QOTD: The Right Stuff at the Right Time?

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis

In our question of the day post last Wednesday, we asked you to submit the vehicles that left you wondering what the manufacturers behind them were thinking. Today, we’ll take the opposite tack and focus our attention on the automotive products which came along at exactly the right time.

My selection today was an example of great innovation at its debut. So influential was this new model that it changed the landscape of the segment in which it competed. Just have a look at this aerodynamic beauty:

I selected a picture of the Mercury Sable in particular, because I like the light bar at the front and how it’s slightly more upscale than its Taurus sibling.

Ford began the development of its own new lineup of sedans and wagons in 1981. At the time, the American family car landscape was a bleak one: Leftovers from the Malaise Era, inefficient in their design and questionable in their materials, roamed the country as they rusted rapidly. Consumers wanted front-wheel drive, modern designs which were kinder to the eyes and the fuel economy figures that came with.

Think about what the Taurus replaced. Just have a look:

The midsize Ford LTD originated on the Fox platform for 1983, replacing the Granada. Taurus was a revolutionary step forward, and it existed with its grandfather on dealer lots for only the 1986 model year. The Taurus caught other domestic automakers by surprise when Ford pitted it against entries like the Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera or the K-car Chrysler Town and Country wagon. On sale at the end of 1985, the Taurus and Sable were instant sales success stories. Originally available with four or six cylinders and manual and automatic transmissions, consumers and fleet companies alike threw their money at Ford. General Motors and Chrysler were left with surprised faces and some product development to do. Advantage: Taurus.

Let’s hear your selections for right product, right time.

[Images: Chrysler, Ford]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.

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  • Schmitt trigger Schmitt trigger on Nov 20, 2019

    Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40. Don't require to add anything else.

  • B-BodyBuick84 B-BodyBuick84 on Nov 21, 2019

    1982 A-body Century and Ciera, proved GM could make competent FWD cars that sold by the boatload. I'd also honestly say the Ford Fairmont- first of the fox body platform, and pretty much the sole reason Ford didn't go bankrupt along with Chrysler in the 70's.

  • Rust-MyEnemy Whoa, what the hell is wrong with Jalop1991 and his condescension? It's as if he's employed by Big Plug-In or something."I've seen plenty of your types on the forums....."Dunno what that means, but I'm not dead keen on being regarded as "A type" by a complete stranger"" I'm guessing you've never actually calculated by hand the miles you've driven against the quantity of gas used--which is your actual miles per gallon."Guess again. Why the hell would you even say that? Yes, I worked it out. Fill-to-fill, based on gas station receipts. And it showed me that a Vauxhall Astra PHEV, starting out with a fully charged PHEV battery, in Hybrid mode, on my long (234-mile) daily motorway daily commute, never, over several months, ever matched or beat the economy of the regular hybrid Honda Civic that I ran for a similar amount of time (circa 5000 miles)."You don't use gasoline at all for 30-40 miles as you use exclusively battery power, then your vehicle is a pure hybrid. Over 234 miles, you will have used whatever gas the engine used for 200 of those miles."At least you're right on that. In hybrid mode, though, the Astra was using battery power when it wasn't at all appropriate. The petrol engine very rarely chimed in when battery power was on tap, and as a result, the EV-mode range quickly disappeared. The regular hybrid Civic, though, deployed its very small electric reserves (which are used up quickly but restore themselves promptly), much more wisely. Such as when on a trailing throttle or on a downward grade, or when in stop-start traffic. As a result, at the end of my 234 miles, the Civic had used less gas than the Astra. Moreover, I hadn't had to pay for the electricity in its battery.I look forward to you arguing that what actually happened isn't what actually happened, but I was there and you were not."Regardless, that you don't understand it appears not to have stopped you from pontificating on it. Please, do us all a favor--don't vote."You really are quite unpleasant, aren't you. But thanks for the advice.
  • Tassos Jong-iL Electric vehicles are mandated by 2020 in One Korea. We are ahead of the time.
  • 1995_SC Can you still get some of the tax credits under the new program?
  • Analoggrotto HyundaiGenesisKia saw this coming a long time ago and are poised for hybrid and plug-in hybrid segment leadership:[list=1][*] The most extensive range of hybrids[/*][*]Highest hybrid sales proportion over any other model [/*][*]Best YouTube reviews [/*][*]Highest number of consumer reports best picks [/*][*]Class leading ATPs among all hybrid vehicles and PHEVs enjoy segment bearing eATPs[/*][/list=1]While some brands like Toyota have invested and wasted untold fortunes into full range electric lineups HyundaiKiaGenesis has taken the right approach here.
  • EBFlex The answer is yes. Anyone that says no is just….. wrong.But the government doesn’t want people to have that much freedom and the politicians aren’t making money off PHEVs or HEVs. So they will be stifled.