「華人戴明學院」是戴明哲學的學習共同體 ，致力於淵博型智識系統的研究、推廣和運用。 The purpose of this blog is to advance the ideas and ideals of W. Edwards Deming.
Playing At Dice - What That "Weekend Exercise" Was All About
By Skanderbeg Posted in Archived — Comments (28) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »'Morning, class!!
Prof. Skanderbeg was pleased to see that some of the readership actually took up the challenge of doing the homework assignment - and the exercise was valuable, since (judging by the comments) it did seem to be getting the point across.
Just to explain what that was all about, I thought I'd put some comments in a separate post.
There are basically three items to explain.
The short take is that using a pair of dice and summing up the results hands you about the simplest possible physical "system" that actually presents the real behavior of a "natural system" that is behaving statistically (rather than deterministically) - that is, it gives you a statistically-correct probability density function.
If you have one die, the probability density function is boring and trivial - each value has an equal 1/6th probability. But with two dice and the addition of the results, you get a very good and properly-behaved statistical system. That is, if you histogram-out the 36 possible additive combinations, there is a stable statistical mean value (7.0), and the distribution of other probabilities (out to 2 and 12) follows a Gaussian distribution.... along with proper standard deviation behavior and so forth. So it's about the cheapest and easiest laboratory for examining the behavior of statistical systems (both natural and man-made).
If a system is behaving "statistically," it will show a stable central mean, a Gaussian statistical distribution, and proper allocation of standard deviations. The two-dice system does this.
As "nilram" noted....
I wrote a quick perl program to simulate a dice roll and plugged the output into gnuplot. The average was 6.917, sd=2.37As long as you have access to a good pseudo-random number generator, you can code this up. (It's more spectacular to flummox people by doing the by-hand version with real dice, of course, but we can save that for when we're doing Congressional testimony.) From what I can tell, nilram's experiment involved 1000 rolls of the dice. I had done this some time ago with my own code and had rolled only 100, but produced the same results (though I rounded it off a bit more strongly, producing a mean of 6.9 and a standard deviation of 2.3). I'm too lazy this morning to actually go directly compute the standard deviation from the system histogram, but given that we got the same results from the same approach, I'd say that these are the real results for this statistical system.
The "bottom line" here is that a statistical system must be described in terms of not just its mean (average), but also in terms of its standard deviations. This two-dice system is very well-behaved and comprehensible.... but note that the standard deviation is rather large. That's the rub about dealing with "climate" and such - if you go look at any measured temperature data, the standard deviations (of say the high temperature for a particular place on a particular calendar date over a period of say a century) are huge - one standard deviation is at least multiple degrees, and frequently reaches double digits. This calls into question the sanity of obsessing over various forms of "data processing" that boil down to blind panic over apparent variations of fractions of a degree.
Sequential Plotting - The "Trend Chart"
So we have shown that we have a nice, simple statistical system to study and benchmark against - the humble pair-of-dice. Nothing strange about it.
Or is there? This gets us into the slightly wacky world of statistical process control (SPC). This is important stuff, and we should give much credit to Walter Shewhart and his protege W. Edwards Deming for their insights in this field. The name "Deming" might ring a bell, even though (sadly) he is no longer with us; he is the famous "quality guru" who finally got his due in the 1980s. He was the first to realize the implications of SPC for manufacturing; he got brushed off in the U.S. (especially by Detroit), but got a ready audience in Japan, where his ideas were adopted enthusiastically by the nascent Japanese auto industry.... and the rest is history.
The short take (too short) is that in a manufacturing process, the first goal is to create a stable process - that is, one that is (of course) meeting the basic targets but which has been "stabilized" - that is, under monitoring, it is behaving statistically, with a stable central statistical mean, a Gaussian profile to the bulk data, and reasonable standard deviations. The first task in stabilization is to get the mean to the right place, and then to get the magnitude of the standard deviations down to an acceptable level - without, of course, dorking up the stability along the way. When that has been achieved, the process is healthy and ready for routine manufacturing use.
But here is where the Deming-based "fun" really starts. You need to have ways of deciding if the process is indeed stabilized - and, perhaps more importantly in the long run, if a "stabilized" process is actually remain stable (statistically), or if it is actually systematically drifting away from the desired stability - and heading toward moving away from acceptability.
This is where SPC comes into play. The simplest approach is to identify a few things that you can actually measure well and measure sequentially - the thickness of a thin film layer, the width of a metal rod, whatever. As "stuff" comes along, you sequentially measure a list of items, and plot the trend that they show.
