Whatever Happened to the Ford Explorer?

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

As I stated in my post on the new Ford Fiesta, I’m a big fan of the current gen Ford Explorer. As Frank reports in his latest By The Numbers, the gas-hungry SUVs sales have rolled-over and died (so to speal). They’re down by 53.9 percent in August, off by 37.8 percent year-to-date. From a marketing point-of-view, Ford has walked away from the Explorer. When was the last time you saw an ad for one? Ford’s media site has just 11 pictures of the ’09 model, three of which show the sat nav head unit (the new gas cap also receives an honorable depiction). And yet the Explorer a profitable vehicle for Ford (still). It’s a safe, practical, comfortable, reliable, versatile machine. And it’s cheap (high 20’s to low 30’s for the V8). Is that so hard to understand? Or communicate? My suspicion is that Ford can’t launch a balls-to-the-wall “wouldn’t you really rather be driving an SUV?” ad campaign when it’s busy lobbying for umpteen billion of your tax dollars to, at least in theory, build plug-in electric hybrid diesel-powered E85-compatible hydrogen fuel cell gas sippers. It’s a shame, because the Explorer is exactly the kind of highly-evolved, maximum brand equity vehicle Ford should be building. And selling.

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  • 07Frontier 07Frontier on Sep 16, 2008

    davey49 Personally I don't care for the Explorer's styling, but others like you and my wife's brother, do. And there is still demand for them, albeit a diminished one. He just bought an '04 for the same reasons you mentioned.

  • Quasimondo Quasimondo on Sep 16, 2008
    Please tell me you’re kidding. Nope. The difference between the Explorer's stereo and everyone else's? The Explorer speakers had real bass, and lots of it. The various rentals I've had, other fleet vehicles, and even my personal cars don't have that, and when you crank the volume, it's like turning up the volume on your laptop computer. That makes a big difference, whether you're listening to Mozart of Mos Def.
  • Shaker Shaker on Sep 16, 2008

    A friend has an '08, and I found that the inside door release handles are quite ergonomic.

  • Davey49 Davey49 on Sep 16, 2008

    gibbleth- good point, the lure of a full size could be too much for the people who want the capability and the deals on the Expedition or Tahoe might lure people that way.