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FORD PROJECTS CONTINUED SUV GROWTH, ANNOUNCES EXPLORER UPDATES FOR 2018



NEW YORK, April 10, 2017 – Ford sees the SUV segment growing further – accounting for more than 45 percent of the non-premium U.S. retail auto industry in the next five to seven years. Ford is well-positioned for this growth, with plans to add five all-new SUVs to its lineup in North America by 2020.

Demographics are driving the anticipated trend, as more millennials and baby boomers favor the functionality and technology SUVs bring.

“In the 1990s, SUVs defined the unstoppable American spirit, and once again, we’re seeing a utility boom take hold with a whole new generation of customers,” said Mark LaNeve, Ford vice president, U.S. marketing, sales and service. “Two sets of consumers – millennials and baby boomers – are driving this growth, and Ford will be ready with a full portfolio of SUVs to meet their needs.”

https://media.ford.com/content/fordmedia/fna/us/en/news/2017/04/10/ford-projects-continued-suv-growth-announces-2018-explorer-updates.html
 

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Weird that all the camo we saw was for a very modest bumper update, but at least the mystery is cleared up now.

I wouldn't really call this an MCE, no substantive updates. I think it's mostly an MCE extension since the segment is getting more competitive with Ford Explorer sales peaking/softening, they need to spruce up the old goose to get it to 10 years before we hopefully see something new. It's a little like what happens to the Grand Cherokee.

It's always a little surprising to me that Ford's most profitable and bestselling products tend to see the longest and occasionally uncertain timelines.
 

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The update is a little unusual, it comes only 2 years after the 2016 MCE. By comparison the Explorer went from 2011 to 2015 without any revisions. It could be Ford responding to the new Chevy Traverse with something fresh for the same year. I still like the look of the Explorer better although I expect the Traverse to be a substantially more modern vehicle overall. The real issue with Explorer is interior size and platform dynamics but as long as they match amenities it should be fine.

I am really surprised to see it didn't get active crash avoidance, that must be a platform limitation?
 

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This subtle refresh is very confusing to me. The amount of changes done borders on the line of why bother and the fact that a major refresh was only a year to two ago. Have they pushed back the timeline for the all new one?
 

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The update is a little unusual, it comes only 2 years after the 2016 MCE. By comparison the Explorer went from 2011 to 2015 without any revisions. It could be Ford responding to the new Chevy Traverse with something fresh for the same year. I still like the look of the Explorer better although I expect the Traverse to be a substantially more modern vehicle overall. The real issue with Explorer is interior size and platform dynamics but as long as they match amenities it should be fine.

I am really surprised to see it didn't get active crash avoidance, that must be a platform limitation?
The new Traverse is quite the package overall, there is no doubt. And you are right about platform limitations restricting several safety and convenience features. Explorer is getting old for sure, but manages to still be a great seller, no doubt primarily due to looks and V8 power. Chevy is still behind in those aspects. But there is no doubt new platform Explorer will address shortcomings, and then some. In total, as mentioned, Ford will have quite the lineup once they add Bronco. New Expedition easily outclasses Tahoe, and they have no direct competitor to Edge and Bronco.
And here is a little tip on Bronco and it's roof. Think, 6 pack. All I'm sayin.
 

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The new Traverse is quite the package overall, there is no doubt. And you are right about platform limitations restricting several safety and convenience features. Explorer is getting old for sure, but manages to still be a great seller, no doubt primarily due to looks and V8 power. Chevy is still behind in those aspects. But there is no doubt new platform Explorer will address shortcomings, and then some. In total, as mentioned, Ford will have quite the lineup once they add Bronco. New Expedition easily outclasses Tahoe, and they have no direct competitor to Edge and Bronco.
And here is a little tip on Bronco and it's roof. Think, 6 pack. All I'm sayin.
I think another thing that contributes to Explorer sales in name recognition. It's amazing how people immediately have the Explorer come to mind when someone mentions an SUV. The name is well known and carries a lot of cache. Whereas GM's competitor to the Explorer through the years has been Blazer, Trailblazer, and now Traverse.
 

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What do you guys think about Expedition growing in size while Explorer remains 112' wheelbase/
Does this give Ford reason to consider a longer wheelbase for NG Explorer while giving more
"product space" to Edge below it?

While I really like what Ford has done with the D3 Explorer, it is aging well but should be following
buyer trends towards better packaging of a 3-row SUV below the full sized BOF versions.

