New Taurus Coming Next Year

But will it be the 2009 Taurus or the 2010 Taurus?

By Igor Holas

01.22.2008

The Ford crowd has been buzzing for while with the imminent coming of a brand-new Taurus, and after some initial offhand comments last year, and a frank admission yesterday, from Mulally himself, we now know it is indeed coming. In the summer of 2007 Mulally confessed he had seen the new Taurus and that it made his “eyes water.” Yesterday, Mulally added oil to the fire by stating the new Taurus is coming next year.

Design
The car will be much more attractive than the outgoing model. The car will be a child of designer Freeman Thomas. This is the guy responsible for the Interceptor concept (and previously, the Chrysler 300, and Audi TT). Given the choice of designer, and the design themes shown recently by Thomas, it is not unreasonable to assume the Interceptor was a preview of the Taurus styling.

Going RWD?
The big unknown is which platform will underpin the new car. Originally, it was a given that the new Taurus will ride on “D32”, the new architecture that debuted with the Lincoln MKS. The D32 originated from the D3 on which the Taurus rides now, but was substantially reworked: it was made smoother, stronger, and more responsive. The D32 platform was developed as a Lincoln platform and the original plan was for Ford was to use a slightly cheaper version for its models.

Recently, however, insiders have been mentioning a rear-drive Taurus more and more prominently. This came as a bit of a surprise to many Ford observers. First, the Taurus heritage is quite tame and family friendly; not the best canvas in the past for a performance-oriented large sedan. Insiders have pointed out that the D3 and D32 platforms can be modified for RWD, but given the FWD nature of MKS, this still seemed too good to be true, and simply unlikely. Ford is also working on the new global RWD platform, but that architecture seems to be still at least two years away.

At this point, no one at Ford is speaking aloud about the underpinnings of the new Taurus, and it is quite possible that the RWD chatter concerns the next generation of this vehicle – the one probably debuting around 2014.

EcoBoost and Hybrid
One thing that is a given is the engine. The 3.5l V6 from the current Taurus will carry over without any changes, and so will the six-speed automatic transmission. The newly introduced 3.5l EcoBoost engine will also be offered, and finally, if Ford plays its cards right, a new 2.0l I4 EcoBoost developing 275 horses and foot-pounds and a 3.5l V6-based full-hybrid will be there to round up the engine offerings.

Revealed in Three Weeks?
We left the best for last. Inside information is pointing to Ford revealing the new Taurus in Chicago Auto Show in less than three weeks. Ford has not told us anything yet, and we do not know yet whether what we see will be a concept or a production vehicle, but the chance is pretty good that we will not have to wait too long to see the new car.

Correction: The designer of the Interceptor is Freeman Thomas, not Friedman and not Thomas Freeman (we seem to be having a brain freeze with poor Mr. Thomas’ name) – we apologize mightily for the errors and the correction has been made. We will now proof everything with Mr. Thomas’s name in it a dozen times or more in the future.

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Author: Brendan Moore

Brendan Moore is a Principal Consultant with Cedar Point Consulting , a management consulting practice based in the Washington, DC area. He also manages Autosavant Consulting, a separate practice within Cedar Point Consulting. where he advises businesses connected to the auto industry. Cedar Point Consulting can be found at http://www.cedarpointconsulting.com.

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15 Comments

  1. Lots of nameplates then GM used for RWD models in the past and present are re-used for FWD (Impala, Century, Malibu, Regal, Grand Prix, Monte Carlo). Chrysler used once a similar path with the New Yorker, 300, Charger (they used once for L-body variant of the Omni 024 2-door hatchback) and LeBaron nameplates. Toyota and Nissan did this as well with the Corolla, Celica and Maxima who beginned their career as RWD. (also the 200SX moniker was revived briefly for a FWD 2-door sedan version of the Sentra in the mid-1990s).

    If the scenario of a RWD Taurus materialize. It could be interesting to see a reverse trend of nameplates used for FWD models going to RWD models. Could we begin to dream of a next-gen RWD Honda Accord?(a RWD Acura is more plausible however) I know I dream in color but who knows 😉

  2. Ford have a existing RWD platform in Australia (Ford Falcon) that will be mated to the same 3.5L V6 and 6 speed transmission as in the Taurus when the new model Falcon is released later this year….

  3. Is this anything but rampant speculation or is this a highly educated guess?

  4. iou $10

    I never write articles on “rampant speculation” – the very least this is an educated guess. But the thing is, I would have never guessed this – it is out of line with my idea of Ford’s direction. This is based on leak from inside Ford that has actually caught me a little off guard.

    Igor

  5. Its not far-fetched that the Taurus would go RWD, but I don’t think that will happen, what I think is that we’ll see a very attractive FWD/AWD car that is WAAAY ahead of the current car in looks, performance and appeal. I cannot wait to see it and I hope there is SHO version the very first model year.

  6. I may be reading too much into this BUT:

    The current Taurus is assembled in Chicago, which could be a reason to debut a new Taurus on the D3.2 platform at the Chicago Auto Show versus Detroit (assuming the car would still be assembled there). The midcycle update Five Hundred debuted in 2007 at Detroit, but was renamed Taurus at Chicago just weeks later.

    The Falcon-Taurus connection is a possibility and Falcon mules were spotted in/around Dearborn. The timing would also be “right” with the planned demise of the Crown Vic et al.

    However, given the investment Ford made in the D3.2 platform, I can’t see them limiting the use to only the Flex, MKS and MKT.

  7. There is already word that the SHO will return around 2010 or so. I believe that there WILL be a RWD Taurus in the near future.

    With Crown Victoria likely departing around 2012, there will be a need to have a model that will step up to the plate and take on the police market as well as the large car market for civilians.

    With the current problems with Camry, I also don’t see Camry remaining at the top for much longer. Toyoder is slipping drastically in the quality department, and it’s time for someone else (Ford) to take back the lead.

  8. Te Malibu is now a better car overall than the Camry. So is the Honda Accord and Mazda6. If the new Taurus is also better, then Camry’s position as the top dog in that segment will contine to erode bit by bit.

  9. r tajit. I agree with you completely about the Camry. It will decline in market share the next few years.

  10. The designer in question is “Freeman Thomas”, by the way; not Thomas Friedman or Thomas Freeman.

  11. I bet Mr. Holas will remember his name from now on…

  12. Imagine the Taurus SHO with 450 HP and AWD? I can.

  13. does the six speed transmission continue the proud taurus tradition of being unrelentingly terrible?

  14. How can the next Taurus possibly be worse then what we’ve suffered through lately in Taurus-ville?

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