DETROIT â The new â10 Taurus is a âbig improvementâ over the outgoing model, which has suffered poor sales since its launch as the Five Hundred in 2005, saysMotor Co.âs design chief.
âIâve taken my knocks on the current car for three long, long years,â J Mays, group vice president and chief creative officer, tells Wardâs at the North American International Auto Show here. âAnd I was hell bent (the â10 Taurus) was going to have design leadership.â
Mays says the current Taurus is too conservative, likening the vehicle to a beautifully tailored Brooks Brothers suit.
âThere is nothing wrong with a Brooks Brothers suit, but we wanted something more stylish than that with the new vehicle.â
Mays says the original Taurus, launched in 1986, did not inspire the design of the new sedan, noting the former was a âfamilyâ car while the latter is a âhedonistic, driver-orientedâ vehicle.
Although there is fierce competition in the D-segment, where the new Taurus resides, Mays is confident the car has the right combination of looks and performance to take on all comers.
âI think itâs going to stack up brilliantly,â he says. âI think weâve got a really adventurous, dynamic exterior design that sits well on the road and is sporty and courageous for its segment.â
Mays vowsintends to stay away from the âme-tooâ designs that it has offered in the past.
âThe thing Iâm insisting on with every new product we design is polarization,â he says. âI donât want any more middle-of-the-road products.â
Fordâs design team has benefited since CEO Alan Mulally joined the company and implemented his âOne-Fordâ strategy, which calls on the auto maker to leverage its global assets, Mays says.
âGlobalization is driving a friendly competition that is improving designs on both sides of the Atlantic,â he says, noting he routinely transfers designers to different regions of the world in order to give them fresh perspectives.
âWhat weâre looking for is the best designs in the world, and we donât care where they come from,â Mays says, adding there will always be a place for localized products that can only be sold in certain markets.
âThe Ford Mustang is the perfect example of a localized product.â