DETROIT - Ford dealers sold a record 65,324 Tauruses in December, a retail phenomenon that ousted the Honda Accord as the best-selling car in the United States.
Ford sold more Tauruses in December than the 54,597 cars sold by by all of Chrysler Corp. and just 1,415 less than the entire Chevrolet stable.
The 1992 tally: Taurus, 409,751; Accord, 393,477.
The incentives needed to carry the day cost Ford an estimated $115 million in December. They included a rebate of $1,500 and a finance rate of 0.5 percent.
It was expensive, but the $115 million Ford laid out in December to beat the Accord was well worth it. It gave Ford a powerful advertising message: First in cars (Taurus), first in pickups (F series) and first in sport-utilities (Explorer). A trifecta. Even a quadrifecta of a sort, because the F series was the industry's best-selling nameplate.
How big was December for the Taurus? In the first 11 months of 1992, Ford dealers sold 344,427 Tauruses, an average of 31,312 per month. In December, the 65,324 they sold was more than double their monthly average.
Taurus enjoyed a five-year run as the car sales leader before giving way to the Toyota Camry in 1997. The Camry also won in 1998 and 1999.