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The New Car-Based Ford Explorer

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On: Thu, May 20, 2010 at 4:12PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

The New Car-Based Ford Explorer

The new re-designed Ford Explorer crossover (concept version pictured) is scheduled to arrive at dealerships later this year. Many advocates of the Explorer want to know if the SUV-turned-crossover will have the same level of ruggedness and towing capacity when it gets built on a car chassis instead of a truck.

Ford plans to continue marketing the Explorer as an SUV even after the redesign project. Aaron Bragman, automotive analyst responded: "They can call it whatever they like. It's built on a Taurus platform, so it is actually a crossover."

Analysts believe that the new Explorer (which hasn't even been seen by the public yet) will probably not meet the expectations of Ford's SUV customers.  Some believe that the new Explorer may be competition for other Ford Crossovers such as the Ford Flex, which has not been a great hit for Ford so far.

The present model Explorer has seen a sales increase of 41% and, so far this year, has outsold the Flex (the Flex saw a sales increase of only 16% this year).

Ford is hoping that the new Explorer will be a hit with a different type of consumer, possibly a car buyer with a large family. The new Explorer will be a seven passenger vehicle with three rows of seats, just like the Flex. Ford reports that 70% of current Explorer buyers already select the extra row of seats which indicates to the company that they may be interested in the three row crossover conversion of the Explorer.

"When you see it, you know it's a Ford, you will know it is an SUV, and you will know it's a very modern interpretation of our Explorer," according to Jim Holland, Ford’s engineer in charge of the redesign project.

As a prior owner of an Explorer, I personally disagree. To me there is a fine line between a crossover and a station wagon, regardless of the seating capacity required. I selected my Explorer mainly because of the truck style and durability. If you ask me, the Subaru/crossover people are just not the same as us truck and SUV owners. I would much rather step down to a smaller SUV and, in my opinion, many other Explorer owners probably feel the same. So good luck, Ford, in trying to pass the new Explorer off as an SUV! I believe that your loyal Explorer buyers will probably notice there is a slight difference when they step into the redesigned 68 inch high car. . . oh, I meant SUV, instead of what used to be the 78 inch Explorer (which was the height of my limited Eddie Bauer Edition).

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