You won’t find the Ford Taurus on showroom floors anymore. Dwindling sales and a shift toward crossovers and SUVs spelled doom for a model that had once been foundational to the brand. Ford discontinued it after the 2019 model year. Tastes change, and cars come and go, but if history had gone differently, we could today be mourning the loss of the Ford Integra instead of the Ford Taurus.
Ford Authority found this historical nugget in Eric Taub’s Taurus: The Making of the Car That Saved Ford. The Taurus name wasn’t supposed to make it to production. Instead, it was used as the internal program designation. However, in 1982, four years before the Ford would wow with its sleek design and innovative features, Ford and the J. Walter Thompson marketing agency compiled 20 possible names for the brand’s new sedan. On that list, along with several other names that’d eventually find their way onto a Ford product, was Integra.
Gallery: Acura Integra Prototype
Familiar names like the Probe, Aerostar, and Orion were also suggested, while some never had a chance – like Logic, Entry, Destiny, and Fanta. Others included Genesis, Forte, Lumina, Lucerne, and Optima, which other companies eventually used. However, none, not even the Integra, polled as well as the Taurus. The rest, they say, is history. Honda decided to run with the name in 1985, with Acura resurrecting the nameplate for 2023.
Automakers often propose several potential names for a new product, using focus groups and other testing to determine which name gives the product the best chance of succeeding. The Taurus and its name became an icon, so much so that former Ford CEO Alan Mulally had Ford bring it back after discontinuing the name in favor of calling the sedan the Ford 500. However, sales never really recovered after the name switch and the Great Recession.