• Jan 2, 2007
Bloomberg published an article back on December 18th that has gone unnoticed until today. A few of our colleagues have picked up the story so far, so we can't tell you who was the first to notice it, but the report was published the week after Ford hosted invited media at Cobo Arena for its Showroom of the Future event. Ford put on the same event for current employees and retirees earlier that month, at which it revealed details of the next Ford Explorer, which will transition from a truck-based platform to a car-based unibody platform with its next iteration. Rumored to be built on Ford's D3 platform that underpins the Five-Hundred sedan and various Volvos, the next Explorer will be giving up its ability to tackle the rough-and-tumble and tow-your-boat in favor of a lower center of gravity, increased fuel economy and more car-like handling.

Considering the continuining shrinkage occuring in the traditional SUV market, we have to agree with Ford's decision to keep the Explorer name and apply it to a package that has more mass appeal. However, adding yet another crossover vehicle to Ford's already crowded lineup that includes vehicles like the Edge, Freestyle and upcoming production version of the Fairlane Concept, will likely create some cannibalism of sales within the brand. Perhaps by that time the lineup will lose a nameplate or two (bye, bye Freestyle!). And Ford will still continue to sell and develop the Expedition as its proper SUV, capable of going off-road within reason and towing boats all the livelong day.

Thanks for the tip, Charles!

[Source: Bloomberg via Winding Road]


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  • 39 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      If the next Explorer be a CUV, Ford could need a True SUV Off Road for International Market.
      • 8 Years Ago
      ok FORD do make Explorer as CUV then thats not WAY FORWARD BOLD MOVE ... truck based SUV will always have its market ... see FORD is repeating its history .. they are going to over-populate the CUV market they will solely rely on it again ... Toyota is of course doing it right with their vehicle n i thought FORD was following suit but alas the same old FORD again ...

      FORD TOYOTA
      small
      Escape Rav4
      (Bronco?) FJ Cruiser

      mid-size
      Explorer 4Runner
      Edge Highlander
      Freestyle ----------
      Fairlane ----------

      fullsize
      Expedition Sequioa
      Expedition EL Land Cruiser

      See in Toyota there isnt overlap .. but in FORD damn if Explorer becomes CUV then we are talking 4 vehicles targetted for the same market ..I REALLY HOPE THEY ARE NOT GOING TO MAKE EXPLORER CUV
      • 8 Years Ago
      you guys are so easy to react .. i dont think FORD is that dumv n stupid to change Explorer into a CUV .. Explorer will always be a truck-based ... if it becomes car-based so SportTrac becomes carbased too? thats stupid ... in order for Explorer to be competitive it just needs to put the 3.5 V6 engine ... people love the Explorer they just dont like the MPG ...its really silly that they have a more efficient engine with more HP n Torque n better MPG n yet still used the 4.0 which annoyingly has almost the same MPG with its own V8 engine ...
      Sabrina Layfield
      • 8 Years Ago
      How sad to see Ford ruin a great vehicle. I've owned a Ford Explorer since 1998 and frankly it's been the best vehicle i have ever owned. I was hoping to buy a new one guess I'll have to find one that has been in cold storage. SO SAD
      kevin ann cary
      • 8 Years Ago
      I have a 1999 Ford Explorer that looks almost brand new. I have driven it everywhere and use the four wheel drive during the winter. My Explorer has 261,540 miles on it and its still running great. If they are going to do away with the Explorer as I know it then I will buy a new one now. My Explorer has required minimum maintenance and I wouldn't trade it for anything less. It's perfect for my needs.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Making the Explorer a car-based crossover vehicle is silly. The Explorer is a truck. It was built as a civilized, roadgoing alternative to the strictly off-road Bronco II. The problem is how Ford has become dependent on flooding the market with hundreds of thousands of large trucks in the market instead of more practical small sedans. The Explorer does not have the future it had as being one of the best-selling vehicles in America. The Edge is Ford's flagship CUV. The Escape is a more sensible SUV alternative. Ford should devote the energy it did with the F-150 and Explorer on its small and midsize sedans.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Actually #15 - the Sequoia is based on an extended Land Cruiser platform and is a truck based SUV, not CUV.

      I think the Explorer moving into the CUV category spells doom for the unloved Freestyle. I see room for a larger CUV in Ford's lineup anyways - they don't have a minivan, so they might as well do what GM is doing with the new Saturn Outlook - a huge CUV thats minivan-like. That way, the Escape can be the "small CUV", Edge the midsize, and Explorer the large CUV/minivan.
      • 8 Years Ago
      This a good move (and a no brainer) by Ford. The Explorer's never exactly been synonymous with offroading anyway, so no loss there.

      But this leaves me wondering what Ford has in mind for the buyers who want some offroad capability in something smaller than an Expedition.

      Maybe if they'd ever get around to redesigning the Ranger they could take a cue from Nissan and Toyota, and build a new Bronco to take on the Xterra and FJ Cruiser.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Edge, Freestyle, "Fairlane" and Explorer?

      I dont know. I have a hard time believing that Ford would just ditch the Explorer like that. It sells fairly well (in the SUV market). Also, they already have enough "CUVs".

      If the next Explorer will be a "CUV", then that negates the whole purpose of the Freestyle and "Fairlane". The Edge is a five seater. The Freestyle is a seven seater. And I thought the "Fairlane" was supposed to be a seven seater also (the concept only had six seats). I can kind of understand the Freestyle and Fairlane...only if the Fairlane has more cargo room. But what will the Explorer be? An eight seater? It doesnt make sense...

      I just have a feeling there may be an outcry from Explorer fans. I have a couple neighbors who have bought nothing but Explorers since 1991.

      Even though sales are declining, there is still a market for truck based SUVs.
      Katherine
      • 8 Years Ago
      I am on my third Explorer lease in a row and am not thrilled with the idea of losing the Explorer and getting in its place something like the Ford Edge. If I WANTED an Edge, I would have LEASED an Edge. Or a Freestyle like my 60-year old parents own.
      However, it might not be all bad... currently the Jeep Cherokee and Commander are on Car-based platforms and run quite nicely. As long as this new CUV Explorer doesn't look like a pregnant rollerskate, I'll consider it.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Hmm...I think I agree with Stéphane. Ford already said that the production version of the Fairlane won't be called the Fairlane, and if the new car-based Explorer were anything else, it would be too redundant with the Edge.
      • 8 Years Ago
      #1, Ford has explicitly stated that they aren't planning on calling the Fairlane Concept "Fairlane." So it wouldn't be a last-minute name-game change. But that crossover also won't be out for another ~15 months based on their statements in Q3 2006.

      I think calling the Fairlane Concept the next Explorer might be reasonable, but I don't think that'll happen. More likely the next Explorer will be smaller than the Fairlane Concept but bigger than the Edge, and the Freestyle will die or go to Mercury... which is kind of a shame, because for all of the Freestyle's blandness, it's not a bad car (I've only ridden in one once though).
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