Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
This made me think of two related things:

First, incomes haven't kept pace with inflation; so while the price of the 2010 Taurus may be comparable in real terms with the price of the '89 model, the average person's income is still at '89 levels in real terms. Which means it's much harder to afford the $38k Ford plans to ask for the car.

The cost ties in to my second (and earlier point), which is that Ford is not a prestige brand and that by pricing itself with prestige-branded cars, it invites unflattering comparisons in areas where it cannot hope to compete, such as status, the dealer experience, resale values, etc.

I think, bottom line, that there are way too many $40k cars. The market can no longer sustain this. Ford was probably assuming a pre-crash economy, in which case the thing might have done ok. But I really doubt many people are going to line up to pay $40k for a hopped-up Taurus, especially in this economy.

Excellent point income has not kept pace with inflation, so the average person's buying power is much less today than in the past.

I think automakers will go back to the stripper cars in the future due to current economic times. I remember the days when you could walk on a dealer lot and there were plenty of stripper cars available to buy. Most people did not buy their cars loaded 20 plus years ago. For instance I remember back in 1982 walking on a dealer lot as a kid seeing the hords of new Caprices and Impalas many of which had no power options (crank windows). Back then A/C (Air Conditioning) was a big option that some passed on. Now even economy cars have power windows, door locks, cruise control, etc. whereas back in 1982 most could not even be ordered with any power options. Heck when many new Jeep Wranglers today have power windows, A/C, Navagation systems, etc. shows how the times have changed. My 1988 Wrangler was loaded from the factory with options (4.2 I6, power steering, leather steering wheel, 20 gallon gas tank, hardtop, full doors, rear defroster, exterior decal package, etc.) however it had no power windows, no A/C, etc non of the standard features available today on most cars. It would be considered a stripper in today's market.

Getting back to the Taurus. They should offer a stripper Taurus called the Taurus S with 16" steel wheels/black wall tires, base cloth seats, no power options (including no power windows or door locks), etc. Make A/C and a radio optional. A 5-speed manual transmission should be standard with a automatic transmission optional. And it should come with the Fusion's I4 which would be good for around 34 mpg. If it was priced around $20K (which is much cheaper than the starting price of the base 2010 Taurus - $25995). This car would sell well. It would be a car most families could afford.