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Ford brings back Taurus and Sable names

Famous names will go on redesigned versions of the Ford Five Hundred and Mercury Montego

2008_mercury_sable.01.jpg

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The Ford Five Hundred will get a new old name for 2008 model year. It will be called the Taurus. And, as before, its Mercury cousin, now called the Montego, will be named the Sable.

The Ford Freestyle wagon, based on the same vehicle architecture as the Five Hundred and Montego, will be called the Taurus X.

"Taurus has been an icon for Ford's family sedan for more than two decades, and it's time to return this powerful name to where it belongs," said Mark Fields, Ford's President of The Americas, at the Chicago Auto Show.

"Consumer awareness of the Taurus name is double that of the Five Hundred that it's replacing, and awareness of Sable is triple that of Montego," he said.

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When it was introduced in 1985, the Taurus became instantly famous for its then-unusual rounded shape. For several years, it was the best-selling passenger car in America.

The Ford Taurus was discontinued last year. The final year's production was made available only to fleet customers, such as car rental agencies, as the Five Hundred arrived in showrooms.

The Five Hundred was frequently criticized by auto reviewers for seeming underpowered and for its extremely conservative design.

A redesigned version of the Five Hundred, featuring more chrome on the outside and a more powerful engine under the hood, was shown at the Detroit Auto Show in January.

That car will now be called the Taurus when it goes on sale this summer.

A redesigned Montego, now the Sable, and a redesigned Freestyle, now Taurus X, were debuted Wednesday at the Chicago Auto Show.

The new Sable and Taurus X will get the same, more-powerful engine as the Taurus. They will also have the same six-speed automatic transmission.

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