Taurus SHO car ends 10-year run
Loyal enthusiasts to see last model of Ford car in '99
By David Welch / The
DEARBORN -- When Ford Motor Co. launches the
restyled Taurus later next year, it will do so without the
Ford has decided not to build a SHO (Super High
Output) Taurus for the 2000 model year, dealers and industry analysts
That will end a 10-year run for the Taurus SHO
and at least temporarily nix a vehicle that garnered a small but loyal
following of enthusiasts.
Ford officials declined to comment on their
future product plans.
Ford builds an average 7,000 to 8,000 Taurus SHO
cars a year, just about 2 percent of Taurus annual sales. But the SHO
had a halo effect on the Taurus, giving the car a name for performance
even though the mass-produced, mid-sized base model is targeted at
The 1999 model year is the last for the Taurus
SHO and its V-8 Yamaha engine. Then the car will be gone, said Lou
Stanford, president of Varsity Lincoln Mercury in Novi and Varsity
Ford in Ann Arbor.
Dealers say the car was difficult to sell. Even
though it offered high performance, the Taurus SHO had rental car
looks. That made it tough to market the car, even in low volume.
"You're making the car something it
isn't," said Robert Tasca III, vice-president of Tasca Ford in
East Providence, R.I. "You not going to turn a mule into a race
The Taurus SHO battles another problem: buyers
perceive it as expensive.
Other vehicles, such as the Pontiac Bonneville's
supercharged SSEi model, have done well because they are more upscale
than a Taurus, said Michael Robinet, managing director of CSM
Forecasting in Farmington Hills.
The 1999 Taurus SHO has a 235 horsepower engine
and costs close to $30,000, above such competitors as the Buick Regal
GS, which has a 240-hp engine and costs less than $25,000, said James
Hall, vice-president and industry analyst with AutoPacific Inc. in
"I'd be really shocked if there was a SHO
version of the face-lifted Taurus," Hall said.
That will disappoint enthusiasts such as Kevin
Mahoney, an automotive technician in Gaithersburg, Md., who owns a
1989 and a 1993 Taurus SHO and has a service shop that specializes in
"I wish they would keep making it,"
Mahoney said. "It's the only car in the world with that engine.
They're very unique cars."