Fords Bull: Ready to Rumble

By: Lauren Woods

Automotive trend these days reflects bountiful change of names. Such trend did not skip Ford Five Hundred, a slow-selling sedan of the automaker. The Five Hundred will now be using the more appealing, as the automaker claims, Taurus name.

Ford Taurus, a midsize front wheel drive car introduced in 1985, was a milestone design for both the automaker and the automotive industry. In fact, the car was deemed an influential car in its time. During the 20 years of production, Ford sold about 7.5 million Tauruses; the remarkable demand made it a top-selling car for years. Unfortunately, it lost its best-seller status when Toyota Camry embraced the limelight in 1997.

According to Alan Mulally, CEO Ford, the company's previous scheme to make all its cars names start with the letter F was a bad move, as it made new cars easily forgettable. As such, the exec wanted to revive some famous and respected nameplates for its new lineup - and Taurus was one of the most potent names. This year, along with the redesigned Five Hundred, is its use of a not-so-new bull name. Critics in the industry said that Mulally has great interest in the Taurus name hence; they are not surprised when the automaker decided to bring the name back from its popular grave.

Numerous changes to the new Taurus from the current Five Hundred were entertained by Ford to bring out utmost capabilities and functions. As a fact, the automaker flaunts more than 500 engineering changes featured in the new Taurus. Said changes include a prominent new front end, addition of 3.5 L Cyclone engine from the Ford Edge, replacement of the CVT transmission, integration of Ford Sync, and a lot more.

To increase its power and performance by 30 percent from its previous engine, Ford also added the 3.5-liter Duratec V-6 that generates an estimated 260 horsepower and 245 pound-feet of torque. It is mated to the same smooth shifting, six-speed automatic transmission as well as to the standard electronic stability control to provide better handling and confident ride in all weather conditions. The efficiency is likened to that of an .

Ford Sync also delivers higher levels of communication and entertainment sophistication that spell simplicity, control, connection and personalization of electronic devices like mobile phones and MP3 players.

The significant changes were adopted to produce a more distinctive, safer, quieter and faster Taurus. Highlights of the new Taurus include stunning exterior styling and more standard safety features and structural upgrades to further improve car occupants' crash protection.

Safety features include the automaker's AdvanceTrac electronic stability control system that predicts the vehicle's intentions utilizing a sensor to sense and gauge oversteer and yaw by monitoring the vehicle's speed, steering wheel angle and throttle position. When the system senses wheel slip, engine torque is decreased and braking is applied where needed. This is done to help keep the car tracking safely.

"Customers will find the 2008 Taurus delivers more of what they are looking for, including a strong design, high-quality interior, power and performance, must-have features like Ford Sync and a great safety reputation," said Cisco Codina, Ford's group vice president, Marketing, Sales and Service.

Taurus will arrive in showrooms this summer. The old name is set free to rekindle that old flame in Taurus aficionados as well as to tickle the fancies of potential Ford customers.

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