When you make plots of this sort, you can start to see trends - and this is where Deming's brilliant insight came into play. A well-behaved, well-centered statistical system will, when examined "sequentially," appear to show trends that look like "drift." This is how nature behaves, but if people don't know that, they tend to panic. They see an apparent trend, think that the manufacturing process is drifting, and make changes to the process to correct the "drift." Now they really have changed the process, but they've basically dorked it and it then does become broken - to the great cost of the manufacturing, who suddenly can't make things - as the engineers involved run around in circles chasing the "trend" that really isn't there.
That's the challenge of SPC - the need to be able to determine if some apparent "trend" represents a real, systematic drift of the process - or if it's just a statistical fluctuation.
Does that challenge sound at all familiar in the "climate change" context?
As "bennjneb" asked,
What point are you trying to make by recording a bunch of dice rolls?Prof. Skanderbeg gave out the homework assignment of basically creating a "trend chart" (or control chart) for the simple system of the two dice. If you do this, you will actually see sections that will seem to show a "trend" of some sort - an apparently significant trend of the numbers rising or falling. If you haven't tried this yourself, it's a highly recommended learning exercise - literally one of the most enlightening (about nature) that one can do.
So as "rdbwiggins" replied,
Given the degree of extrapolation required to determine the average temperature of the earth at any given point in time, random rolls of the dice would be about as accurate at predicting future climate change as the current computer models.Yes, that's more or less the point. If the system is behaving statistically, it will show apparent sequential trends that in reality are mirages. The dice experiment demonstrates that - and if you look at statistical and sequential temperature data, you see the exact same behavior!
Now, "Neil Stevens" said something really interesting:
Red Paint causes global warming!I'm assuming this is actually a report of results. But it basically gets the point. If you take some red dice and also some green dice and roll them independently, they can both have the exact same bulk statistical behavior - yet they can show completely different apparent trends!
I'm serious! In clinical trials, red dice show HIGHER average climate temperatures than any other color!
This is why we must be careful with any "data" regarding climate and/or temperature and/or whatever. We are looking at a system that is behaving statistically - not deterministically. Trying to impose determinism onto a statistically-behaving system leads to conclusions that are comical - except when they cause you to "intervene" and take the manufactured-product yield to zero.... or to destroy the global economy and global society.
(N.b. I'm aware of Nassim Taleb's book "Fooled by Randomness" - in fact, a copy of it is in my "travel reading stack" and will come to the top on some plane at some point. His "The Black Swan" seems to be showing up everywhere - I have that as well, but haven't read it yet either. The touchstone on this for Prof. Skanderbeg was Henry Neave's "The Deming Dimension," which looked at SPC in manufacturing and then went beyond to apply it to other things. Later in his long and productive life, Dr. Deming got interested in notions of how SPC principles were catastrophically not being understood in a variety of other settings. I really wish he were alive today to comment on SPC and "climate change." I honestly believe that he'd produce an analysis much like this one.)
Viewpoint: Specifics, not slogans, are what China needs
International Herald Tribune - France
Whether by coincidence or design, the US Congress gave the spiritual leader of Tibet its highest civilian award the same week that China hosted its National ...
Gallup has developed a powerful new approach to measuring and managing human performance -- HumanSigma.
"When The Gallup Organization applied Six Sigma principles to sales and service groups at several companies, it learned how much performance variation exists between seemingly similar work groups. Managing that variability can raise overall performance by orders of magnitude and create organic growth."
-- from "Manage Your Human Sigma," Harvard Business Review, July/August 2005其實這是很淺顯的 Deming 哲學的一小部分 但是我想記的是 Kevin 在07年10/23 幫助我們download這篇
causes and symptoms
Quote from W. Edwards Deming:
Manage the cause, not the result.
菩薩重因 眾生重果 cause and effect (diagram)
cause━━ n. 原因, もと; 理由 ((to do)); 動機 ((for)); 【法】訴訟（の事由）; 事件; 問題; 大義, 主義, 主張; 名分; 大目的; 運動.
symptom━━ n. 徴候, しるし; 【医】症候.
Our customers should take joy in our products and services.
