The last Taurus has rolled off the assembly line at the Blue Oval's Chicago facility, marking the end of a 34-year run.

The Ford Taurus is officially dead in North America, after more than three decades on sale and over 8 million examples produced.

It marks the start of a new era for the Blue Oval, which is now shifting its focus to crossovers and utilities in the US – spelling the end of all its passenger models bar the Mustang sports car.

First shown at the Los Angeles motor show in 1985, the Taurus "represented the latest in Ford engineering and design". By 1992, the Taurus was America's top-selling car.

The Taurus soon became a long-running entrant in the Nascar series from 1998, winning "many championships" for various race teams and also for Ford Motor Company itself.

Above: 1986 Ford Taurus

It's not the first time the Taurus has been retired, either. In 2006 production ended for two years, before an all-new model was introduced in 2008.

Despite production of the big sedan having ended this month, Ford is investing US$1 billion into its Chicago Assembly and Chicago Stamping plants, also adding 500 new jobs in the process, to produce the new-generation 2020 Ford Explorer and Ford Police Interceptor Utility.

The new Lincoln Aviator – which is based on the same platform as the Explorer – will also be built at the Chicago facility.

"Ford aims to replace 75 per cent of its US lineup, including Escape, Explorer and F-150, by the end of 2020, building on its strengths in trucks, utilities, commercial and performance vehicles and investing in new propulsion and technology," the company said in its press release.

"Like the original Taurus met changing consumer preferences, Ford is also expanding its lineup with new and returning nameplates tailored to today’s consumers, including the all-new Ranger, all-new Bronco, a yet-to-be-named rugged off-road small utility, a Mustang-inspired fully-electric performance utility and more still to come."

Above: 2018 Ford Taurus

The Taurus has a brief history in Australia, too. Between 1996 and 1998, Ford sold the third-generation sedan Down Under.

While production has ended in North America, the Taurus nameplate will continue to live on in China, at least for the time being, where a region-specific version is produced by the company's Changan Ford joint venture in Hangzhou.

Rest in peace, Taurus