The Wall Street Journal
reported that executive sources have said Ford is to base a replacement for its Taurus sedan on the new Mazda 6 sedan recently launched by its Japanese affiliate.
According to Ford, it has previously exported the Taurus to Japan, but attempts to sell right-hand drive versions of the redesigned 1996 model in Australia and New Zealand foundered as the cars were underpowered and expensive compared with the roomier and more powerful Australian-built Ford Falcon line.
The WSJ said that Ford now sells more than half the Tauruses it builds to rental and other fleets in the US while the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord dominate the sales charts.
It has been reported elsewhere in recent weeks that both Ford and GM plan to cater to the fleet and rental car markets for medium-sized sedans by keeping the current Ford Taurus and Chevrolet Malibu in production as “fleet-only” products until at least 2005.