In addition, an upgraded version of the Freestyle crossover sport utility station wagon will be renamed the Taurus X.
"Twenty years ago we created a strong nameplate, the Ford Taurus," said Mark Fields, Ford's president of the Americas. It is still recognized by more than 80 percent of consumers "double the Five Hundred that it's replacing."
The Mercury Montego, the Five Hundred's cousin, will be renamed the Sable in the coming model year. The Sable was the original Taurus' twin, with 2 million sold under the Mercury name.
Ford ceased production of the Taurus after 21 years Oct. 27. It sold only 174,803 Taurus cars in fleet sales in its final model year. About half of the nearly 7 million Taurus cars sold are still in the road.
The Five Hundred, built on a Volvo frame, has been a sales disappointment since its 2004 introduction. Sales nose-dived last year to about 84,000 from nearly 108,000 in 2005.
The new Taurus will get a new, more powerful engine and more than 500 other improvements "that make it more distinctive, quieter, faster and safer," Ford said.
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