurus and the 2005 Five Hundred/Taurus paint a different picture.

            Some measurements are better in the Taurus some are better in the Five Hundred. But total interior volume was less than 6 cubic feet higher on the Five Hundred.

            It was not a well packaged car either

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Have you tried sitting in both? It’s a very noticeable difference, rear leg room and head room and overall cabin “airiness” in particular. The Five Hundred The 2011 Taurus embraced the “bunkered in” feel and sleeker styling, and to be fair they were rewarded with higher sales than what the Five Hundred was getting them.

            2006 Five Hundred rear legroom: 41.9 inches
            2011 Taurus rear legroom: 38.1 inches

            an almost 3 inch reduction in rear legroom. That’s huge. You were saying?

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            IMHO the FLEX is still the best vehicle on the platform. Looking like the box that other cars came in has advantages in seating position and airy feel to the cabin.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            PDan I just had one as a rental a week ago coincidentally. Pillars are too thick/fat for me to really call it “airy,” but within the context of modern cars it’s not bad. Didn’t sit in it, but the rear row looked absolutely limo-like. Overall it left a generally positive impression, although I don’t quite get the fuss over them either, over the road MPG was on par with a even roomier minivan, ride was kind of flinty around town, interior quality was a bit of a mixed bag. The Ford Duratec 3.5L feels a bit stronger than my 3.6L Pentastar down low, but doesn’t feel as smooth as the revs climb, and I suspect is just not as efficient overall given equal aerodynamics (LX cars seem to consistently knock down better highway MPG than Tauri). Transmission was spot on, liked it more than my T&C’s 6spd which does some weird shift-flaring type behavior when accelerating slowly to maximize smoothness. Overall as a comparison to my van the Flex was more stable in crosswinds and handled better, that’s about all I can think of as “wins.”

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            @gtem

            Back when the Flex was a new design I got one from a “black car” service while in Chicago. It was late October and it was painted black, black interior, white roof, uniformed driver.

            Here’s what I remember. Back seat that easily held me, my future wife, and future FIL. Our luggage was easily swallowed. I thought the ride was pretty smooth. Soon to be wife fell asleep on my shoulder and stayed that way from downtown to the airport.

            The irony is although my wife would balk at a minivan she’d be ok with the Flex because of its shape and non-sliding doors.

            As I said in another thread Ford dealers are offering good deals on the Flex. I see it as the closest I’m going to come to a new Country Squire

          • 0 avatar
            EBFlex

            “You were saying?”

            Exactly what I said. Overall there is not much difference between the two.

            And I didn’t fine the “airiness” measurement on Edmunds. Just going by the real numbers.

            As I said above there are areas where the 500 was a little better and areas where the Taurus was a little better. But overall the entire P2/D3 platform was awful for packaging

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            I hadn’t considered one for our family hauler, but after my rental I looked at prices and they were actually right about in line with what I paid for our Chrysler van ($19-21k for a lower mile ’16 FWD SEL). I’d always been told that they were very overvalued on the used marketplace (supply constrained). So part of me wishes I had at least entertained that option a bit more, but I think I’d miss the ultimate utility of a taller-roofed van. Already been putting my stow-and-go seats to good use, just plain awesome.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            “Overall there is not much difference between the two”

            You went from huge sedan rear legroom to what is basically a standard midsize car’s rear legroom, it is a notable difference. And yes the newer car’s squashed greenhouse and taller belt line has notably worse visibility. But I understand, you can’t be wrong.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “But total interior volume was less than 6 cubic feet higher on the Five Hundred.”

            6 cubic feet is a lot. That’s the difference between LeSabre and Regal interior volume. Ford basically turned the Taurus from a full-size FWD to a mid-sized one.

          • 0 avatar
            NECarGuy

            I’ll start with the fact that I’m 6’4″. I owned a 2007 Mercury Montego Premier AWD, 2010 Taurus SHO, 2012 Flex Titanium, and 2014 Lincoln MKT.

            Everyone likes to complain about packaging on these cars, but I never once felt cramped in any of them. They were exceptional road vehicles and family cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Richard Chen

      IIRC the latter two stick around until 2020, they’re manufactured in Oakville, CA

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      It annoys me when auto execs drape their body parts across new vehicles (third picture in the article; gritty shoe sole on painted bumper cover takes it to the next level).