Britain needs cheering up.The UK - according to official statistics- suffers much higher levels of depression and anxiety than the restof Europe. The government wants to remedy the problem. It plans toprovide more psychological counselling on the state-run NationalHealth Service. But critics say that counselling is an ineffectivetreatment and that the government should address the causes ofdepression rather than trying to deal only with its symptoms. FromLondon Stephen Beard reports:
|Saturday, October 20, 2007 9:41 A.M.|
Quote from W. Edwards Deming:
What makes a scientist great is the care that he takes in telling you what is wrong with his results, so that you will not misuse them.
How Curiosity Empowers Toyota
The carmaker's determined willingness to try new ideas has allowed it to build a commercial fortress and an astonishing record of success
Pundits and professors have been trying for decades to figure out what makes Toyota (TM) so successful—but many may have been looking in the wrong places. In his new book, How Toyota Became #1 (Portfolio; November, 2007), David Magee convincingly argues that the spirit of Toyota people, as much as anything, has determined Toyota's success.
Toyota's performance (BusinessWeek.com, 04/24/07) has been stunning. The company has not lost money in a single quarter since 1951. As U.S. automotive powerhouses are drowning in red ink, Toyota earned its highest ever net profit in 2006—$17 billion.
So what keeps Toyota growing and improving year after year? In his book, Magee suggests the driver is a handful of principles embedded deeply in the company, including a respect for people, a willingness to take a long-term view, and the determination to improve the business a little bit every day.
As I read Magee's book one idea kept surfacing in my mind. Throughout its history, Toyota appears to have put an emphasis on an important but oft-overlooked characteristic: Curiosity. You can trace Toyota's institutionalized curiosity back to its founder, Sakichi Toyoda (1867-1930), who became interested in improving the effectiveness of weaving looms, and who went on to revolutionize weaving technology in Japan and secure more than 100 patents on his ideas. You might say Toyota's founder was "loopy" for looms. Not content just to build the best looms in Japan, Toyoda traveled to Europe, toured leading Western loom makers, and carried key ideas back to Japan. Son Kiichiro Toyoda carried on his father's tradition of curiosity—and a visit to a Detroit auto plant in the 1920s inspired him to move a renamed Toyota into the car business.
For more than 70 years, Toyota's curiosity has allowed it to build, brick by brick, a commercial fortress. It has scanned the globe for the best ideas—from styling to manufacturing to quality management—and imbued those ideas with a power that often surprises even the people who came up with them in the first place.
Late for a Meeting
Reading Magee's book I was reminded of the story of Bjarni Herjólfsson—the man who almost discovered the New World. En route to Greenland to visit family in 986, Herjólfsson was blown off course and ended up off the coast of Newfoundland. He and his crew sat in their boat and gazed at a huge, undiscovered continent—which, as it turned out, held some of the richest resources on earth. There was only one problem: Herjólfsson and his crew didn't go ashore. Instead, they turned their boats toward Greenland. After all, they were late for a meeting with family.
Herjólfsson told lots of people about this strange new land, but it would be more than 10 years before anyone would go to investigate—when Erik the Red would buy Herjólfsson's boat and explore, establishing the first European settlement in the New World.
What was the difference between the man who almost discovered the New World and the one who actually did? Simple. One was willing to go ashore, the other wasn't.
"Going ashore" appears to be a culture imperative at Toyota. W. Edwards Deming's concepts of quality management were in wide circulation in the 1950s, but it was Toyota engineers that "went ashore" with his ideas—developing the Toyota Production System, its patented manufacturing methodology. The conceptual ideas of quality management led the carmaker to pioneer such practices as design for manufacturing and lean production. In short, Toyota went ashore in the world of quality.
Cruising Right By
People in the automobile business had been talking for years about hybrid vehicles, sailing along the shores of the New World of automobile fuel economy. Once again, Toyota stepped up—and is expected to sell 430,000 Prius cars in 2007, a 40% jump over 2006 sales.
Perhaps the most important thing a leader of any organization can do is to try to encourage a spirit of going ashore. Too often in the world of work, people hurry from commitment to commitment without noticing the landscape around them—people and companies cruise right by amazing opportunities that are under their noses.
And going ashore is not just important to the behemoths like Toyota. I spent the past five years studying the performance of more than 7,000 growth companies. When I identified the top nine performers over a 23-year period and compared their operations to similar outfits with less impressive performance, one point stood out: Companies achieving breakthrough performance employed workers with great curiosity. These companies pioneered new products, discovered new markets, and created innovative approaches at a much faster rate than their competitors. They went ashore, and reaped the benefits of doing so.
Keith McFarland, a two-time technology CEO, is the founder of McFarland Strategy Partners in Sandy, Utah.
