TheTaurus, which arguably had an impact on nearly every modern vehicle design, is drawing its last breath, with production set to wind down Friday (Oct. 27) at Ford Motor Co.’s Atlanta Assembly Plant in Hapeville, GA.
“The plan is to end production of Taurus on Friday. There are still variables that can change that, but that’s the plan,” aspokeswoman tells Ward’s, adding that through September the auto maker sold 7.5 million Tauruses in North America, with 6.95 million in the U.S., alone.
Bowing in 1985, the Taurus is credited with helping pull Ford out of one of its darkest periods.
At first, critics knocked the car for its bulbous styling, which stood out alongside boxier vehicles typical of that era. But the Taurus turned into an unqualified success, and many of its styling cues still can be found in today’s vehicles.
By 1992, the Taurus held the distinction of being the top-selling passenger car in the U.S., with 492,751 units delivered that year, according to Ford. The Taurus remained the top seller until 1997, when it relinquished the title to theCamry.
This year, U.S. sales total 183,248 units through September, according to Ward’s data. However, the majority of sales were to rental fleets, an unprofitable market from which Ford and other domestic makers are trying to distance themselves.
The Taurus now ranks eighth on the list of best-selling cars in the U.S.
Some 1,950 workers (140 salaried and 1,800 hourly) will be affected by the closing of the Atlanta plant, a casualty of the auto maker’s ongoing Way Forward North American restructuring plan. Many employees have accepted buyouts and will leave the company, and some will transfer to other facilities, Ford says.
Since it opened in 1947, the 2.8 million-sq.-ft. (260,129-sq.-m) Atlanta Assembly Plant has churned out such iconic vehicles as the Ford Fairlane, Falcon, Fairmont, Torino and Ranchero pickup and Mercury Zephyr and Cougar.
In June, Atlanta was named the most productive assembly plant in the 2006 Harbour Report, at 15.37 hours per vehicle.
The Taurus also was built at Ford’s Chicago Assembly plant until spring 2004.
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