      “I am so proud of my company, its employees and our products that I’ll just position my butt right *here*…”

      If the photographer doesn’t know better, the executive should.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    This is more then the end of the Taurus, this is the beginning of the end for the large American sedan. Nothing to be sad about tastes change and people want something more practical. Also, Ford still owns the “Taurus” name and chances are you’ll see it again

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Just because there’s a market-driven reason doesn’t mean I’m not going to be sad to see large sedans disappear.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      The large American sedan lives on through crew cab pickups.

      • 0 avatar
        redapple

        Sporty

        True. And I HATE it. These ROID engorged road monsters are 5/4 the size of the sane 1970 s design.

        The PIG up drivers park the monsters next to my car. A foot into my parking spot. Ding my doors.

        PIG Up truck drivers will meet their smack down When gas goes up $1-2 /gallon.

        F250 Pig up drivers are shorter than F 150 drivers. Do your own survey.

        They are every where.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          GRRR! I HATE WHEN PEOPLE BUY WHAT THEY WANT INSTEAD OF WHAT I WANT!!

          LOL Sorry, SourApple, you dont get to choose for others. If people want to buy pickups, all the made-up stereotypes in the world wont make it go away.

          • 0 avatar
            ToolGuy

            John,

            Ok I’ll bite.

            – Where do I buy a pickup with an 8-foot bed that doesn’t require any auxiliary step?

            – Where do I buy a sedan with a reasonable H-point, reasonable headroom and a generous trunk?

            Let’s don’t pretend that *all* of the segment changes are down to customer choice, when the manufacturers deprived customers of some of those choices.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            ..all the made-up stereotypes in the world wont make it go away…

            You mean, like all the Prius bashing stereotypes? I agree buy what you want, but please the stereotypes don’t end with one car.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          Whatever. I drive a crew cab and I always manage to get it in between the freaking lines. When I’m not driving it I drive a Fiesta which has zero door dings from pick em up drivers or anyone else (And I live in Alabama, so there are a few pickups here).

          There are two noted offenders of parking over the lines at my office. Both do it because they don’t want there precious cars dinged up. One is a Camaro and one is an M3. They always take 2 close spaces too. Maybe you drivers of little p!$$ant cars should take a look in the mirror.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            How is it that selfish psychopaths learn they can count on the good natures of others? I get being concerned about door dings on a new car. The solution is to park far enough out in a parking lot that slothful individuals will never park next to you. Taking two spots close to the building seems like an invitation to vandals.

          • 0 avatar
            Daniel J

            I live in N. Alabama and I make it a point to park in nomans land. Too many times I’ve gotten dinged or boxed in because pick up drivers, especially older ones, can’t park them. Then I see new ones purposefully taking two spots up at the mall, Kroger, or Walmart.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          redapple… I live and work in pickup country. I park at work in a lot full of pickups. None of what you say is true. Seek help. In my experience people who seek to exert control over the lives of others do so out of a feeling of lack of control of their own.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            There are states where the building codes are such that parking lots always have a vast majority of compact car spots. I suspect that’s where the hard feelings about pickups come from. The ire should be directed at social engineers instead.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            I worked in the parking industry in my prior life. Some local municipalites did put quotas on so-called compact car spaces. But generally, the pressure was always on making the stalls tighter, especially when a developer was involved. I always advocated for 9′-0″ spaces, but that layout option was never chosen. Instead, 8′-0″ was their favorite, with some clamoring for a 7′-6″ parking section. Ugh. But the cost of “found” revenue always perks up the developers. And if we are talking a parking structure, the cost back then for a typical 500 space building was about $12K per space.

            BTW, thanks for the description about the Toyota CVT. Did not know that. And it seems to be the best CVT out there …

      • 0 avatar

        The American sedan lives on at Toyota, Honda, And Nissan.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      Can the demise of a twenty year old Volvo be called the beginning of the end of the large American sedan? I’d say the beginning of the end was the adoption of the original CAFE regulations. Big sedans would soon be shorn of the powertrains that allowed them to do what people bought them for, leading to personal use of light trucks. Then it was just a matter of the time for people who bought them without ever needing their utility either trying something new or leaving the car market.

    • 0 avatar
      TheAnswerIsPolara

      Soon on the market: Taurus Cross
      and the Mustange Cross – saw that hideous picture and wanted to gouge out my eyes!

