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2011 Ford Explorer: New Niche Approach Fits The Times

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2011 Ford Explorer

1999 Ford Explorer

1999 Ford Explorer

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In some respects, the Ford Explorer nameplate is one lost in a particular time, when reality shows were fresh and new, Brittany Spears was just not that innocent, and gasoline prices were reliably under two dollars a gallon. Ten years ago, Ford [NYSE:F] sold a dizzying 450,000 Explorer SUVs, and for a few years, the Explorer was the family wagon of suburban, middle-class America.

But due to a combination of influences—the much-publicized Ford-Firestone tire recall, a migration toward crossover utility vehicles, and simply the passing wave of fashion—Ford wasn't able to hold on to many Explorer owners for a repeat sale and the numbers plummeted.

Last year's sales? A measly 52,000.

The Dearborn automaker clearly couldn't just walk away from such a successful nameplate. But fortunately, they recognized that few people want to go all retro like it's 1999 quite yet.

With the new 2011 Ford Explorer introduced today, Ford has taken a step in a new direction with what, arguably, used to be its flagship vehicle in the U.S.  This time a modern, passenger-friendly three-row design, combining some of the best attributes of newer crossover designs, Ford's industry-leading connectivity features, and some of the ruggedness of a traditional SUV—including a Range Rover-like terrain system—the automaker hopes to appeal to a practical crowd that's looking for something a little different this time.


 
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Comments (2)
  1. Can a unibody be sold as a tough 4WD all-terrain vehicle? Seriously, Ford? It's a good-looking crossover, no doubt... I'd have a hard time choosing between this and the Flex for sure.
     
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  2. When Ford revamped the Explorer for 2002, they managed to create a vehicle that currently ranks worst on carcomplaints.com with over 2,000 complaints logged, far exceeding any other vehicle on the road. Data is available at http://www.carcomplaints.com/worst_vehicles.shtml
    I would caution against buying the Ford Explorer 2011, until the model has been fully debugged, wait at least a few years for this occur so you have some reliability data to base your decision on.
     
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