Out of the Crisis: Is the US Treasury Crossing Into 'Moral Hazard ...
Seeking Alpha - New York,NY,USA
NB: The title is a reference to and in honor of W. Edwards Deming, one of the true geniuses in the fields of process engineering and organizational ...
Kevin Lin 周六從台中來 鼓勵 買"戴明領導手冊"多本
Justing Kuo 周日從台中來 送好茶 (Kevin說 它的可運作定義是什麼)
熊先生(Peter)的午餐 客家菜 鈦金屬產業
2007年 華人Deming 學院年會
《新北投新民路一巷5號 6樓（過新民國中在新民路 25號後，左轉十公尺「貴園別莊」內；Tel. 02-2894 6100 ）：開車很方便 附近新民國中巷有許多停車位》。捷運 (往)「淡水線」，在「北投站」下（不出站），直接過月台，轉「新北投」線即到。
大略想談一有趣的問題：老闆不表態支持情況下，部屬能有怎樣的作為；Peter 維強 「一粒種子的故事.」；Justing郭可以根我們說螺絲與茶葉的故事；鍾漢清談某苗栗牙科醫生如何經營出北台灣一片天……；
Quote from W. Edwards Deming:
Quote from W. Edwards Deming:
Forces of Destruction: grades in school, merit system, incentive pay, business plans, quotas.
"It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory."
Any two people have different ideas of what is important.
Does experience help? NO! Not if we are doing the wrong things.
Management's job is to improve the system.
You can not achieve an aim unless you have a method.
If you do not know how to ask the right question, you discover nothing.
People care more for themselves when they contribute to the system.
If you destroy the people of a company, you do not have much left.
The customer invents nothing. New products and new services come from the producer.
Improve quality, you automatically improve productivity.
Retroactive management emphasizes the bottom line.
We can do something about our problems, or we can continue the way we are.
The process is not just the sum of its parts.
Off we go to the...Milky Way!
You can not plan to make a discovery. You do not plan innovation.
Judging people does not help them.
People need to know how their job contributes.
2007年 華人Deming 學院年會
《新北投新民路一巷5號 6樓（過新民國中在新民路 25號後，左轉十公尺「貴園別莊」內；
Tel. 02-2894 6100 ）：開車很方便 附近新民國中巷有許多停車位》。捷運 (往)「淡水線」，在「北投站」下（不出站），直接過月台，轉「新北投」線即到。
Peter 維強 「一粒種子的故事及發展」；
今年美國The W. Edwards Deming Institute 的秋會（Fall Conference）在10月中兩天（October 13-14, 2007），紀念活動主題為：合作共同探討通往未來的全面觀照之橋 ( To Explore Together A Wholistic Bridge To The Future)。學院成立的宗旨，效法美國的，相當高遠：The aim of the Institute is to foster understanding of The Deming System of Profound Knowledge™ to advance commerce, prosperity and peace.
|Wednesday, September 19, 2007 12:09 P.M.|
Quote from W. Edwards Deming:
We do not know what quality is.
我想，Deming博士的System of Profound Knowledge™，可以從許多角度來探討。我今年姑且提出超越狹義品質、廣義品質（small quality、big quality）的方式，採用「深義品質文化」來討論2007年的世界大趨勢（參考：狹義文化、廣義文化、深義文化等，這三個層次由狹而廣，由表及里，由淺入深，共同組成一個立體的文化定義和文化類型的分析模式：而「深義文化」則最終構成一個民族的靈魂。（周一良 "郊叟曝言"(北京:新世界出版社，2001，頁74)））
這，總讓人想起我們去年的年會之效應。因為有David Hsu的加入、激動，所以我在2007年發行了一百多期『品質時報』 （Quality Times）（放在「中文品質百科」和「品質論壇」兩網誌（blogs）之中—這blogs也是2007年上半年主要耕耘的對象；之後我們將主力放在可以偶爾產生廣告收益的blogs上頭）。當然，Stanley在尋智網站紀念忠樸逝世五周年的網路活動，也如期舉行中。
將這blog取名”台灣戴明圈: A Taiwanese Deming Circle”是有些故事的。
不過我2006年還夢想出版一雙月刊，就想取名”台灣戴明圈: A Taiwanese Deming Circle”。完成到8成，我還是放棄。
我們產業界的人都知道品管圈。英文family circle 指近親圈子。哲學界上有所謂「維也納圈」的。總之，他們往來都是「圈內人」。
2006年W. Edwards Deming 博士紀念交流會
* 新生代：我(hc)知道這 “Ctrl+c”和Ctrl+v”的說法，是從何先生處學來的。
參考 2007年8月16日 星期四：Deming Medal (2007) – Peter R. Scholtes and his books
2007/10/5 讀The Economist 關於Hillary的專文，其中說到2008年美國新總統要具備的一種特質是要能與同盟者合作，醫治因為這7-8年美國採取強硬/暴力方式在國際間所造成的關係和形象之創傷。 子標題為Hillary the healer?
