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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2011 Nissan Altima- Filling Some Big Shoes

Americans love the word “big”.  We’re a big country with big mountains, big rivers, big portions of food, and big people.  We invented the Big Gulp, Big Mac, Big Lots, Big And Tall, Big KMart, Bob’s Big Boy, and the Notorious B-I-G. If it’s not ridiculously large then it’s not worth wasting time over.

The original Nissan Altima faced this dilemma when it was introduced in 1993.  Its mission was to compete head-to-head with the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, and Ford Taurus of the time.  But it was more compact than its rivals and had tighter interior quarters.  Although it was a competent car, buyers stayed away in droves.  Nissan, not one to be bullied out of the market, rethought its strategy when it redesigned the Altima for 2002.  The car was not only striking in design, but was much larger in almost every dimension.  Sales skyrocketed and the Altima has consistently been one of the 10 best-selling cars in America since then.  Bigger really is sometimes better.

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