Interesting to see this refresh and speculat about the direction of NG Explorer
 

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There is no question the Explorer needs to grow internally, but not really externally. The Explorer and many D3/4 products suffer from poor packaging and typically boast the least interior space among their main competitors. But this has been the case all along and Explorer has been very successful regardless. Competition is getting more aggressive now and it's basically Explorer's market to loose so they have to make their next decisions smartly and I'm sure they will. Explorer sales were actually down last year, unless you factor in the UI sales. I know Ford projects continued SUV growth but I think we've probably seen peek Explorer sales as competition grows and the Explorer enters old age. But just like the aging Grand Cherokee, Explorer still has a strong brand that sells itself.
 

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What do you guys think about Expedition growing in size while Explorer remains 112' wheelbase/
Does this give Ford reason to consider a longer wheelbase for NG Explorer while giving more
"product space" to Edge below it?...
just-imho
that ridiculously small wlb forced on the Explorer from its Volvo platform is deplorable
& even without any CAFE reasons for pushing the wheels to the corners,
imho the cD6 replacement could easily have a wlb longer than the Flex while still being a bit shorter in ovl...
...even if they kept the Ford Fwd... a Rwd form-factor (unavoidable prestige gap) oughta require at least a 120" wlb for a fullsize Cuv (or sedan)

.
 

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From my understanding Ford really scrambled on the Explorer and it was something of a rushed project. Ford has been struggling with what to do with the hugely popular BOF Explorer and their answer was to launch something else in parallel which turned out to be the ill-fated FreeStyle. In the meantime Ford was collectively loosing the very profitable people mover sales with the collapse of Explorer and FreeStar sales which contributed significantly to their crisis at the time and their decision paralysis. GM had some uncommonly keen insight with the Lambdas which ultimately influenced the creation of Explorer we have today and Ford finally gave up the ghost on the idea of parallel BOF Explorer and a Crossover Wagon. This meant that Ford had to scrap together an Explorer out of the bones of the FreeStyle/TaurusX/Flex which was never well suited for the roll of a tall SUV. So really it's amazing what they were able to achieve with limited resources and time. And it also created some of the best product mules history has ever seen.

 

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The Freestyle later called Taurus X, was always supposed to be an answer to the Taurus & Taurus Wagon from the 90's, early 2000's. Nothing more. Explorer nameplate was always to exist. All that happened was CUV platform sharing, when Ford saw the popularity and customer focused benefits to unibody construction, growing in big numbers from the competition. Ford was following what they thought was a growing trend. I recall the decision quite well, having owned many Explorers/Mountaineers to date, while also having owned a Taurus X, which was second only to Flex in my favorite list of Ford People movers. My wife to this day loved our Flex and X immensely. It's quite possible that Ford is not the fumbling fools some frequently portray them to be in many product decisions.
 

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I also agree.. my wife loved the Taurus X and now our Flex.. I now work pt at a ford dealership and as soon as a Freestyle or Taurus x is traded in ... it is GONE. They may not have sold many, probably due to lack of advertising, but they are popular.. the Taurus wagon on steroids..Ford does need a replacement for the Flex..
 

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My favorite features for the X, were how the 3rd row could fold flat or fold rearward, for tailgating.
Also too, the 2nd row flip forward switch was mounted in the door jamb, for single hand operation while entering the 3rd row or just gaining rear storage. As an AWD wagon with the 3.5L, it was a gem. In many ways, better than the Flex.
 

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Isn't every Crossover/SUV/minivan a successor to the defunct station wagon segment in that case?
Yeah, that's basically correct and actually, two things evolved together:
1. Station wagons became minivans and CUVs
2. SUVs based on trucks evolved to be more car like.

So here we see automakers attacking changing trends in buying patterns from two different directions.
Now add to that the change to Crew Cabs in full sized trucks and the picture of additional utility comes
into Focus.It's no wonder that sedans are being pushed out, they're far to vanilla - not enough versatility.
 

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The mass-market sedan will probably be gone within the next 10-20 years as we essentially move from a 3-box to 2-box form factor with a huge variety of sizes and pricing. The transition is actually happening far quicker than I think anybody realized. Sedans will probably live longer among luxury manufacturers.
 

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I got word from some very reliable sources that Ford has put CD6 development on hold indefinitely which is holding up the next-generation Explorer. No word on how this effects future Lincolns but it could be a significant problem for their plans to launch an Aviator. I know CD6 was suppose to be a significant platform for Lincoln's next-generation products so if true that might delay their planning.

Ford is undergoing a massive spending review which has been in progresses for about 9 months and it's believed the CD6 project has fallen victim to the budget cutting. Instead they are going to focus on extending the life of existing platforms. Essentially Ford can't afford new platforms right now.

I'm under the impression that quite a bit is influx and Ford is facing some really big economic challenges ahead so almost everything is uncertain which is making people extremely nervous.
 
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