The names have been changed to protect…

Earlier this year, Ford announced that the (recently deceased) Taurus was making a comeback. The relatively poor-selling Five Hundred and Freestyle will be renamed Taurus and Taurus X (respectively) for the 2008 vehicle season.

I find this news interesting for a couple of reasons: First (and I have yet to find any record of this) I recall reading an article when the Five Hundred and Freestyle were originally released which discussed the efforts that Ford took in their design and feature set. As I recall, quite a bit of consumer testing was done to build vehicles specifically tailored to target demographics—the Five Hundred for retirement-age men and the Freestyle as an alternative for the Soccer Mom.

The second reason this news strikes me as interesting is the corporate mentality of the decision. Ford is banking on the memory of the Taurus name to overcome any shortcomings these vehicles currently have. I find it highly unlikely that sales of the Five Hundred and Freestyle are slow due to the way these two vehicles have been named.

With all of the pressure that Ford is seeing from competitors overseas, they need to work on offering products that reach the hearts, minds and wallets of the American consumer. The Ford Five Hundred and Freestyle were designed by consumer research. Renaming them won’t magically fix any issues the buying public has with the vehicles.

How does that saying go? “A rose by any other name…”

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