2009 Ford Expedition
Ford is alone in Detroit--not merely in the remote suburb of Dearborn, but alone in staying out of Chapter 11, too. And while Ford's deftly avoided bankruptcy due to a couple of clever hedges and some well-timed products, it's facing the same problems with its profitable big sport-utility vehicles as the other big automakers, including GM, Chrysler and Toyota.
While other companies hash out their strategies for big trucks in an era of 35-mpg fuel economy rules, Ford's plan will mean migrating its SUVs and trucks on to common "world car" platforms, according to a story in Automotive News. While Ford already builds some cars from global bits and pieces--the 2011 Ford Fiesta is a good example--its trucks have resisted that kind of development since they're sold in far-flung markets with peculiar local tastes.
While it's unlikely that Aussie-driven Ford utes and American-blinged Navigators will ever share complete platforms, Ford's intent on cutting costs by making its trucks share more pieces, including powertrains. As early as 2011, for example, the big trucks will get a new 5.0-liter V-8 and a 3.7-liter V-6 that will be spread around the Ford empire in everything from the Mustang to the Lincoln MKZ.
Any major changes to the SUVs and the venerable F-150 will wait until 2013, though. That's the earliest analysts see Ford replacing its current big SUVs. Before then, the News predicts, the Ford Ranger and the Explorer Sport Trac will be steered off into history.
[Automotive News via MotorAuthority]