The third challenge for the next American president requires a different set of qualities: he or she will have to be a healer, both at home and abroad.
這種觀念在組織層面在Peter Scholtes 在The Leader Handbook 提出 Healing Organization之概念，我將它翻譯為「康復式組織」。
The Rerunning of the Bulls
ATTENTION, please: the winner of the 2008 Do-Over and Do-Again Award (known as “The Do-Do”) is the 2008 Ford Taurus and Taurus X.
The Do-Do recognizes the automaker who tries the hardest to compensate for not having taken full advantage of the opportunity when originally introducing a vehicle. And the Taurus and Taurus X were the odds-on favorites to win the Do-Do this year — most likely because I created the award with these very same vehicles in mind.
To understand the significance of this prestigious (aren’t they all?) award, it may be helpful to review a few basics.
Consumers who thought the Taurus was dead are right. It was replaced by the Ford Five Hundred, which was introduced as a 2005 model (though in fact Ford continued to turn out Tauri until October 2006 for the low-margin fleet market). At the same time, Ford introduced a crossover-wagon variant called the Freestyle.
But when the Five Hundred didn’t catch on, Ford decided to try an increasingly popular tactic: resurrecting the name of a well-known vehicle. That’s how the 2008 Five Hundred became the Taurus and the Freestyle became the Taurus X. It is unclear whether the Pinto or Mustang II names were ever considered.
A big reason Ford execs give for the name change is that “Taurus” is more familiar, but somebody apparently forgot to tell the salespeople. A late-August survey of about 300 Ford salespeople in 27 markets found 81 percent were not consistently calling the new vehicles “Taurus,” according to CNW Marketing Research of Bandon, Ore. About 20 percent admitted they always called the Taurus the Five Hundred.
In fairness, this is not just a name game. A lot of improvements have been made to the 2008 Taurus. Still, Ford redefines elasticity in the way it stretches the point with ads that declare the car to be the “all-new Taurus.”
There are two Taurus sedan models, the SEL and the Limited. Each is available with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The front-wheel drive SEL is $23,995, which includes plenty of standard equipment; one could stop there and not feel deprived. The Limited is fancier, with features including leather upholstery and a price starting at $27,595.
For the Taurus X, there are three trim levels: SEL, Eddie Bauer and Limited. The SEL is $27,365; the Eddie Bauer is $29,720 and the Limited is $30,700.
Those who face snow-covered hills can get all-wheel-drive versions of either the Taurus or the X for another $1,850. I tested a Taurus Limited with all-wheel drive. It had a base price of $29,445 and options including an easy-to-use navigation system ($1,995) and electronic stability control ($495), bringing the total to $32,605.
Later I tried a Taurus X Limited with all-wheel drive and a base price of $32,550. But Ford loaded that car up with options, including a navigation system, DVD player ($995) and the Limited Ultimate Package with a power liftgate and heated second-row seats ($825). The total came to $38,160.
The exteriors have been reworked, with the most noticeable change being the three-bar chrome grille that is becoming the shiny new face of Ford. When the Five Hundred and Freestyle were introduced, some top Ford execs worried that they looked too conservative, and this grille was the antidote.
There are no meaningful changes in the exterior or interior dimensions, so the sedan still has a huge expanse of legroom in the second row. In the Taurus X wagon, the second row legroom comes close to matching the sedan, but only when the second-row seat — which moves forward and backward 3.5 inches — is all the way back. Unfortunately when the second row is in its rearmost position, the third row is best suited to a small child.
Access to the third row is made easier because the second-row seats can be easily flipped forward. There is even a power seat-flipping option. But getting to the third row still takes the kind of hip-swivel-and-twist maneuver that is best left to youngsters or supple adults.
The sedan’s trunk is an enormous 21 cubic feet, which makes the luggage compartments of the main competitors from Honda, Toyota and Chrysler look more like ill-placed gloveboxes. And there is an ample amount of cargo space behind the third row in the Taurus X.
