It’s a bad news day if you’re a lover of traditional passenger cars, but surely you’ve grown used to this thing by now. As automakers, especially domestic ones, cast a critical eye on their lineups, many models without rear liftgates will inevitably fall victim to the quest for greater profit.
We brought you a report of the Chevrolet Sonic’s impending demise earlier today, but now it’s time to turn from GM to Ford. The same report, drawing on sources with knowledge of the company’s product plans, says the storied Taurus nameplate is not long for this world. Imagine dropping this bombshell on someone in the late 1980s.
Nowadays, you’d likely be greeted with, “They still make the Taurus?”
The Wall Street Journal cites sources claiming Fiesta production will cease for American consumers this year. That’s no shock, as this continent didn’t get the next-generation Fiesta that debuted in Europe in late 2016. The Fiesta was a dead subcompact walking. Erm, driving. A Ford exec admitted as much in Romania last summer, though the U.S. eventually saw a carryover 2018 model.
These same sources claim Ford has decided to discontinue the Taurus, but did not provide a timeline for its departure. If confirmed, this means the current, aging generation will be the model’s last. It also means the end of the Ford Police Interceptor Sedan — a variant that’s quickly being replaced by the Explorer-based Interceptor Utility.
Built at Ford’s troubled Chicago Assembly plant, today’s Taurus is better known to fleet customers than retail buyers. It wasn’t always that way. In the decade following its 1986 model year introduction, the Taurus was a domestic sales juggernaut, providing the likes of the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry with real competition. When its spaceship styling gave way to the ovoid monstrosity of 1996, sales began a slow, sad descent. Still, U.S. sales crested the 300,000 mark in 2005 (much of that being fleet buys).
The Taurus withered on the vine, ceasing production in 2006. Newly minted Ford CEO Alan Mulally couldn’t stomach it, however, and resurrected the model nameplate soon after, affixing it to the former full-size Five Hundred.
The sixth-generation Taurus bowed for the 2010 model year, with a refresh arriving for 2013. Since reaching a current-generation U.S. sales high of 74,375 units in 2013, Taurus popularity waned to 41,236 sales last year. In March, civilian Taurus sales fell 36.3 percent, year over year. Over the first three months of 2018, Taurus volume fell 29.5 percent.
Crushed by this report? The news isn’t all bad — the same WSJ sources claim Ford hasn’t yet reached a decision on what to do with the endangered Fusion, which sees the most minor of refreshes for the 2019 model year. A reprieve is possible.
a version of this article first appeared on The Truth About Cars