Unveiled at this week’s Shanghai motor show, the Taurus is a large sedan designed to meet the specific requirements and preferences of buyers in the world’s biggest automotive market, China.
Hobart-born and Broadmeadows-based Ford Asia Pacific design director Todd Willing was responsible for the exterior design of the 2016 Taurus, while fellow Aussie Trevor Worthington, vice president of product development in the Asia Pacific region, oversaw much of the project.
Prototypes of the Taurus have been spotted testing in Australia numerous times over the past 12 months, suggesting there’s also plenty of local know-how in the dynamic performance of the new model.
Above: Ford Motor Company president and CEO Mark Fields with the 2016 Ford Taurus.
Earlier this week, Ford China chairman and CEO John Lawler said the Taurus combined “the best of our global product development knowledge and large-car expertise”, and speaking with Australian journalists in Shanghai this week, former Ford Australia president and now president of Ford’s Chinese joint venture, Changan Ford Automobile, Marin Burela, said Ford Australia’s almost 60 years of experience with the Falcon gave the local team knowledge and skills that few rivals could boast.
“At the end of the day the heritage and history of Falcon is distinguished, it’s long, and one that Ford Motor Company is very proud of. Many other companies haven’t achieved that sort of thing,” Burela said, referencing the Falcon’s longevity.
Burela said he was “delighted” with the new Taurus in the moments after its unveiling.
“The global product development team has done an outstanding job, and clearly the Australian team has contributed to that significantly in all areas,” he said.
“It was done by a combined global team, and certainly the Asia Pacific team with Trevor Worthington leading the Asia Pacific group has made a major contribution to the total activity.”
The company’s ‘One Ford’ philosophy emphasises the work of the global team rather than highlighting the work of any one country or pinpointing features that could be attributed to a specific division – details that Worthington said were unimportant.
“Everybody had a hand in it, so it was a global program,” he said.
“Yep, we were absolutely involved in it, and of course we’re proud of it, we’re proud of all the things we work on.
“The important thing is that that car over there is exactly the product that the Chinese customers want,” he said while pointing to the Taurus on the Shanghai show stand.
Worthington wouldn’t reveal what other projects the local team – now 1550 strong, with 1200 designers and engineers and 350 mechanics – was working on, but confirmed the Australian division was “fully utilised” and “growing”.
“We’re working on multiple programs and we never talk about what we’re working on because to some extent that gives away the Ford global cycle plan.
“All of our facilities are jam-packed full, and that’s good for us and it’s also good for the global product outcome because I think we’re a pretty solid team.
Worthington once again emphatically ruled out the possibility of the Taurus being sold in Australia after production of the Falcon comes to an end in October 2016.
“It’s a large car, it’s a front-wheel-drive car, it’s a sedan, and it’s called the Taurus, and it’s for China only. We’ve designed it specifically for China, absolutely specifically for China.”