Posted: 06/22/07 09:16 AM
CHICAGO , Ill. , June 22, 2007 – Ford Motor Company today delivers on its offer to deliver more products that customers really want as it celebrates production of the new 2008 Ford Taurus sedan, Taurus X crossover and Mercury Sable sedan with employees at its Chicago Assembly Plant.
The new Ford Taurus, which has just started arriving in dealer showrooms, offers a distinctive look inspired by the successful Ford Fusion and Ford Edge, as well as a powerful 263-horsepower engine. The new sedan also has earned two important safety designations: "Top Safety Pick" from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's five-star ratings in all crash test categories.
"For more than 20 years, America's favorite car was built right here in Chicago and consistently won customers' hearts and minds," said Alan Mulally, president and CEO, Ford Motor Company.
"Now Taurus is home again, offering another example of how Ford is delivering vehicles that customers really want – with a bold design, more technology and outstanding safety performance," he told approximately 1,000 employees, Ford and Lincoln Mercury dealers, state and local officials and UAW leaders.
To support the new vehicle launch, Ford invested $70 million in Chicago Assembly for a "rough road" test track as well as new equipment, tooling and ergonomic improvements. Additionally, the company spent $50 million at Chicago Stamping Plant for new dies to support sheet metal changes on the trio of vehicles.
These investments are important for winning customers who want sedans or crossovers that offer even better performance, safety and design, said Mark Fields, president of The Americas, Ford Motor Company.
"Taurus is one of America's most storied nameplates," he said. "Nearly 7 million Ford Taurus sedans have been built since 1985, and half of those are still on the road today. The team at Chicago Assembly is working hard to deliver a whole new generation of vehicles that moves people both physically and emotionally."
Sentiment is a key part of the Taurus marketing strategy, which is driven by the vehicle's safety performance and the nameplate's long-standing position as a family sedan.
Fields showed the Chicago work force a new Taurus television ad, which began airing Monday. During the spot, a father watches his son grow from learning to ride a bicycle to getting behind the wheel of his first car. Meanwhile, a voiceover reminds viewers: "We're the car company with more five-star crash test ratings than anybody in the country."
"The new Taurus is rated the safest full-size car in America," Fields said. "We're building safety into the vehicle, and we want to make sure America knows it."
The new Taurus boasts other strengths as well. With a starting price under $24,000, Taurus is priced thousands less than other sedans, including Toyota Avalon and Chrysler 300. In addition, Taurus residuals are as much as 10 points higher than its domestic competitors and match the best scores of the Japanese sedans.
Under the hood, the all-new PZEV-certified 3.5 liter V-6 delivers 30 percent more horsepower and mates to a new, smoother-shifting 6-speed transmission. All-wheel drive also is available.
The Ford Sync communications system, which will be introduced in Taurus this fall, will help meet customers' growing demands for convenience features.
Chicago Assembly Plant Manager Anthony Hoskins believes a strong launch and build quality will only add to the vehicles' customer appeal.
"Our workforce understands the importance of these vehicles in the Ford Motor Company lineup, and we're proud to be the team to build them," Hoskins said.
Chicago Assembly Plant opened in 1924. It has 2,277 employees. Over the years, a series of 14 major expansions have seen the plant grow from 640,000 square feet to 2.8 million square feet. The plant became a flexible manufacturing site in 2004, when it was retooled for the launch of the 2005 Ford Five Hundred and Mercury Montego.