    • 0 avatar
      TheAnswerIsPolara

      Soon on the market: Taurus Cross
      and the Mustang Cross – saw that hideous picture and wanted to gouge out my eyes!

  • avatar
    Lemmiwinks

    One day I’ll read a piece on this site that doesn’t contain some non sequitur slight against hybrids or electric vehicles, and my head will explode.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      This is not that day.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        True. Then again, one particular bit of driving does not an efficiency record make. Our work Prius has a lifetime average of 63 (according to the car). Not a chance his Cruze returned anything like that. Certainly not in a mix of driving that is heavily biased toward commuter traffic.

        As my long late grandfather told me as a child, use the right tool for the job you face.

  • avatar
    Crashdaddy430

    Pour one out for the Taurus, sad to see it go.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      Really quite a vehicle that didn’t get the credit it deserved.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Ford sold millions of Tauruses, can’t get a much better testimonial then that

        • 0 avatar
          jatz

          “Ford sold millions of Tauruses, can’t get a much better testimonial then that”

          Amen. Didn’t the first two generations of the Taurus consistently vie with the Accord for best selling mid-sizaer?

          And those were Peak Honda days.

          • 0 avatar
            ToolGuy

            To my recollection, Taurus went off track with the third-generation Ovoidian design exercise that exactly zero customers were clamoring for, and never really regained momentum.

            Wikipedia and carsalesbase add a little more depth – apparently the 2000 redesign of the 1996 DN101 couldn’t get back enough of the lost usability, and the slow fade continued.

            Jack Telnack (see my comments elsewhere regarding the Art Center College of Design) apparently had free reign on the 1996 model, but at the same time you have to give him credit for the original in 1986.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        funny, I remember there being mostly complaints about its weight, bulk, and cramped interior. But now it’s a saint for some reason.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Several generations were not as cramped or heavy.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            I’m not going to write a song about this gen, but the razor-face ’08 (and the Sable analog) was really nice, and the 1st Gen was a very ballsy move for an American brand.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            If there was a brand new 2008 Taurus on the Ford dealers lot right now I’d be on it like a dog on a ham bone.

            Cavernous interior, gigantic trunk, 3.5 V6 and 6 speed was peppy. Roof height made the inside airy.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            The last Taurus really isn’t a Taurus it was a renamed Ford 500 or the successor to the full sized Crown Vic. The mid-size Taurus was gone a long time ago

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            “If there was a brand new 2008 Taurus on the Ford dealers lot right now I’d be on it like a dog on a ham bone.”

            No, no you wouldn’t. The 2008 “Taurus” (i.e. a Five Hundred with different grille and lights) was universally derided.

            you’re just being the usual Internet Car Bullsh***er who loves to talk about things he “would” buy but never does.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “The 2008 ‘Taurus’ (i.e. a Five Hundred with different grille and lights) was universally derided.”

            youtube.com/watch?v=i28UEoLXVFQ

            We were d*mned fools. That was a great car.
            108Cuft of passenger capacity. 21Cuft trunk. Actual 3-box design. Actual visibility. Actual headroom. Actual V6. A normal automatic transmission. Styling that didn’t make it look like a sea monster.

            RIP 2008 Taurus. We didn’t deserve you.

            images.gtcarlot.com/pictures/12376285.jpg

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            I drove one on the used car lot at the local dealer. It was loaned to me while my vehicle was being repaired.

            I was still making payments on my truck. Didn’t need another vehicle.

            Wasn’t back in the market until 2014.

            But thanks for the hater-aid.

          • 0 avatar
            la834

            > I’m not going to write a song about this gen, but the razor-face ’08 (and the Sable analog) was
            > really nice, and the 1st Gen was a very ballsy move for an American brand.

            Those are the exact two generations of Taurus I thought were great. The ’86-’91 was groundbreaking and still looks and feels modern. I compared a ’91 Taurus LX to a Lexus ES when they were new and was struck at how much more luxurious the Taurus seemed.

