For Amy Marentic, North American Car and Crossover Planning Manager, Taurus represents both a professional and personal goal.
Trained as an aerospace engineer, Marentic aimed to be an astronaut. During her senior year at the University of Michigan, she realized that an automotive career could provide years of exhilaration, compared with a brief ride in space she might never achieve.
Marentic was passionate about the reinvigoration and repositioning of Taurus as Ford's flagship sedan. The data she and the team evaluated told them that the full-size sedan market had changed. With the emergence of crossovers and sport utility vehicles as family vehicles, Marentic and the team began to see Taurus in a different light.
"We found that sedans were becoming a reward for a job well done, as opposed to the quaint stereotype of a family sedan," added Marentic. "The customers we spoke to were interested in a car that showed where they were headed, as opposed to where they had been. Sedans were becoming a 'me' thing, rather than a 'we' thing."
These insights became the justification to execute on the expressive Taurus design proposal and to illustrate that the marketplace was ready for luxury levels of convenience technology.
As the new 2010 Taurus was moving through the development process, Marentic and the team saw yet another market opportunity in contemporizing the original Taurus SHO formula.
Adding a super high-output EcoBoost V-6 to the expressive new Taurus sedan, incorporating all-wheel drive with a unique sport-tuned suspension, while keeping the SHO-specific design cues subtle and stealth, enabled a balance of authenticity and innovation.
Researchers from the team also spent considerable time listening to several Taurus SHO enthusiast organizations. Vocal club members stressed the importance of a super high-output six-cylinder engine, a performance-tuned suspension and subtle SHO identification.
Marentic and Team Taurus presented the SHO business case to Ford's senior management with equal doses of market data and passionate enthusiasm. Given a green light, the concept became reality in less than 12 months.
"From the time I started at Ford, I wanted a brand new Taurus SHO of my own," said Marentic. "Consider this the realization of a personal goal, as well as a professional objective."
Her 10 years of engineering experience, overseas marketing assignments, customer insight and passion for supporting decisions with quantitative data have given Marentic the background necessary to rally a team around reinvigorating a car – the 2010 Taurus – that means so much, to so many.
About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 201,000 employees and about 90 plants worldwide, the company's automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury and Volvo. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit www.ford.com.
Sept. 30, 2009