SHANGHAI (AP) — With its newest Taurus, Ford is joining the race to appeal to Chinese business buyers by offering bigger, more luxurious back seats.
The Taurus, Ford Motor Co.'s first full-size sedan in China, is part of what CEO Mark Fields says is a multiyear effort to expand the U.S. automaker's range of offerings in the country.
Ford joins rivals including General Motors Co., Mercedes Benz and Volvo Cars that have created extended versions of their standard sedans to appeal to Chinese buyers who have drivers and ride in back. That market segment is growing faster than China's overall sales, which are decelerating.
The sedan was unveiled ahead of this week's Shanghai auto show. It is due to be produced at a new $760 million Ford factory in Hangzhou, southwest of Shanghai.
INSIDE: The new Taurus's wheelbase is three inches longer than the standard Taurus at 116 inches, with the added space going to the back seat. Ford says there are 25 stowage spaces throughout the cabin and cup holders designed to hold tea bottles. Designers used leather for the seats and noise-deadening materials to keep the cabin quiet. The rear seat has a control panel for air conditioning and onboard media.
OUTSIDE: Features include LED tail lights and 19-inch alloy wheels.
UNDER THE HOOD: The Taurus will come with Ford's new twin-turbo 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 engine. The company says lightweight materials and advanced controls make it more powerful and efficient.
GAS MILEAGE: Not announced.
PRICE: Not announced.
CHEERS: The Taurus extends Ford's product range and puts the company in the growing segment for large-rear seat sedans.
JEERS: The market segment is crowded and at a time when China's economic growth is slowing, the fastest sales growth is for smaller and lower-priced but lower-margin vehicles.