            The ’08-’09 car deserved to live longer. Derived from the earlier Five Hundred, it had a tall roof, high seating position almost like a crossover, great outward visibility, loads of room in the rear sear, and a huge trunk. Also great crashworthiness inherited from the Volvo-derived design along with then leading safety tech features. The 2010 redesign was a step backward in nearly every way – lower roof, higher beltline, worsend outward view, reduced ease of ingress/egress, and much less room inside with the airy feel gone. It rivals the 1996 model as one of the worst redesigns ever.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            During this time period Ford was putting out some pretty good sedans even the TaurusX wagon was by most measures a great station wagon, but they were so gosh darn dull looking.

            For those truly interested in a big ol’ American station wagon I’d hop on one of those Flexes before they’re gone, or in 10 years we’ll be moaning how we wished Ford still made it

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          Same thing about the World Trade Center. People always used to say how plain, how ugly, a pair of Ronzoni linguini on end…yet today they talk about how they miss them and how they had style of the bland glass box that replaced it.

          • 0 avatar
            SPPPP

            “Same thing about the World Trade Center. People always used to say how plain, how ugly, a pair of Ronzoni linguini on end…yet today they talk about how they miss them and how they had style of the bland glass box that replaced it.”

            Wow, nostalgia is stronger than I thought.

  • avatar
    redapple

    Pig up truck.
    Mark the tape.
    I came up with that.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Wow! Maybe you’ll get your own deadweight-like following! Same (copied) idiotic narrative, less creativity.

      • 0 avatar
        ToolGuy

        John,

        I like DeadWeight – when he’s relatively calm and rational, he makes some very valid points.

        I used to enjoy some of your posts, too – but it’s been awhile.
        The gratuitous ad-hominem attacks and the knee-jerk defensiveness around Ford (even pre-emptively knocking the chip off *your own shoulder*) become tiresome quickly.

        Some people don’t have the greatest opinion of Ford – please consider the possibility that their opinion might be at least partially based in fact or in their own personal experience. Regardless, I’m not sure that your approach is winning Ford a lot of new fans.

        I do appreciate your perspective when you make constructive comments.

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          Your last statement applies universally.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          “Some people don’t have the greatest opinion of Ford – please consider the possibility that their opinion might be at least partially based in fact or in their own personal experience.”

          yes, and those people can usually articulate why. the jokers we have here (won’t mention names, but you know who they are) just drop steaming turd troll comments.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        You’re going to give yourself an ulcer if you haven’t already.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryan

        Hey John,

        How are you doing? The reason I ask, is that lately and more times than not you come off very spiteful. I don’t mean this as a dig, more of something I have noticed in the last 4-5 months. You seem very much in tune with the auto industry. You have given me many – many insights that I walked away with smiling. Again, I don’t dislike you. Hell, honest to christ – if you lived in the Tampa area I gladly meet with you for some adult beverages and talk shop. Maybe take a breather. A lot of people enjoy your perspective. When it is not so borderline nasty. Besides, I really believe you are better than that.

  • avatar
    redapple

    Lordstown. Long reputation of having a radical workforce. Cantankerous and hostile.
    Should have been closed long ago. Good riddance.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      you’d be cantankerous too if you had to build Vegas and they kept pushing the line speed faster. And blamed you for the quality problems.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      Hey appleboy…I watched hundreds of guys come into the plant with your attitude . Six hours into the first shift they’re crying for their momma !

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        @mikey: and I’ve seen them crying for their mommas because they weren’t paying attention and had a body part crushed.

        I remember part of a line in a body shop where the sides were joined with the center of the body. The sides were in these carriers on either side that would sweep across the aisle, so the side could be welded to the center, then further down the line it would release once the welding was done. I remember someone that wasn’t paying attention having their foot caught between the side and the center. They had help the person get down the line so that the fixture would release. I didn’t see the actual incident, but I did see the person leaving on a stretcher. It’s dangerous work – although I don’t have to tell you that.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          The next time I have one of those weird squeaks or rattles I’m going to remember this story and wonder if it wasn’t someone’s foot involved, Yikes!

          • 0 avatar
            mikey

            I witnessed a few nasty ones . There is one in particular ( I’ll spare you the details) 35 years later, that one can still take me out of a dead sleep.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            So much for on the job safety, huh mikey?

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        mikey, the way I remember it is that Lordstown always had a reputation for labor strife and then the plant was reconfigured for an unprecedented level of automation when the Vega was introduced. The union resorted to sabotage and stoppages not because they were being worked harder than previously, but because there were job cuts due to their numbers being replaced by robots.

