Dream team: the new Ford Taurus and Elastoskin.
In an effort to re-introduce the Ford Taurus as a car that was all about luxury, craftsmanship and character, BASF helped redesign a door panel with the look and feel of genuine hand-stitched leather, to reignite the nostalgia of the original Ford Taurus.
The appeal of handcrafted leather.
In 1986 the Ford Taurus made its debut and revolutionized the American auto industry. The new model with its characteristic curves was to become a trendsetter, complete with interesting aerodynamic shape and Europeaninspired rounded form. Named Motor Trend's Car of the Year for 1986 as well as being named on Car and Drivers "Ten Best" list for the same year, the Ford Taurus sedan impressed the public and became America's top-selling car in 1987. Some spoke of Taurus as one of the most influential cars of the 1980's. With over two decades of production and a trend of declining sales, Ford announced the end of the Taurus.
Ford began development of the new Taurus when they realized that they may have brought a trusted and valuable brand to a premature end. With a new flagship vehicle, the company would send the message that the new Ford Taurus was all about luxury, craftsmanship and character.
BASF brought together Ford, tooling supplier Frimo USA, Inc. and interior supplier Automotive Components Holdings to rethink the design possibilities for the interior doors and instrument panel.
A special challenge was to develop a door panel with the look and feel of genuine, hand-stitched leather. The decision to use the Elastoskin® spray polyurethane from BASF for this was merely a logical step. The other synthetic alternatives simply weren't good enough. In short, Elastoskin was priced right and fully able to deliver the look, texture and character of handcrafted leather.
The best thing about leather is that it's superfluous — now that there's Elastoskin.
To achieve the look and the unique character of genuine leather, templates were handmade by the Ford designers in a special design studio usually reserved for customizing limited-edition, car-show masterpieces. Here, they designed a hand-stitched, leather-wrapped door panel, complete with raised upholstery detailing to use as the template for the nickel tools. Because of the level and complexity of the detail, the designers could not depend on the standard engineering software. To get the look of handcrafted, custom workmanship and unique character of real leather, the template was handmade. The outcome was magnificent. Rather than mimic the leather design, the Elastoskin surface replicates it with precision. Named the Car of the Year by Esquire magazine, the 2010 Taurus is again a hit.
What others say:
"The interior is first-class all the way: high-grade materials, smart layout, highly visible controls." — Fortune Magazine
"We've regularly faulted American manufacturers for their use of hard plastics in interiors. The 2010 Taurus, like the new Mustang, has gone a long way in addressing that criticism." — Road and Track
"The new interior is well assembled and the materials have a higher-quality feel than before." — Consumer Reports