The original Taurus was a milestone design for Ford and the entire American automotive industry, as well as a very influential vehicle that brought many new features and innovations to the marketplace. Since its launch in 1986, Ford has sold over 6.7million Tauruses worldwide as of 2007, making it the fifth bestselling North American nameplate in Ford's history; only the F-150, Escort, Model T, and Mustang have sold more units. Between 1992 and 1996, the Taurus was the best-selling car in the United States, eventually losing the title to the Toyota Camry in 1997
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, sales of the Taurus declined as it lost market share to Japanese midsize sedans, and as Ford shifted resources towards developing SUVs. It was discontinued in 2006, with production initially ending on October 27, 2006 and 2007 being the last model year. Rather than investing in an older nameplate, Ford had decided to replace the Taurus with the fullsize Five Hundred and midsize Fusion sedans, as well as replacing the Taurus wagon with the Freestyle crossover SUV.
However, Ford revived the Taurus name a few months later by renaming two new models that were intended to be facelifted versions of the Ford Five Hundred and Ford Freestyle "Taurus" and "Taurus X", respectively.. The all-new 2010 Taurus will become available July 2009.
Main article: First-generation Ford Taurus
The first-generation Taurus was launched in 1985 as a 1986 model to strong fanfare and sales, replacing the slow-selling LTD LX. Upon the Taurus' debut, Ford was producing a range of rear-wheel drive cars, as Chrysler and General Motors offered more front-wheel drive vehicles. With the introduction of the Tempo, Ford had started its own transition to front-wheel drive. The Taurus displayed a rounder shape than its contemporaries, often likened to a 'jelly bean' or 'flying potato', inspired by the design of the Audi 5000 and Ford's own Tempo. The aerodynamic design of the Taurus also made the car more fuel efficient, allowing Ford to meet the more stringent Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards applied by the United States government. The Taurus' success ultimately led to an American automobile design revolution; Chrysler and General Motors developed aerodynamic cars in order to capitalize on the Taurus' success.