linked in facebook twitter rss

  • Interbrand
  • Brandchannel

your chance!
your chance!
Ford Taurus
Also of interest...
Readers' Choice Awards 2006!
 

Ford Taurus - dead bull?


  Ford Taurus
dead bull?
by Renée Alexander
July 2, 2007

With the relaunch of Taurus earlier this year, the Ford Motor Company proved brands have one attribute that humans don't—the ability to come back from the dead.
 
 

The venerable automaker reintroduced Taurus to the market in February, slightly more than three months after the last of what was once America's best-selling vehicle rolled off the assembly lines.

But it wasn't as simple as hitting "restart" at its Chicago and Atlanta plants, because the new Taurus wasn't the old Taurus—it was actually an upgraded Ford Five Hundred.

Jonathan Richards, Taurus's marketing manager, says the change was made to bring the well-known and respected brand back to the market.

"The Taurus brand in the Ford stable is [in terms of name recognition] just behind the F-150 and the Mustang, which are vibrant, growing brands in the US," he says. "They do exceptionally well and dominate their segments. In bringing back Taurus, we're bringing back a brand with that type of strength and awareness to the car-buying public."

Richards says the new Taurus—the 2008 model will hit dealership lots this fall—delivers on all the tenets that are core to the Taurus brand—safety, value, performance, fuel economy, and comfort.

"It's like painting a bull's-eye on the Taurus brand. We can introduce this new product that delivers on all of this in a relevant way," he says.

It also features some significant upgrades, including a new powertrain with 60 additional horsepower, a new all-wheel drive system, and standard electronic stability control. Richards says retiring the old Taurus family sedan gave Ford the opportunity to reinvent it.

"The Five Hundred, while a wonderful product and a very good brand, never achieved the awareness that was necessary for the brand to do very well in the marketplace," he says. "Where the Taurus excels is in brand recognition. That's something most marketers covet. It is such a valued commodity. Awareness is absolutely critical," he says.

Richards calls Taurus's current situation "a perfect storm" as it's the right brand with the right product that will soon be accompanied by the right marketing campaign.

"Our goal is to completely reinvent [the Taurus] and make it more relevant from a marketing standpoint," he notes. "It wasn't the ultimate equation [before, with the Five Hundred]. When you get into a situation, you look at the alternatives. This one is the perfect jigsaw puzzle of product and brand."

"When we ask consumers what they think of when they think of Ford, they say the F-150, Mustang, and Taurus. What they have in their heads is the old Taurus—we want them to have the new Taurus."

Derrick Coupland, a partner at Blacksheep Strategy, a Winnipeg, Canada-based branding strategy company, says it's possible owners of the old Taurus, who have aged and quite possibly moved up in income brackets since their original purchase, will be attracted to the new, higher-priced version.

But he thinks many customers will be confused by the changes and will have difficulty learning the new nameplates quickly.

He says from a branding standpoint, he would have recommended Ford rename its Fusion product Taurus because that car competes in the same segment as the old Taurus against the likes of the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry.

"Now the Five Hundred is carrying the Taurus nameplate and competing in an upscale market," he says. "[The car] is bigger [and] more expensive, and competes with a different set of cars. The marketplace has to relearn that."

"There will be Five Hundreds and Tauruses driving around at the same time that are effectively the same car. It's confusing."

Richards says Taurus, which was first produced for the 1986 model year, had a five-year run in the early to mid-1990s of being the best-selling vehicle in the US. Of the approximately 7.5 million of them produced over the following two-plus decades, nearly half (3.5 million) are still on the road today.

Ford wasn't finished with Taurus name changes in February. The company also introduced Taurus X, a crossover vehicle combining features of both a car and an SUV, which was previously known as the Ford Freestyle.

Coupland claims this change only adds to the confusion in the marketplace.

"There was no previous Taurus SUV," he says. "It's another thing the market has to learn."

Coupland notes while Ford has been busy changing nameplates, Toyota and Honda have continued to make incremental improvements to the Camry and Accord vehicles. That means the marketplace knows what each car is year after year. Ford, meanwhile, cycles through nameplates so quickly it doesn't have time to benefit from the brand equity that is being built up.

"Ford introduces a new product brand the marketplace has to learn fresh rather than incrementally improving the brand," he says. "Given the alternatives Honda and Toyota have in the market, it's so easy to see what they're offering.

"It creates a competitive disadvantage for Ford."

 
     
  

Renée Alexander is a freelance business and lifestyle writer based in Winnipeg, Canada.

  
 commenting closed Add Social Bookmark bookmark  print
 suggest topic  recommend ( 18 )  email

Ford Taurus - dead bull?
 
