2010 Ford Taurus

Wholesale auction prices reported by the National Automobile Dealers Association show the 2010 Ford Taurus topping its Toyota Avalon rival in value by $2,500, according to Ford. This turnaround represents a stunning $7,100 increase in residual value over the 2009 Taurus.

When Ford introduced the 2010 Taurus, the company packed it with luxury features and new technology to support its higher sticker price. Ford also promised to reduce sales to fleet customers, steering the Taurus away from the rental car image it had developed. The company pledged that these changes would reward consumers with higher residual values and a correspondingly lower cost of ownership. Now it appears that promise has come true.

"The 2009 Taurus was selling at a significant discount compared with the 2009 Toyota Avalon," said Rose Peng, manager of Ford's global life cycle analytics department. "Now the 2010 Ford Taurus is commanding a $2,500 premium over the 2010 Toyota Avalon."

Higher residual values also mean that consumers can lease a new Taurus for lower monthly payment. This should help boost sales without causing Ford to resort to costly subsidized leases. "It will lower the payment and give Ford the ability to reduce brand-damaging incentives," Peng said.

This strategy of increasing content and raising the price saw the 2010 Taurus outselling its 2009 counterpart three times over. Sync voice command technology, a blind spot warning system, Sirius Travel Link, MyKey technology (restricting the car's use) and a convenient cap-less gas filler all contribute to the 2010 Taurus being considered a technology leader rather than a rental lot disappointment.

This successful approach will also have a positive impact on other Ford products. "You will see similar results with the upcoming Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX," said Peng.

author photo

Dan Carney is a veteran auto industry observer who has written for MSNBC.com, Motor Trend, AutoWeek, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Popular Mechanics, Popular Science, Better Homes and Gardens and other publications. He has authored two books, "Dodge Viper" and "Honda S2000" and is a juror for the North American Car of the Year award. Carney covers the industry from the increasingly strategic location of Washington, D.C.

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