2013 Ford Taurus- Not Such Bullish Aspirations

DSCI0235In Greek mythology, Theseus was considered to be the founding hero of Athens and the reformer of religion and social order.  Under his rule came the political unification of Attica under Athens and a stronger, more resilient city.  Despite his efforts, he lost popularity in later years and was thrown off a cliff by Skyros.  The Ford Taurus has had a similar rise and fall.  Introduced in 1986 as an all-cards-on-the-table gamble for ailing Ford, the Taurus was nothing short of revolutionary.  Being bruised and battered from financial woes and questionable quality, Ford’s future was dependant on the success of the Taurus .  The smooth, aero “jellybean” styling, thoughtful interior touches, and Euro-inspired performance proved that Detroit could indeed build a world-class product that was worth buying.  Personally, I consider it to be one of the most influential automobiles of all time; applying new features and technology we take for granted today.  The risk paid off, and not only did the Taurus receive numerous awards from journalists and was copied by competitors, but it catapulted its way to being America’s best-selling car throughout the late 80’s and 90’s.  However an equally daring, but less enticing, redesign for 1996 caused the car to lose its sales crown, and new-found profits in SUV’s during the early 2000’s resulted in Ford neglecting the Taurus completely.  The car that had saved and served Ford so well stagnated for years before finally being killed off in 2006.  Unlike poor ol’ Theseus, the Taurus was able to come back from the dead and a quick rebadge of the little-known Five Hundred brought the revered and famous name back to the Ford stable.  Finally, in 2010, Ford acknowledged that they can’t live without the name badge and introduced a brand new generation of the bullish car that was designed to be a Taurus from the ground up.  

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2012 Volkswagen Jetta- Suit And Tie

DSCI0158There’s a stage in all of our lives when society expects us to disappoint Peter Pan and grow up.  A time to do away with the baggy pants, blue hair and the McJob, and replace them with a grey iron-pressed suit and a career.  Losing that uniqueness  can be a painful transition that tears away at one’s very soul, but there’s no choice when it’s a matter of survival.  Otherwise. Mom and Dad aren’t bringing out the welcome mat anytime soon.  It’s a predicament that Volkswagen has recently faced with its Jetta.  Since 1980, the small sedan has always gone to the beat of a different drummer.  It’s been continuously marketed as a premium compact sedan and proudly geared toward niche consumers who are into indie rock and give normalcy a shrug of the shoulder.  With quirky features coupled with a higher price than the competition, the Jetta has always possessed an eccentric character .  Although the Jetta, and VW in general, has gained a small cult following for its “sticking it to the man” attitude, the more serious and conventional Toyota Corolla outsold the Jetta by three and half times in 2008.  Being peculiar and wacky can be fun, but it doesn’t pay the bills.  And Volkswagen, like any other company, is out to make money.  So what’s the manufacturer to do?

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