Ford in the US has unveiled details of an upcoming family sedan which revives the mid-60s Galaxie 500 name (without the Galaxie part and spelled out) and sits front seat occupants high in the car, 4WD-style.
The Ford Five-Hundred itself is still in development, but Ford released an artists' impression (pictured) and showed a video about it to assembled journalists at this week's New York Auto Show. The car is due for release in 2004.
At the video screening, Ford's people denied that the five-seater is the replacement for the Taurus, which bombed during its brief onsale period in Australia and is slipping in popularity in the US.
Instead, Ford is saying the Five-Hundred will be priced above the Taurus to take on the likes of Nissan's Maxima and Toyota's Avalon. And, Ford says, it will create a new market niche in the process.
That market niche will be for vehicles which combine passenger car styling with the interior room and elevated "command of the road" seating of an SUV. In the case of the Five-Hundred, Ford says front seat occupants will sit between 50mm and 100mm higher than in a conventional family car.
Ford will start building the Five-Hundred in the second quarter of 2004 at the same Chicago plant that will produce the CrossTrainer, a new "lifestyle" vehicle that, again, will combine elements of a sedan and an SUV.
The Chicago plant is one of two plants that built the Taurus and its twin, the Mercury Sable. Ford recently announced that only the plant in suburban Atlanta will continue producing the Taurus twins – leading to speculation that the Taurus, once the best-selling car in America, would be killed off.