Ford is attempting to shed the Taurus' image as a boring '80s family sedan. Sure, "value" and "quality" will still be part of the brand, but the new 2010 Taurus will emphasize technology and design -- or, to put it more bluntly, testosterone. And it will appropriately target a primarily male audience, in part on pre-game football TV shows and sites such as ESPN.com.
The new Taurus driver, said Mike Crowley, Ford's marketing manager for large cars and SUVs, at the model's marketing launch held this morning, "is driving it every day as a personal reward." The revitalized Ford flagship brand aspires to be more than just functional; it wants to be "bold," "something [drivers] look good in" and "fun," Mr. Crowley said.
Imagine that. A car that looks good and is fun. (Despite the hyperbole, it's probably no coincidence that that very formula is what's been differentiating Ford from GM and Chrysler. That and not declaring bankruptcy and turning to taxpayers for a bailout.)
So will the formerly emasculating brand accomplish this goal?
Based on the new creative, which stresses Taurus' leather interior, sleek contours and "the world's first 365-HP twin-turbo direct-injection V6" (whatever that is), it definitely has a chance. The only thing missing from the new print ads is, well, Kate Walsh.
Just don't remind the Taurus man of the car seat and empty juice boxes in the back seat.