 This move signals Ford's desparation to find traction somewhere - anywhere - it can. As a former owner of a Ford Explorer, and someone who still owns an SUV (non-Ford), I liked the fact that their SUV line used "E" names across the board: Excursion, Expidition, Explorer, Escape and now the Edge. However, I think they're stretching too far. At least the top three where original. The Edge is just a knock-off of the excellent Nissan Murano... right down to the dash arrangement. What happened to originallity - vehicles like the original Taurus?
IMO, the 500 was Ford's attempt to copy Chrysler's success with the 300. Both represent efforts to re-introduce classic 'number-model' nameplates, and to offer a new full-size sedan. It's just that Chrysler did it very well, with both the M and the C. I have to admit that I saw a sharp looking, black, Ford 500 with chrome trim. ...but again, it may be that I just like black paint and shiny chrome when used in combination. 
Scott Rendleman, Marketing Support Rep, Caterpillar, Inc - July 13, 2007
 
  brandchannel profile archive   2011  |  2010  |  2009  |  2008  | 2007  |  2006  |  2005  |  2004  |  2003  |  2002  |  2001
 
 
Dec 31, 2007 Silk Soymilk - smoooth -- Barry Silverstein
  Holy cow: how soy milk is changing our diets.
   
 
Dec 17, 2007 Jimmy Buffett - brand shark -- Jennifer Gidman
  Sand Castles: The rise of the Jimmy Buffet empire.
   
 
Dec 10, 2007 UGG Australia - the good, the bad, and the UGGly -- Barry Silverstein
  This fashionable brand steps into an unwelcome homecoming.
   
 
Dec 3, 2007 Joe Fresh Style - super snazzy -- Renée Alexander
  Can this brand bring fashion and style to the grocery aisle?
   
 
Nov 26, 2007 Natural Lawson - cornered? -- Patrick Williamson
  Natural Lawson displays healthy convenience stores.
   
 
Nov 19, 2007 Pollo Campero - free range -- Abram Sauer
  How chicken is this Central American brand?
   
 
Nov 12, 2007 Nike Vintage - classic kicks -- Alycia de Mesa
  Nike sees a future in its history.
   
 
Nov 5, 2007 Zipcar - merging lanes -- Preeti Khicha
  Zipcar hopes to motor into an urban demographic.
   
 
Oct 29, 2007 Vampire Vineyards - blood thirsty -- Renée Alexander
  Bloody delicious.
   
 
Oct 22, 2007 Hyundai - hazard lights? -- Jennifer Gidman
  Can this car brand overpower its sluggish reputation?
   
 
Oct 15, 2007 Energizer and Duracell - opposites attract -- Abram Sauer
  How batteries are powering their own branding futures.
   
 
Oct 8, 2007 Lands’ End - hard landing? -- Barry Silverstein
  From misplaced apostrophe to clothing juggernaut.
   
 
Oct 1, 2007 Taj Hotels, Resorts, and Palaces - kingly quarters -- Preeti Khicha
  Hospitality means balancing class, culture, and history.
   
 
Sep 24, 2007 Facebook - graduating on -- Kimberly Maul
  The many expressions of Facebook.
   
 
Sep 17, 2007 LA Galaxy - starry makeover -- Alycia de Mesa
  Beckham brings LA Galaxy universal appeal.
   
 
Sep 10, 2007 China - a brand in progress -- Tom Blackett
  China is still soul searching for accurate branding.
   
 
Sep 3, 2007 BOSE - sound positioning -- Barry Silverstein
  Is BOSE poised to rock on?
   
 
Aug 27, 2007 Crocs - still rocking -- Vivian Manning-Schaffel
  Will Crocs continue to walk the walk?
   
 
Aug 20, 2007 The Goodlife Recipe - four paw cuisine -- Alycia de Mesa
  Has designer food gone to the cats and dogs?
   
 
Aug 13, 2007 simplehuman - clean house? -- Jennifer Gidman
  Will regular people pay for elite organizers?
   
 
Aug 6, 2007 Pizza Patron - ¿no mas? -- Alycia de Mesa
  What’s wrong with paying Mexican money for an Italian import?
   
 
Jul 30, 2007 Newman’s Own - on the side -- Barry Silverstein
  Why is Newman’s Own so good for others?
   
 
Jul 23, 2007 Penthouse - hard times -- Abram Sauer
  Will re-branding save Penthouse from marketing celibacy?
   
 
Jul 16, 2007 RadioShack - does stuff? -- Barry Silverstein
  Can restructuring and a sleeker image make RadioShack competitive again?
   
 
Jul 9, 2007 Vera Wang - unbridled business sense -- Alycia de Mesa
  Vera Wang's success shows that a brand doesn't have to remain pigeonholed in its initial market.
   
 
Jun 25, 2007 Ameriprise - dream investment? -- Barry Silverstein
  A relatively new spin-off from American Express, Ameriprise sets its sights on an aging—but lucrative—Baby Boomer market.
   
