Ford’s North American lineup will be experiencing a major overhaul over the next couple of years, with the entire lineup expected to be completely upgraded by 2010 and six new European models set to join the ranks. The biggest impact is the considerable shift towards smaller vehicles and more fuel-efficient powertrains as both a near and mid-term response to changing demand.

Ford has now confirmed that it will be dropping the Taurus X and Mercury Sable, with production on both models set to end the first and second quarters, respectively, of next year. Dealers have already been told to start taking final orders.

The fullsize Sable sedan doesn’t fit in with Ford’s plan to realign the Mercury brand with smaller cars and crossovers, while the introduction of the new Flex crossover makes the aging Taurus X redundant.

Both vehicles are built at the Ford’s Chicago assembly plant, which recently began production of the Lincoln MKS sedan, and which also produces the Ford Taurus sedan on the same platform. According to Automotive News, poor sales of both vehicles - down almost 41% for the Taurus X and 21% for the Sable – meant that Ford sold just 15,586 Sables for the year to date, while the Taurus X managed to sell only 22,141 units. In this way the decision to drop the vehicles makes sound economic sense for Ford, as well as helping to promote a range of smaller and more efficient cars.