Companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to pick names for their products. They have to sound good, be memorable, and not accidentally mean something offensive in other languages. Despite the number of words, the pool of usable names is actually quite small (and shrinking every day). So even a made-up word like “Integra” was almost used by Ford to launch the original Taurus.
The Ford Taurus looked incredibly futuristic when it launched in 1986. That was largely due to having flush headlamps and an aero nose at a time when most American sedans still had chrome bumpers, big chrome upgright grilles, and even remnants of tailfin. It was so futuristic, producers immediately put a bunch of them in 1987’s Robocop‘s dystopian landscape.
As Ford Authority describes, Taurus was always the internal working name for the car, but it was originally planned to launch with a different moniker. According to the book Taurus: The Making of the Car That Saved Ford by Eric Taub, the leading launch name was Integra, the first choice recommended by J. Walter Thompson, Ford’s marketing agency.
Integra was in the running with 20 names in a 1982 list, many of which have since been picked by other automakers: Aerostar, Probe, Telstar (taken by Ford); Forte, Genesis, Optima, Spectra (Hyundai/Kia), Lucerne (Buick, also milk); Lumina (Chevrolet); and Tiara (though it had already been used by Toyota in the 60s). The list contained some pretty silly names as well: Ancona, Destiny, Fanta (like the soda), Logic, Ultra, Innotek, and Entry (perhaps it would have paired well with the Probe).
Ultimately, Taurus did prevail and lasted until 2019. If history had played out differently, Integra might not have the same ring as it does today. Or we may all be pining for Acura Fanta Type Rs. Nowadays, we’re just waiting for the Ford Skyline.