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SCOTT JAGOW: This week, we bid farewell to the Ford Taurus. The last one rolls off an assembly line in Georgia. After two decades and almost seven million sales, Ford is retiring the model that once saved the company. Amy Scott looks back.
AMY SCOTT: It took billions of dollars and almost a thousand people to design the first Taurus. When the car debuted in 1985 people called it a jellybean.
JOE PHILIPPI: Today it looks very square. Back then it looked very round. And of course the other thing was this car didn’t have a grill.
That’s Joe Philippi, with Auto Trends Consulting. The Taurus eventually inspired a new generation of curvy cars, and it pulled Ford out of a financial crisis not unlike what’s it’s experiencing now.
But then SUVs took off in the 1990s. And Jamie Kitman with Automobile Magazine says Ford let the Taurus languish.
JAMIE KITMAN: In fat times, it was not that critical to them that the Taurus wasn’t as profitable as it could have or should have been. But more recently that’s become untenable for them.
Even last month the Taurus remained Ford’s top-selling passenger car, but only because rental companies and other bulk buyers get a steep discount.
In New York, I’m Amy Scott for Marketplace.
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