        If, as you say, hundreds of guys came to work on production lines thinking they should be shut down, that is the result of a very odd selection process indeed.

        • 0 avatar
          mikey

          @ ToddAtlasF1…Your probably right. Every work place has a few a$$ h–s . That and it was 40+ years ago.

          Today , anyone practicing that shite would find themselves ostracized , or “worse” by their colleagues .

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          https://lordstownsyndrome.wordpress.com/tag/general-motors-assembly-division/

          Counterpoint.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            Just realize that’s all the work of radicals who were angry that the highest paid uneducated employees in the richest city in the country weren’t Marxist enough in 1971 and who were even angrier in 2011 when all their Marxist agitation caused people to lower their sights after forty years of leftist degeneration. How much better off would UAW autoworkers be today without the influences of the Stanley Aronowitzes of the world?

  • avatar
    redapple

    Lordstown. Long reputation of having a radical workforce. Cantankerous and hostile.
    Should have been closed long ago. Good riddance.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    There is an interesting 2009 short film/documentary (42 mins), “The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant” available on amazon prime video.

  • avatar

    GM and Ford just could not make competitive cars like the, Sentra, Altima, and Maxima. If you can’t even compete with Nissan you are just not very good.

    Why can’t GM compete with Nissan?

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      akear,

      The question goes a little deeper – for example:

      a) Why can’t GM compete with Nissan? (in midsize sedans)

      b) Why can’t Nissan compete with GM? (in full size utilities)

      Potential answers would make for an interesting discussion.

    • 0 avatar
      jacob_coulter

      Legacy costs and the UAW are a big part of it. Their labor force is simply a lot more expensive.

      You’ll notice where all the “foreign” automakers locate their American plants, it’s where the unions are the weakest.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        Mr. Coulter,
        do you have any data showing legacy costs and UAW labor rates?

        • 0 avatar
          mikey

          Legacy costs are shrinking by the day ??? Hourly, and salary pensions have been frozen for 10 years. Retiree benefits hourly/ salary, haven’t been company paid for 11 years..No defined benefit pensions for new hire hourly or salary.

          Give it another 15 20 years, and legacy costs disappear .

    • 0 avatar
      BuzzDog

      I’m trying to wrap my head around the idea of the Maxima being considered to be a competitive car. They sell so few of them…

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        It doesn’t matter that each sedan he mentioned is declining as fast as any American sedan, yet their makers are far more invested in keeping them alive because they dont have an F-150 or Tahoe or any other American truck/SUV that consistently sells well and makes money. It’s all about his contention that the decline of sedans are all the fault of Ford and GM.

        • 0 avatar

          Camry sales are actually up this month. Toyota is still selling a Camry every 90 seconds.

          Unlike GM and Ford, Toyota is not culling their product lines. Apparently, Toyota and Nissan trucks and SUVs are selling a lot better than either GM or Ford cars. They simply have no weak links in their product line. Actually, I was surprised to find out how well the dated Outlander sells.

          The RAV4 and Rogue are the best-selling vehicles in their class. Like the Camry, the RAV4 is on the cusp of breaking the 400,000 sales barriers.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      The LaCrosse and Impala are twice the vehicle any Nissan could pretend to be. .

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        The Impala simply does not get the credit it deserves. Had it been released with a Toyota badge, it would have been lauded as the reincarnation of the Avalon. Power of perception is a powerful thing.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          I agree, the Impala is really the car anyone interested in a large sedan should be looking at

          • 0 avatar
            tonycd

            I see a bunch of praise here for the Impala and the first-gen Cruze, and a bunch of criticism for the UAW. I’m having a hard time squaring the two.

            Check out the CR reliability surveys. In initial quality – the part of the quality equation the assembly-line workers have some control over – both models were okay, allowing the appealing design of the cars to shine through. But as they age, both cars deteriorate alarming once they’re out of warranty in years 6 and 7. Most GM products, past and present, do this.

            I’ve heard the argument that’s the UAW’s fault too, because they make GM’s costs too high for management to specify quality parts. I’m not buying it. It goes deeper than that, to a management philosophy all through the organization that this quarter’s profitability is king and the brand damage of premature failure and high depreciation are the next guy’s problem.

