By the ’90s, the Taurus had gone from being the best-selling car in the country to being a shadow of its former self. Toyota and Honda were both dominating the family car market by this point in time. The Taurus had to be redesigned, and the folks at Ford figured it was time to do drastic measures. The Taurus redesign was catastrophic for the company and the car was mocked for its overt oval appearance from the inside out (via The Motor Digest).
The Taurus was universally panned for the awful exterior styling. The overtly oval appearance made the car a target for negative press. We’re not sure what Ford was thinking, but this was one of the most costly blunders in the automotive industry. Ford undoubtedly lost millions of dollars on this redesign of the Taurus and the brand never made a full recovery.
If the design of the ordinary Taurus model wasn’t bad enough during this period, Ford tried to make it worse by sending the newly-revised Taurus SHO to the market. The SHO was the performance version of the Taurus and managed to gain a cult like following in the first two generations of the car. Unfortunately, there were a few issues with this car and the first issue wasn’t just related to its exterior styling (via The Motor Digest).
The powerplant was one of the worst engines Ford ever put into a car. It was a Yamaha-powered V8 engine and suffered from some of the worst reliability issues that the Taurus brand has ever had. This engine was a pain to repair and most of the issues happened with the timing chain while the cars were still under warranty. Needless to say, this generation of the Taurus SHO ended up costing the company a pretty penny.
Ford was already selling the compact Escort and the full-size Taurus at the same time in the ’90s. Which is why most car shoppers were confused when the company also launched the Contour. The Contour wasn’t that much different in size from the Escort and actually cost a bit more. The SVT version of the car was a gamble to try and get performance buyers into the door yet sales were abysmal and the car was a flop (via The Motor Digest).
The SVT variation of the Contour had some unique attributes that made the car desirable. But the problems with reliability and high price drove most potential buyers the other way. These days, the SVT Contour has become a sort of collector’s item and the car is seldom seen on the roadways.
Lincoln has always been the main luxury brand in the Ford Motor Company’s portfolio. The 2000s were a definite transition period for the brand as the Navigator SUV was a sales success. The company then decided to release a smaller version of the Navigator based on the Ford Explorer SUV (via Hot Cars).
The problem with the Aviator was the high price tag and maintenance cost. The reliability was questionable and between the development and the advertising Ford lost quite a bit of money on this. The Aviator brand was revived almost a decade later as a crossover SUV.
The Blackwood was a limited-run luxury pickup truck, one of the first of its kind. At the time the Blackwood was released, the only competition on the market was the Cadillac Escalade EXT. The Blackwood was a good concept but the truck was just an all-around failure. The satin-covered bed wasn’t useful for average pickup truck buyers (via Hot Cars).
The Blackwood was a catastrophic failure for the Ford Motor Company. Sales were paltry compared to the F-150, and the truck was only on the market for a single year. In recent years, the Blackwood has become a sort of collector’s item and you’ll see one for sale every now and then.
Ford hasn’t had a lot of success with subcompact cars but the company still decided to release a performance-oriented compact nevertheless. The Focus SVT was a performance car with a lot of attitude and seemingly reasonable price. The sales of the car weren’t exactly what Ford had hoped for and the car ended up being a flop (via Hot Cars).
Performance compacts were popular in the years that followed up to the Focus SVT. Honda was one of the first companies to sell a performance compact car. Nevertheless, the Focus SVT is a car that never caught on with consumers and there was a lot of competition in the segment.
Even though the Blackwood was a commercial failure, the folks at Lincoln still wanted to try selling a luxury pickup truck. That’s why the Mark LT was sent to the market in 2006. The truck was basically an up level F-150 and the truck fixed a lot of the issues that consumers had with the Blackwood (via Hot Cars).
The problem here was that the Mark LT was sent to the market as the economic recession was about to start. The sales of the truck were very low and the company didn’t turn a profit on it. The trucks ended up being cleared at the end of the model’s run, and the truck was eventually phased out all the way.
The Mariner was a compact SUV sold by the Mercury brand in the 2000s. It was based on the Ford Escape model and it had a lot going for it. Unfortunately, Ford spent a lot of money on advertising and development of the SUV and it never really caught on with consumers (via Hot Cars).
The Mariner was targeted toward a female demographic but never managed to sell well. It was also one of the first mass-produced hybrid SUV models but even that wasn’t enough to bolster the sales. The Mariner was the final model in the Mercury brand portfolio when the nameplate was discontinued.
Originally released as the Ford 500 in 2005, the Taurus X was an attempt by the automaker to reinvigorate a dead nameplate. Sales of the wagon weren’t doing what the executives had hoped for. Ford thought that by bringing back a trusted brand name like the Taurus it would somehow reinvigorate sales numbers (via Hot Cars).
Unfortunately, the Ford Taurus X never achieved any serious sales numbers either. The car was just another novelty item that Ford tried to have consumers latch onto. There were better offerings on the market, and they came with much better features and performance for the price.
The Taurus SHO was a car that Ford managed to bring back a few different times. The most recent incarnation of the car was a big gamble for Ford, and one that didn’t end up paying off. The company spent millions designing the new car, but consumers didn’t gravitate toward the large sedan (via Hot Cars).
Crossover vehicles have become more popular with every passing year and the appetite for new family sedans is waning more and more. The modern Taurus SHO was a great attempt to create a unique sport sedan, but it just didn’t connect with the consumers.
The 2000s were a trying time at the Ford Motor Company, and as the SUV market was expanding the company decided to launch a large SUV to compete with the Suburban. The Excursion was a V10-powered beast of an SUV that offered a great deal of performance but was terrible on gas mileage (via Hot Cars).
The Excursion could have been a big hit for the Ford Motor Company but the SUV didn’t manage to sell well. The reliability was questionable, and the design on the thing wasn’t the most pleasant to look at. The Excursion’s off-road capability has made it popular on the used car market although the sales were not very impressive when the Excursion was being sold as a new vehicle.
When Ford purchased Jaguar in the 1990s, there was a lot of speculation as to what the company would do with the historic luxury brand. One of the first vehicles released under the new Ford leadership was the X-Type. Although this compact sedan was a great car when it was new, its reliability was one of the worst ever reported (via Hot Cars).
Ford spent millions on the design and advertising of the sedan but it never gained the type of sales numbers that the company had hoped for. The X-Type is one of the notoriously worst used luxury cars that you can buy because of the lackluster reliability. The X-Type is one of the most notable blunders that came out of Ford during this era.