Ford Adds Luxury And Refinement To Taurus Sedan And Wagon For 2003
Ford is introducing two distinctive new interior packages for the 2003 Ford Taurus, investing in numerous comfort, convenience and manufacturing refinements, and introducing a new national advertising campaign to help keep sales strong.
“The reputation of Taurus is founded on safety, comfort, value and reliability, and over time we’ve consistently improved the car in every one of these areas,” said Steve Lyons, Ford Division president. “That’s what has kept Taurus selling strongly, even as the light truck market boomed, and as new brands and nameplates entered the U.S. market.”
“We’ve never stopped improving Taurus, and the car’s new interiors are only the latest step forward,” adds Joe Castelli, Ford Car marketing manager. “We’re stepping up our Taurus marketing programs to get these messages out to our customers.”
Since it was introduced in 1985 as a 1986 model, Taurus sales have averaged about 357,500 units every year, and the car line recently surpassed six million units in total sales. Taurus remains one of the 10 best-selling vehicles – car or truck – in the United States, with year-to-date sales of 275,279 units through October.
New 2003 Taurus design features and options include:
An optional Woodgrain package that includes a real wood and leather-trimmed steering wheel and a faux wood shift knob accent
An optional Sport sedan package that includes 5-spoke 16-inch aluminum sport wheels, leather-wrapped steering wheel, two-tone cloth sport seats, a rear deck lid spoiler and a pewter-brush finish on the instrument panel and console
New richer-looking seat fabrics, which are available in midnight black, two-tone parchment and two-tone graphite cloth
New seat leathers are available, including soft, premium Imola leather, which is available in monochromatic midnight black, two-tone parchment or two-tone graphite
An available monochromatic midnight graphite interior is now offered and the available two-tone parchment interior now uses lighter shades to make the cabin feel brighter and airier; on some models, the instrument clusters are color-keyed to the interior
The interior upgrades complement the functional upgrades and manufacturing process improvements that make the car quieter, more refined and help improve quality:
Overall noise levels in the cabin are substantially reduced thanks to improved cabin sealing against wind and road noise
A 30 percent power increase for the rear defroster results in noticeably faster clearing of snow, condensation and ice
New front brake pad materials help reduce noise. In addition, new equipment at the two plants that build Taurus helps improve brake pedal feel by ensuring consistent evacuation and fill of the brake system during assembly
Taurus design and manufacturing improvements are ongoing, with Consumer-Driven Six Sigma teams focused on areas with high leverage for customer satisfaction, including wind noise reduction, paint quality, powertrain performance, cabin heating and cooling system performance and other areas.
The Taurus Customer
Ford sells more Taurus sedans and wagons to individuals - about 50 percent of total sales - than do its closest competitors from GM and Chrysler, the Chevrolet Impala and Dodge Intrepid, according to R.L. Polk & Co. Taurus sales to individuals also surpass total sales for several competitors, including Volkwagen Passat, Nissan Maxima, and Pontiac Grand Prix.
“We expect all of the improvements we made for 2003, and the improvements we have planned for the future, will help sustain our sales, particularly to individuals,” says Chris Roe, Taurus marketing manager.
The Taurus customer base is very diverse1:
The average age of a Ford Taurus customer is 52 years, which compares favorably with leading competitors, including the Toyota Avalon (57 years), Toyota Camry (51 years) and Chevrolet Impala (53 years)
An almost equal number of Taurus and Camry owners – roughly 17 percent – are 35 years-old or younger compared with only 14 percent for Impala and less than five percent for Avalon
About 42 percent of Taurus customers are women – seven percentage points more than Impala and four points better than Avalon
Ford customer research shows that Taurus has significantly increased its sales to buyers under age 40 since 1997, posting a seven-point improvement to 27 percent of sales.
Taurus is available in two body styles: a four-door sedan that seats five or six passengers and a four-door, seven-or eight-passenger station wagon. The sedan is available in four trim series: LX, SE, SES and top-of-the-line SEL. The mid-range SE and SES are the most popular series with individual consumers.
Taurus prices begin at $19,990. All models include V-6 power, a four-speed automatic transmission, Ford’s Personal Safety System™, air conditioning and many other features. The base price of the Taurus SES with the Sport package ($290) is $22,120. Taurus SES standard features include anti-lock brakes, remote keyless entry, security approach lamps built into the side mirrors, AM/FM stereo with single CD player, air conditioning and a power driver’s seat.
The Taurus SEL with the wood package ($190) is priced at $23,920. Taurus SEL includes all of the Taurus SES equipment, as well as a 200-horsepower Duratec 3.0-liter V-6 engine, real-looking dark Paldeo wood appliqués for the console, instrument panel and door trim, perimeter anti-theft system, electronic automatic temperature control, six-disc CD changer, keyless entry keypad, power-adjustable brake and accelerator pedals, automatic on/off headlamps and more.
All prices are manufacturer’s suggested retail pricing (MSRP). The base vehicle price includes a $650 destination charge and excludes taxes, title and license fees.
Current national Taurus retail incentives, available through Jan. 6, 2003, include $2,000 customer cash back, or zero percent financing through Ford Credit for 36 months. Interest rates for 48-month loans are 1.9 percent and 2.9 percent for 60-month loans.
The new advertising campaign, which invites consumers who haven’t looked at Taurus closely to “look again,” debuted Nov. 16 and will continue into early 2003. It will include a mix of national television, magazine and Internet placements.
1 Source: J.D Power and Associates’ Power Information Network 2002 model year research