            What’s more, GM’s increased sales in trucks aren’t enough to make up for their crushing defeat in cars. Their market share has been contracting for nearly 50 years in the U.S., and it just shrank to zero in Europe. It’s hard to cut enough costs to make up for that.

          • 0 avatar
            TheAnswerIsPolara

            As an owner of a 2012 Avalon, I’m likely that demographic. I really like the Impala. But, my two encounters with GM left me unwilling to pull that trigger again. The fit/finish and overall quality of my ’96 TransAm was so bad that, when the intake manifold cracked while under warranty, the dealer told me, “you gotta work out the kinks in these things”. I responded with, “exactly HOW LONG have you been making that 350?!!!!”.

            Meanwhile, Toyota could have welded the hood shut on our 1995 Camry. And, my 2012 Avalon has lived up to the same reputation.

            Had GM produced today’s Impala back in 1996 with that same quality, I may have owned it.

      • 0 avatar

        That statement means little when the Lacrosse and Impala are being culled and the Altima and Maxima survive.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      Mr. Akear,
      cheap/daily drive/commuter beast? For most people Japanese/Korean; Cute-Ute? It’s a toss-up for most people. Having to haul 4-6 people and/or tow something? American, BOF, V-8. Old Fart luxury? High-end German or Japanese. That’s how most people buy.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      And I don’t think the current Sentra is competitive with a B13 model from the mid 90’s. Nissan is replacing Mitsubishi as the rolling “Look at me, I have a 540 FICO score” billboard. People used to want Nissans. The Z32 Z car, the 4DSC Maximas, B13 SE-R, they offered something more than “LOW LOW FINANCING” for the I have a job and a pulse crowd.

  • avatar
    James2

    My dad had two Taurus wagon company cars, a ’92 and a ’96. The ’92 was OK to drive, the ’96’s steering squealed like a pig. I was actually surprised when he bought the cars for the company, since he had vowed to quit Ford after the mobile dumpster fire that was our ’80 Mustang.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    Two more sad steps down on the American automakers terminal decline.

    • 0 avatar
      CKNSLS Sierra SLT

      A sad decline “whatnext”? Discontinuing products nobody buys? What is “successful” then?

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        Right. They need to built cars nobody wants instead of trucks and utilities that sell well and make money. THAT’S how you’re successful. Force products on consumers instead of catering to their preferences.

        • 0 avatar

          Toyota build the worlds best selling cars and cuv’s and is competitive in trucks and SUVs.

          Report card

          Toyota
          Cars – A
          CUVs – A
          SUVs – B
          Reliability – A (second to only Kia)

          GM
          Cars – C+ (very small product line) B+ 2017
          CUVs – B+
          SUVs – A
          Reliability – B-

          If you break things down into a systematic chart you can see the differences between the two companies.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            Competitive in Trucks? I mean Toyota moves Tacomas but the number is a fraction of what Ford, GM, and Ram do. Tundra is a sad also ran, Frontier dates back to the Bush Administration, And the Titan has been a failure. The D3 have always been good at trucks and larger vehicles. They are simply playing to their strengths here. The crossover is really a return to form for the car. It was the 50’s and 60’s when the sedan came into prominence and frankly it is pretty much the least practical form factor for a vehicle.

        • 0 avatar
          Whatnext

          And yet Japanese automakers are able to do both. And the Koreans offer almost everything except a full size pickup. I can’t seee a scanraio where anyone I know would buy any Big 3 product going forward as none of them have any use for a full size pickup

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            More folks have use for them than they do for sedans. The F series literally sells more than any other vehicle in the world in spite of being primarily a North American product.

            Tastes change. The wagon was the primary people mover. It died. Then the Minivan. Sedans are simply joining them…crossovers are the thing now and likely will be for the foreseeable future.

          • 0 avatar
            brn

            Don’t forget the world’s best selling sports car is also a Ford, the Mustang. 60% of it’s sales were in the US.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    I hope word of the 4 door Mustang comes true. I don’t feel any love for fwd based Taurus. FWD fullsizers are the reason that the segment is ceasing to exist.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      It would have been very interesting if Oshawa got the Zeta based commodore and Ute originally planned for as spoke by Lutz in the late 00’s.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve203

      “I hope word of the 4 door Mustang comes true.”