 
Jun 18, 2007 Boca Foods - soy joy -- Barry Silverstein
  As elements of vegetarianism sprout in the mainstream diet culture, Boca Foods grows into a brand as healthy as its products.
   
 
Jun 11, 2007 Timberland - environmental heeling -- Barry Silverstein
  If one were compiling a list of socially responsible brands, Timberland would be a shoe-in.
   
 
Jun 4, 2007 Diet Coke Plus - new addition -- Alycia de Mesa
  Coca-Cola promises a splash of nutrition with its latest sugar-free cola.
   
 
May 28, 2007 BoConcept - chic seats -- Vivian Manning-Schaffel
  With sleek stores and urban-chic design, BoConcept promises a civilized—and assembly-free—alternative to IKEA.
   
 
May 21, 2007 Habitat for Humanity - foundation -- Barry Silverstein
  Even non-profits need proper branding techniques. Habitat for Humanity has built houses—and a successful brand—for more than 30 years.
   
 
May 14, 2007 LaKOTA - native remedies -- Alycia de Mesa
  With roots in Native American healing methods, LaKOTA pain-relief products promise a natural alternative to Advil and Tylenol.
   
 
May 7, 2007 Three Dog Bakery - the world-rover -- Barry Silverstein
  Three Dog Bakery grew from a pup to the Great Dane of specialty dog-food brands.
   
 
Apr 30, 2007 SoftBank - moshi moshi -- Patrick Williamson
  After acquiring Vodaphone, SoftBank launched a rebranding campaign. Can it succeed in the mobile market where Vodaphone failed?
   
 
Apr 23, 2007 Curves - taking shape -- Barry Silverstein
  The successful Curves franchise makes one think of Starbucks or McDonald's…without the coffee and hamburgers.
   
 
Apr 16, 2007 Teavana - tea chain -- Deanna Zammit
  With more than 100 locations and as many varieties of a premium-priced, caffeinated beverage, Teavana tries to do for tea leaves what Starbucks does for coffee beans.
   
 
Apr 9, 2007 Old Dutch Foods - potato potential -- Renée Alexander
  Eastward ho! A snack-food brand based in Western Canada expands eastward. Will its success be as crisp?
   
 
Apr 2, 2007 Roomba and Scooba - floored -- Barry Silverstein
  iRobot brings sci-fi technology to solve one of man's oldest problems: keeping his floors clean.
   
 
Mar 26, 2007 I NY - stately -- Abram Sauer
  As the I NY brand seeks a facelift, another question arises: What is "New York"?
   
 
Mar 19, 2007 Nintendo Wii - iin motion -- Alycia de Mesa
  Nintendo's Wii detects motion and attracts active gamers looking for an alternative to the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3.
   
 
Mar 12, 2007 Craigslist - classified -- Abram Sauer
  Craigslist combines old-fashioned classified ads and new-millennium technology to emerge as a popular, iconoclastic brand.
   
 
Mar 5, 2007 VOSS - high water -- Barry Silverstein
  A water brand from Norway promises premium refreshment—is it worth the premium price?
   
 
Feb 26, 2007 UNIQLO - crossing over -- Patrick Williamson
  With its quirky clothing and against-the-grain branding, Japan's UNIQLO tries to fill a Gap in the US retailer market.
   
 
Feb 19, 2007 Trader Joe's - quirky mart -- Barry Silverstein
  Trader Joe's has inspired a cult-like following seeking an alternative to the typical grocery store.
   
 
Feb 12, 2007 NECCO Sweethearts Conversation Hearts - sweet talk -- Kathy Kehrli
  For more than 100 years, NECCO has put sweet words in people's mouths—and offered a Valentine's Day alternative to chocolate.
   
 
Feb 5, 2007 Fiskars - stays sharp -- Anthony Zumpano
  By employing the latest branding techniques while managing a full fleet of products, Fiskars remains a relevant brand.
   
 
Jan 29, 2007 Walgreens Apothecary - facial expressions -- Alycia de Mesa
  Can a mass-market convenience store/pharmacy succeed with a higher-end line of skincare products?
   
 
Jan 22, 2007 Levi's Eco - blue greens -- Alycia de Mesa
  Will another foray into organic denim boost the fortunes of Levi's?
   
 
Jan 15, 2007 Starbury - rebound? -- Anthony Zumpano
  Will his inexpensive Starbury line of sneakers and gear make Stephon Marbury the heir to Air (Jordan)?
   
 
Jan 8, 2007 Sogno Uno de Savanna Samson - great nose -- Abram Sauer
  As celebrity-affiliated wines proliferate, a porn star brands a vivacious vino.
   
 
Jan 1, 2007 NFL - fumbles? -- Abram Sauer
  By launching its own cable network and seeking an expanded audience, is the NFL in danger of dropping the ball?