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Ford Offers Fuel Options for Taurus as Model Updates Speed Up

April 19 (Bloomberg) -- Ford Motor Co. will sell a revamped Taurus sedan with more fuel-efficient engines next year as the second-largest U.S. automaker looks to continue updating its vehicles more rapidly.

The 2013 Taurus being unveiled at the New York auto show this week will follow the current version by less than three years, Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford said yesterday at a briefing for media in New York. The automaker has updated its entire car lineup in the past three years, said Mark Fields, Ford’s president of the Americas.

“When we develop our product lineup and our product plan, the most important metric we have is the average age of our showroom,” Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s product-development chief, told reporters. “We’re building this constant cadence of every three to 3.5 years, basically a new product for our customers.”

The revamped Taurus will be Ford’s first car in North America to have two of its EcoBoost engines available, Kuzak said. The EcoBoost engines add power from turbochargers and feed precise amounts of fuel to the cylinders to improve efficiency.

The smaller, four-cylinder EcoBoost engine will get at least 31 mpg on the highway and the larger six-cylinder EcoBoost will get up to 25 mpg on the highway, Ford said. The third and standard engine offering will be a six-cylinder that gets more power than the current version, Kuzak said.

The Taurus, once the U.S.’s best-selling car, will probably compete in a shrinking portion of the market as gas prices climb, Kuzak said yesterday.

Gas Price Impact

“The large-car segment is probably decreasing a little bit, and the small and midsized segments are growing, given fuel economy,” he said. “What we’re trying to do here is provide for customers who are interested in the size and comfort of a large sedan and still give them exceptional fuel economy.”

U.S. deliveries of the Taurus in 2010 climbed 51 percent to 68,859, according to Autodata Corp. Ford introduced the current Taurus in August 2009, Kuzak said yesterday. The 2013 Taurus will begin sales in the spring of next year, Marisa Bradley, a spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.

While higher gas prices may shift consumer demand to smaller vehicles from larger, more-profitable trucks and sport-utility vehicles, Fields reiterated Ford’s previous forecast that the company’s North American operating margins this year will be equal to or higher than 2010.

“That puts into perspective costs, what we’re doing on revenue and how consumers are seeing our products,” he said.

Ford will release pricing on the 2013 Taurus later, Kuzak said. The 2011 Taurus starts at $26,245 for the standard version and $37,845 for the higher-performance Taurus SHO, according to Ford’s website.

To contact the reporter on this story: Craig Trudell in New York at ctrudell1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kevin Orland at korland@bloomberg.net

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