Last month, Ford Motor Co. debuted a newly designed Taurus during the Shanghai Auto Show, a model that will be targeted primarily for the Chinese market where there is a growing demand among Chinese buyers for larger sedans, a much different circumstance than in the United States.
Sedans like the Ford Taurus are not as popular among American drivers as the demand has hibernated amid a consumer transition to roomier, utilitarian crossover vehicles. The market in China for larger sedans has surpassed the U.S., with sales in China at around 4 million against American sales of 3.6, according to IHS Automotive research firm.
ISH also predicts that Chinese sales will reach 5.3 million against 3.7 million in the U.S. by 2020. In the meantime, Ford has not commented about the future of the Taurus in America as it continues its focus in China.
Land of the rising sales
In China, Ford is focusing on the recreated Taurus towards business people and entrepreneurs who want a sedan with plenty of room in the back row and a more conservative design. The Taurus will be assembled in Hangzhou, China, with one of Ford’s local partners in Chongqing Changan Automobile.
Despite the demand for sedans growing there, the Taurus is not expected to be a volume leader in China. But the future for the sedan market seems to be outside the U.S. for Ford and other auto makers. Large sedans currently account for 3 percent of the total U.S. car and light truck market, which is down 12 percent from 2000, according to Erich Merkle – a sales analyst for Ford.
The unveiling of the newly designed Ford Taurus was held during a media event on April 18 ahead of the Shanghai Auto Show.
A trendsetter loses its luster
Back in the U.S., the Ford Taurus has seen a decline in sales by more than 20 percent in 2014 and were down almost 28 percent during the first three months of 2015, according to figures compiled by the Autodata Group – a publisher of automotive aftermarket information.
The hope is that Ford will see the Taurus flourish in a new market to build on the vehicle’s legacy that originated in 1985 in America, a model that shook up the American automotive industry with a modernized, aerodynamic styling. It was initially ridiculed by Ford’s rivals, but the Taurus turned out to be a popular choice.
This led General Motors and Chrysler to follow Ford y rounding off the corners of their box-shaped cars. For the years that followed through the mid-1990s, the Taurus was one of the highest-selling vehicles in the country before the concept was given a facelift of sorts in 1997 with Toyota Motor Corporation’s answer – the Camry.
Luckily for Ford, their F-series pickup trucks have continued to be one of the top-rated models in the U.S. But Ford decided to retire the Taurus in the U.S. in 2006 due to decreased sales figures, but it was revived a year later by chief executive officer Alan Mulally.