The latest sales numbers saw a steady increase in demand for small cars and crossovers but there were a few anomalies. Based on the sales of the Ford Crown Victoria you might have thought it was the hottest new product on the market. Anything but. Long beyond its original life expectancy the Crown Vic – the Panther platform to Ford insiders – is finally headed for the automotive rust heap.
Within days, the last Panther will have rolled off the assembly line at Ford Motor Company’s St. Thomas, Ontario, assembly plant. Through the 27th of August, the plant had produced 60,376 Crown Victorias, 10,390 Lincoln Town Cars and 165 Mercury Grand Marquis since the first of January 2011.
Last week, the production count was 1,724 Crown Vic—all to fill police or taxi orders—and 280 Town Cars. Not bad for a dead, but not quite gone, and certainly venerable, automobile family.
Never heard of the Panther? That was the code name that Ford Engineering and Product Planning folks assigned to the all-new “down-sized big car” that went on sale in the fall of 1978 as a 1979 model. In those days, Ford gave names such as Panther, Fox and Wyoming to all-new designs under development. No one could have predicted then that the basic Panther design would endure through thick and thin for 33 years.