Not so Smart Now, Eh Mr. Bond? Ford Unveils Explorer America

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

At a press conference at the Detroit Auto Show, Ford's presidente de las Américas Mark Fields has rechristened Ford's former cash cow a "Smart Utility Vehicle." In other words, the new Ford Explorer will be a unit-body vehicle with "best in class" towing. Yes, well, the D3 chassis upon which the Explorer will sit on is something of a loser, having failed to ignite sales for the Ford Taurus, Taurus X, Five Hundred; Mercury Sable and Volvo S80 (the Swede with the more expensive aluminum springy bits underneath). On the positive side, the Explorer will get the new Twin-Force– sorry, "Eco-Boost" twin-turbo, which looks like one Hell of a motor. The changes to the Explorer are designed to stem the model's rapid and stratospheric fall from grace; down 23.1 percent this year alone. But the introduction of a new cuter ute also represents a gamble that the Explorer's non-real-SUV fans (a.k.a. concrete cowboys) haven't already left for greener pastures. Not to mention all the "real" truck fans who won't touch the new model with a ten foot pole. Besides, how many crossovers does Ford actually need?

Click here for more TTAC pictures of the Explorer America

[Reported by Sajeev Mehta]

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Guyincognito Guyincognito on Jan 13, 2008

    The Edge is actually the sibling of the CX-7 and based on the Mazda 6, so I don't see too much overlap there. This Explorer design is rational when you view the plummeting sales of the current version. It has to change into a more efficient vehicle. However, in the context of their upcoming line-up, most notably the Flex and Taurus X (if not cancelled) which are based on the same platform, it does seem rather redundant. Also, the chances of this vehicle wieghing in at less than the outgoing Explorer are slim to none, so I fail to see where they'll improve the efficiency by going to the unibody design. And unibody vehicles are more expensive to build than their body on frame counterparts. Perhaps the SUV fans who don't use their SUV for anything other than people moving (which is most of them) will prefer the chunkier styling of this SUV and move enough of them to lower costs and improve profits for all of its siblings.

  • Samir Syed Samir Syed on Jan 13, 2008

    Escape, Taurus X, Explorer, Flex, Edge. Why such hyper-segmentation, Ford ?

  • Johnster Johnster on Jan 14, 2008

    This new Explorer, with it's macho boxy styling, will replace the both the old body-on-frame Explorer and the Taurus X. It will be a direct competitor to the GM's Enclave/Outlook/Acadia/Traverse. GM is reportedly going to discontinue the Saab 9-7X/Isuzu Ascender/GMC Envoy/Chevy TrailBlazer and is looking to the Enclave/Outlook/Acadia/Traverse and possible future derivatives to replace them. People who want something with a higher towing capacity will buy a GMC Yukon or Chevy Tahoe in GM's case, or a Ford Expedition in Ford's. It's hardly an original move on Ford's part, just another example of meeting the competition directly, but with the "cachet" of the Explorer name.

  • Jurisb Jurisb on Jan 14, 2008

    And another one american platform is going to push up daisies. Why can`t we call the events the real names? Let`s face it! The next generation Explorer is going to be built on a japanese Mazda 6 platform. leaving ford with how many NA engineered platforms? 1? just let me get this straight......wait a minute, so you are trying to say that the third biggest car manufacturer in the world has 1( one, ein, uno) of its own engineered platforms?