At the 2008 Detroit Auto Show, Ford unveiled the Explorer America concept. It was a car-based crossover concept that, in theory, would improve efficiency versus the once popular body-on-frame Explorer SUV. According to union officials at Ford's Chicago plant, the next Explorer will be produced at the Torrence Avenue assembly plant in 2011. Union officials claim that Ford promised the Explorer to Chicago as part of the recently reworked UAW contract.
The next Explorer will reportedly be built on the outgoing Taurus X platform, which also underpins the Ford Flex, Taurus and the Lincoln MKS and MKT. The Flex, MKS and MKT are all built at Ford's Oakville, Ontario plant, while the pending cancellation of the Taurus X and Mercury Sable left the recently overhauled Chicago plant twisting in the wind. Ford has not officially confirmed that it will build the Explorer at Chicago, but the Blue Oval did say that a new product would be assembled at the plant.
Ford is expected to unveil the new Explorer crossover with efficient new Ecoboost engines that utilize turbochargers and direct injection to offer large powertrain power with the fuel economy of a smaller engine. The Explorer America concept featured a turbocharged 2.0L Ecoboost four-cylinder engine producing 275 hp and 280 lb-ft or a 340-hp Ecoboost 3.5-liter V6 with fuel savings of up to 30% versus the current Explorer.