AN ALL-NEW Ford Taurus, a potential Ford Falcon replacement, has been revealed ahead of today's Shanghai motor show in China.
The Taurus will be built in China specifically for the Chinese market. However, its design – overseen by Australian Todd Willing, who gave us the stunning modern-day Ford GT at January’s Detroit motor show – may well be a carbon-copy of a large sedan destined to replace the Falcon in 2016.
Wheels caught the Taurus testing in Australia late last year, with its larger-car proportions including a 2.95m wheelbase and 5.0-metre overall length evident, with the show car riding on 19-inch alloy wheels. That makes it even bigger than the current, and last, FGX Falcon, which sits on a 2838mm wheelbase with a 4949mm length.
“We wanted to create a vehicle that displays a maturity of design with balanced and harmonious proportions, tailored to the business customer in China,” said Willing, Ford's Asia Pacific design director and exterior designer for the Ford Taurus.
The new Taurus carries Ford's signature trapezoidal front grille, similar to the FGX Falcon’s, and elongated headlamps in step with the One Ford Kinetic design language that is now prolific across the global line-up, and also worn on the facelifted Ford Focus that will sit alongside the Taurus at the Shanghai show.
Falcon production will end once Ford's Australian manufacturing operations close late next year, with rumours of an earlier end dismissed by new local boss, Graeme Whickman, in an interview with Wheels. Ford is still likely to replace the rear-drive Falcon, despite the recently released front-drive Ford Mondeo, an impressive all-new hatch and wagon offering, having similar interior space.
The Taurus and Falcon have led somewhat parallel lives in the last decade: both were once top-selling cars, with the Taurus dominating the US market in the mid-1990s around the same time as the Falcon's last stint at the top Down Under. Both have since suffered significant sales declines, with the Taurus name dropped in 2006 before then-new Ford global boss, Alan Mulally, resurrected the badge in 2007. Despite this, Taurus sales in the US are still a long way off the model’s previous success, with a 28 percent sales slump in the first quarter of 2015 alone.
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