      The 4 door Stang is real. I saw one in Dearborn last fall. It was heavily camoed, but it was clearly a 4 door and only a Mustang would have such a lumpy, bulgy, body. It was driving up Oakwood, which goes through the Ford Engineering campus, and it was positioned to turn east on Michigan Ave, which would take it to the Ford HQ building.

    • 0 avatar
      EGSE

      Like the Eldorado and Toronado?

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Because 300 and Charger sales arent tanking as well? they’re only kept around because fleets love them and the tooling was paid for before you graduated high school. The same was true of Taurus before additional capacity at the plant its built was needed for vehicles that actually make money.

      Pull your head out, jeeze.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Well, if Ford is in fact building a 4-door “Mustang” then they must believe there is profitability in the RWD liftback/sedan segment somewhere.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        I’d bet half of this country didn’t even know the Taurus was still being made, all of these FWD fullsizers blend into the background without ever being noticed. I actually noticed the Charger/300 because FCA had a platform that they could put interesting engines and paint schemes on/in.

    • 0 avatar
      jatz

      “FWD fullsizers are the reason that the segment is ceasing to exist.”

      Don’t be fooled by complaints about rooflines so low you crack your head entering the car, trunk openings so tiny 2/3rds of the trunk’s capacity is inaccessible, ride heights of a skateboard, or interiors made of black Great Stuff that keep expanding to blind, imprison and crush the breath out of you.

      If they’d just heed our deafening pleas for RWD, all those CUV thingies would instantly be banished back to Satan.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      Mr. Hummer,
      Oh Lordy, YES! A four-door Mustang with a coyote engine, swathed in leather, all the luxury doo-dads and optional all wheel drive. Call it a Mark VII and fight Lexus/Mercedes.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        This guy gets it.^

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        A vehicle as you describe was under development on the new RWD Explorer platform. It had suicide doors and wore Continental badges. It got the ax.

        I think the RWD sedan makes some sense since the platform is built to accommodate it (The Explorer/Aviator platform which IIRC will underpin the next Mustang). Call it a Galaxie or Fairlane or something. I think it would need to sell in lower numbers than something like the Fusion and Taurus do to make sense and again, a car like this is playing to their strengths.

        I doubt it will happen though.

      • 0 avatar
        SPPPP

        Mark VII? That’s not how it works! That car would be a Mark IX.

  • avatar
    Jeff Weimer

    One of the inexplicable design problems with the 1G Cruze 1.4T PCV system is that to fix it requires replacement of the valve cover *and* the intake manifold. There’s a PCV “burst disk” in the valve cover and a small check valve deep in the intake manifold (that’s not replaceable, natch). When the valve cover goes, the check valve is usually the culprit. If you don’t replace the manifold, you’ll have excessive oil consumption, oil-fouled plugs on cylinders 2 and 3, and it will cause the burst disk to fail again.

    There is a homebrew solution to the check valve one of the members of Cruzetalk came up with and everyone seems satisfied with it.

  • avatar
    backtees

    A Fellow car guy and, like myself, a native of the manufacturering deprived South, had an IT related sales call to a GM UAW plant a few years ago. Forgot which one. He could not get over the culture of UAW first, GM second, it was like the factory was UAW and we just happen to be building Buicks.

    I am sure there are tons of good folks on the line to take pride in their work but when the attitude is what is in it for us ahead of the customer or product then a less competitive environment is not far behind. Did you catch that? My point is make the same effort in being lean, making improvements and putting thought into what may help the customer as you do bitching about management and results will follow. I know, I know. There are a ton of boobs in suits who we all are shocked they even have a job but you don’t control that. You control putting together the end product that will sit in my driveway. Give me reason to brag on my Buck, Chevy or Ford cause I don’t care or know what your local is or what plant it came from. BTW my grandad was a 40 year union man and I’ve seen both sides.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      ” a native of the manufacturering deprived South”

      Are you kidding? I don’t know what part of the south you’re from, but I’m from Atlanta, you know the place where they made millions of Tauruses and a few million Mercs, BMWs, Toyotas, Hondas, Volkswagens, Hyundais and Kias within a 150 miles

  • avatar

    As a Taurus historian (joke) I remember that somewhere early 2000s Ford was working on Taurus redesign and it was based on Volvo platform. At least that is what I was told. Then apparently they decided to change name to something that starts with letter “F” – Taurus as a name did not fit that “F”ing paradigm. And then they also decided since it was Taurus no more to make it tall sedan mistakenly thinking that people will buy it because it had SUV like height which of course did not happen because utility part of magic was missing.

