In a sign of the times, Ford in 2015 unveiled its redesigned Taurus in China, where large sedans still sell in significant numbers.

With sedan sales on the decline in these parts, Ford didn't even bother introducing the redesigned car here and instead continued producing the previous generation for our market.

That was until Friday when the final Taurus rolled off the line at Ford's Chicago Assembly Plant, marking the end of North American production for the once cherished nameplate.

It was at the 1985 Los Angeles Auto Show that Ford first pulled the covers off the Taurus. Less than a decade later, the Taurus became the most popular nameplate in the country.

New Ford Taurus (Chinese spec)

New Ford Taurus (Chinese spec)

New Ford Taurus (Chinese spec)

New Ford Taurus (Chinese spec)

More than 8 million have been built at the Chicago Assembly Plant over 34 years of near continuous production. The only blip was when the Taurus went out of production in 2006, only to return a year later when Alan Mulally entered the scene.

This isn't an entirely sad story for the plant, which is also responsible for the Explorer. Ford will add 500 jobs and use the now freed up capacity to produce Lincoln Aviators.

The demise of the Taurus in North America was hardly a secret. Ford last April said it would drop all passenger cars bar the Mustang by 2020 as it transitions to a predominantly SUV and pickup truck lineup here.

To fill the void, the automaker is reviving some old nameplates and introducing new ones. The Ranger returned for 2019, for example, and a Bronco will be introduced for 2021. There will also be a baby Bronco, a Mustang-inspired electric SUV and more.