The interiors also look a little nicer, have more soundproofing and are comfortable places to be. Still, some of the heating and ventilation controls are too small, requiring a search-to-deploy approach.
The most important change is the switch to a more powerful (263 horsepower) 3.5-liter V-6 engine, said Michael Liubakka, the vehicle engineering manager for both the sedan and wagon.
Originally the Five Hundred and Freestyle came with a 3-liter V-6 rated at a mere 203 horsepower, which didn’t seem like much for such large vehicles. Ford executives scoffed at the scoffers, insisting there would be plenty of power. They suggested that the V-6 would work particularly well with Ford’s new continuously variable transmission because its use of belts — instead of a limited number of gears — would provide near-instant acceleration.
So much for Ford’s claims: the 3-liter V-6 is gone, along with the much-promoted variable transmission, which has been replaced with a new six-speed automatic developed jointly with General Motors.
The 60 extra horses are offset a little because the Taurus and Taurus X weigh some 75 to 100 pounds more. That pushes the all-wheel-drive Taurus X to about 4,200 pounds and the all-wheel-drive Taurus to 3,930 pounds.
Nevertheless, the new engine gives these vehicles the acceleration they needed from the beginning, albeit at the cost of scary thrills when merging onto a busy Interstate. Car and Driver magazine clocked the front-drive Taurus sedan at 6.8 seconds from zero to 60 m.p.h., about a second faster — a significant improvement — than the old Five Hundred.
In addition, the 3.5-liter V-6 plays well with the six-speed automatic, which goes about its gear-to-gear business in an eager and generally refined way.
The all-wheel-drive sedan is rated at 17 m.p.g. in the city and 24 m.p.g. on the highway, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s new ratings, which try to be more realistic. The front-drive sedan is rated at 18 m.p.g. city and 28 m.p.g. highway. The Taurus X is rated at 16 m.p.g. city and 24 m.p.g. highway with front-wheel drive and 15/22 with all-wheel drive.
From the beginning, the Five Hundred and Freestyle got good marks for their handling, although there were a few complaints that the ride was a bit stiff. The suspensions of the Taurus and Taurus X have been reworked with the goal of improving ride quality without a loss of handling prowess, Mr. Liubakka said.
Indeed, the Taurus and Taurus X ride comfortably on rough surfaces and still handle surprisingly well for their size. They are not agile enough to delude the driver into imagining these are smaller vehicles. But it is reassuring to know that despite their bulk they can respond quickly under demanding circumstances like a surprisingly sharp turn.
The sedan’s capability was demonstrated while traveling briskly near Franconia, N.H., when a turn that appeared to be gentle suddenly hooked around and became much tighter. At the same time, instead of the road having nice, nurturing banking to help guide the car through the turn, the road was off camber. That means it was angled down and away as if the goal was to flummox suspensions and fling vehicles into the woods. The all-wheel-drive Taurus hunkered down and completed the turn without any trauma.
Standard safety equipment includes antilock brakes as well as air curtains, which cover the side windows and offer head protection in a side-impact crash. The front seats also have seat-mounted air bags for chest protection. Studies have shown such equipment can significantly improve the chances of surviving a side-impact crash.
Another established lifesaver, electronic stability control, is standard only on the Taurus X. On the other models — including the fancy Limited version of the sedan — it is a $495 option. That’s an odd decision for a company that boasts about its emphasis on safety. Even the least expensive Honda Accord sedan comes with electronic stability control as standard fare, although it is an option on all Toyota Camrys except the Hybrid, on which it is standard.
The Taurus (and its close cousin, the Mercury Sable) is the top-rated family sedan in the severe front, side and rear crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety; and when equipped with electronic stability control it gets the ultimate accolade of Top Safety Pick.
The Taurus X also gets the Top Safety Pick designation — one of only three domestic midsize S.U.V.’s to get that label. The other two are also from Ford: the Edge and the Lincoln MKX.
In the end, the 2008 Taurus and Taurus X are attractive vehicles, but not benchmarks. If only Ford had introduced the Five Hundred and Freestyle with these upgrades, the cars could have been blockbusters, the names destined to be legendary instead of historical footnotes.
But Ford fumbled badly and gave competitors like G.M. time to field ultra-competitive vehicles like the Buick Enclave, while Chrysler came out with its 300 and Dodge Charger sedans and Toyota and Honda created larger Camrys and Accords. It was generous of Ford to provide this grace period, but perhaps charity should have begun at home.
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