    On the other hand the real Taurus should be Fusion because it was directly competing with Camry and Accord. BTW Nissan made the same mistake with Maxima. Maxima was a legend in 80s-90s like true Japanese sport sedan and then for no good reason Nissan made it an ugly pig so it died slow and painful death. It is the matter of time Nissan will pull the plug out on Maxima.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    This isnt the end of the Taurus nameplate. It’s the end of it in this market. I suppose mentioning that a new generation is being sold in a market that still gives a rat’s a$$ about sedans would be too much trouble.

  • avatar
    threeer

    I recall the first Taurus being somewhat of a revelation when it came out. Maybe the poor(er) man’s version of the Audi 100/5000. Later iterations never seemed to quite have the same draw. The last gen was perhaps more overlooked and dismissed than it should have been…

    As for the Cruze. We’ve owned both 1st and 2nd gen, and the differences are startling. Our 1st gen (2016) now resides with our son and his new bride. Solid car. Well-screwed together. My wife absolutely loved the car, and aside from it being an automatic, I was rather fond of it, as well. After we gave it to my son last spring (2018), we really wanted a hatchback (because dogs), so we found a 2017 Cruze HB. Perhaps the worst car ever. I’ve shared on this forum numerous times the plethora o’issues I’ve had the pleasure of dealing with, up to and including having a significant part of the electronics replaced and having the pistons replaced (car has under 36k on it). When I get back from my deployment, there’s a good chance Cruze #2 will be jettisoned.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Speaking of Audi-esque…

      Weirdly one of my colleagues back in 2010 when the current Taurus hit the streets wanted to know what was that “New Ford that looked like an Audi” – she was talking about the latest Taurus.

      I don’t see it. But she’s not the type who could tell an MB from a Genesis. Though she is slowly bringing a late 70s GMC 3/4 ton work truck back to life. (One check at a time)

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      People forget how big a deal the First gen Taurus was. It single handedly dragged the US Auto industry into the modern era. Just hearing the noise the door made when it shut made you take notice…It sounded like a Japanese car.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        The Mercury Sable was the one that looked like it was right out of Back to the Future, minus the Flux Capacitor. That light bar on the front was crazy stuff at the time

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      threeer, the 1986 Ford Taurus was getting compared to Malaise Era domestic cars and import-brand cars that were still a little too small. Cars went through a period of rapid improvement in the late 80s and 90s and the Taurus didn’t keep up. The 1996 round Taurus had weird styling that Ford attempted to correct, but by the 21st century consumers had many better choices in the market segment the Taurus occupied.

      I’ve experienced the Cavalier, Cobalt, and the Cruze as rentals and the Cruze was the only one I’d spend my own money to buy. Competitive, but in a market segment where profit margins are too small for a UAW-built model. I hope it continues to be built in Mexico.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    I’ll be curious to know where this shakes out, with automakers narrowing their focus so they can make some competitive product. Perhaps the need to be a full-line automaker was always a ridiculous notion and that some should focus on small passenger cars, others on trucks, and others on SUVs. Seems to have worked for Jeep, having a narrow focus and creating a well-regarded product (I’ll save reliability questions because I’ve not owned one).

    Why does/did everybody think they need a vehicle for every segment? I get that you want to compete, but if your offering is not up to snuff is that really helping the brand?

  • avatar
    whynotaztec

    I really liked the first Cruze. I had a 15 that was really solid, smooth and quiet even at 75mph. Only leased it for 27k miles so don’t know about the reliability.
    I will miss the sedans as I have never warmed up to CUVs. I am however one of the last dinosaurs driving a single cab long bed pickup so there you go.
    I have had many Accords, and I always wanted to try the new Impala but GM never put good incentives on them, and inventory was always scarce. They look like great deals used but still can’t stand up to Accord leases.

    • 0 avatar
      jatz

      “one of the last dinosaurs driving a single cab long bed pickup”

      All mine but my last one (’04) were. They were the first CUVs:

      Coupe Utility Vehicle

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    RIP Taurus – the SHO was/is on my list for sleeper cars but the looks were never enough to sell me.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Now there’s a confusing headline.


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