The Ford Taurus, once a beacon of American sedan supremacy, went out of production Friday. The last Taurus, a silver sedan with a moonroof, rolled off the automaker’s Chicago assembly line, marking the end of full-size four-doors from Ford.
Ford has ended production of the Taurus before, however. The automaker discontinued the model for the consumer market in 2006, but former Ford CEO Alan Mulally revived it by renaming the Five Hundred sedan to Taurus for the 2008 model year.
Reviving the Taurus name again isn’t out of the question for Ford, but it’s unlikely it’ll be applied to a sedan any time soon in North America. The automaker sells locally built Taurus in China and it will stay in production.
Ford, like many of its rivals, is drastically cutting back on the number of sedans in its lineup as consumers shift toward crossover SUVs. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles dropped most of its sedans a few years ago and General Motors has either ceased building or put an expiration date most of its four-doors.
Ford built every generation of Taurus from the model’s 1986 debut through last week in Chicago, although some were built at a long-closed plant near the Atlanta airport that’s now the site of Porsche’s U.S. headquarters.
For a generation, the Taurus represented Ford’s relative dominance of the sedan market in the U.S. The first 1986 model’s streamlined shape stood in contrast to boxy rivals. Although Ford was unable to repeat the original sedan’s sales magic when it controversially redesigned the model in 1996, the Taurus was among the 10 bestselling cars in the U.S. through 2004.
Though Friday marked the end of the Taurus in America, the automaker’s Chicago plant has a bright future. Ford last month said it will invest $1 billion to retool its longest continuously operating assembly plant to build its Explorer and Lincoln Aviator crossover SUVs.