Ford: 4-Cylinder Explorer, V6 F-150 Launching "By The End Of The Year"

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
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ford 4 cylinder explorer v6 f 150 launching by the end of the year

Ford’s relationship with hybrid technology has been an on-again-off-again affair, since Bill Ford first pledged to build 250k hybrids by 2010. And it’s probably a good thing the Blue Oval backed away from that promise, as the firm sold only 33,502 hybrids last year. Meanwhile, Ford still has yet to claim profitability on any of its hybrids (last disclaiming such an achievement (sort of) in 2008). Perhaps because Ford has paid dearly to tag along in the import-dominated hybrid segments, it’s getting a bit jaded about the power of high-cost, high-tech green halo cars to deliver real results. Or, perhaps Ford’s VP of powertrain engineering Barb Samardzich is simply channeling old Henry Ford, when she says:

We are focused on sustainable technology solutions that can be used not for hundreds or thousands of cars, but for millions of cars, because that’s how Ford will truly make a difference

We’ve heard this before, but today’s news puts the four-cylinder future into perfect context in just five words: Four. Cylinder. Explorer. This. Year.

Ford’s Ecoboost strategy (which, in addition to downized engines, direct injection and turbocharging, apparently includes weight-loss measures) is rolling onwards, with Ford announcing three new applications for 2010. The first, a 1.6 liter four cylinder, will only be available this year on the European C-Max MPV (but cross your fingers for an eventual Fiesta appearance). The other two are aimed straight at the heart of Ford’s US market share: the Taurus SHO’s 3.5 liter twin-turbo V6 is headed for rear-drive versions of the F-150, and the forthcoming Explorer will be powered by a 2.0 Ecoboost four-pot engine.

There’s even some poetic justice in the rehabilitation of the former poster child for America’s era of SUV excess. Billy Ford’s only-220k-units-off prediction of hybrid dominance was formulated in the wake of his backdown from a previous goal of improving SUV efficiency 25 percent by 2005. Ten years after that broken promise was made, and with much water under the bridge, Ford might just be building the Explorer William Clay Jr had in mind back then.

And though the company’s new emphasis on incremental change across large volumes is certainly in the best Ford traditions, there’s room to question how committed the firm really is to its new strategy. Why, for example, will stop-start systems, a relatively cheap mass-market efficiency improver, only reach 20 percent of Ford nameplates by 2014? Why is Ford insisting on rebodying a Magna-supplied EV as a green-halo Focus?

Although many questions about Ford’s efficiency/environmental strategy remain open, EcoBoost has clearly succeeded on the marketing front. By bundling a suite of strategies and technologies, most of which were not invented in Dearborn, and selling them hard, Ford is building brand equity in a name that it will be able to capitalize in the short- to medium-term. Instead of leapfrogging Toyota’s hybrids technologically, as Chevy’s Volt seeks to do, Ford is bringing as many of its cars as close as possible to hybrid level performance, with less cost and (potentially) less risk. Given Ford’s history, that’s not a bad approach at all.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • JMII JMII on Apr 13, 2010

    Ford if your listening: V6 Eco-boost Ranger-sized pickup please. If not I'm keeping my Dakota V8 forever, it has the right size & right power - just miserable mileage. The F150 is TOO big! As for a boosted 4 in the Explorer - if it was a diesel then maybe... but the only way a turbo 4 would work is in an Escape-sized CUV. So why not try to hit the MPG out of the park: combine a diesel turbo 4 with the current Escape Hybrid?

  • PartsUnknown PartsUnknown on Apr 13, 2010

    Everyone - relax. The vehicle in the pic is a test mule - Flex front clip, Taurus X from the A-pillar back. The new Explorer will look nothing like this. This pic, and many others, have been floating around different auto sites for a few months.

  • ToolGuy I appreciate the thoughtful comments from the little people here, and I would like to remind everyone that Ford Motor Company offers a full range of vehicles which are ideal for any driving environment including New York City. The size and weight our of product portfolio has been fully and completely optimized to be friendly to the planet and friendly to pedestrians while consuming the bare minimum of resources from our precious planet (I am of course a lifelong environmentalist). Plus, our performance models will help you move forward and upward by conquering obstacles and limits such as congestion and your fellow humans more quickly at a higher rate of speed. I invite you to learn more at our website.Signed, William Clay Ford Jr.
  • George Hughes What ever happened to the American can-do attitude. I know what, it was coopted by the fossil fuel industry in their effort to protect their racket.
  • 28-Cars-Later "But Assemblyman Phil Ting, the San Franciscan Democrat who wrote the electric school bus legislation, says this is all about the health and wellbeing of Golden State residents. In addition to the normal air pollution stemming from exhaust gasses, he believes children are being exposed to additional carcinogens by just being on a diesel bus."Phil is into real estate, he doesn't know jack sh!t about science or medicine and if media were real it would politely remind him his opinions are not qualified... if it were real. Another question if media were real is why is a very experienced real estate advisor and former tax assessor writing legislation on school busses? If you read the rest of his bio after 2014, his expertise seems to be applied but he gets into more and more things he's not qualified to speak to or legislate on - this isn't to say he isn't capable of doing more but just two years ago Communism™ kept reminding me Dr. Fauxi knew more about medicine than I did and I should die or something. So Uncle Phil just gets a pass with his unqualified opinions?Ting began his career as a real estate  financial adviser at  Arthur Andersen and  CBRE. He also previously served as the executive director of the  Asian Law Caucus, as the president of the Bay Area Assessors Association, and on the board of  Equality California. [url=][1][/url][h3][/h3]In 2005, Ting was appointed San Francisco Assessor-Recorder in 2005 by Mayor  Gavin Newsom, becoming San Francisco’s highest-ranking  Chinese-American official at the time. He was then elected to the post in November 2005, garnering 58 percent of the vote.Ting was re-elected Assessor-Recorder in 2006 and 2010During his first term in the Assembly, Ting authored a law that helped set into motion the transformation of Piers 30-32 into what would become  Chase Center the home of the  Golden State Warriors
  • RHD This looks like a lead balloon. You could buy a fantastic classic car for a hundred grand, or a Mercedes depreciationmobile. There isn't much reason to consider this over many other excellent vehicles that cost less. It's probably fast, but nothing else about it is in the least bit outstanding, except for the balance owed on the financing.
  • Jeff A bread van worthy of praise by Tassos.