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Explorer Lays Claim to “Best” Title…for Soccer Moms

Kiplinger’s “Best of” list has just one American-made vehicle.

by on Nov.14, 2014

The Ford Explorer was Kiplinger's choice for "Best for Soccer Moms (and Dads)."

With the sales of new cars, trucks, SUVs and crossovers going like gangbusters for most of 2014, it means a lot people are making a lot of selections about what type of vehicle best suits their needs.

Fortunately, the folks at Kiplinger’s recently put out their 2014 annual “Best” List, which gives potential buyers some guidance about what vehicle they should consider buying based on their lifestyles.

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The list has one very noticeable quirk: only one American-made vehicle – the 2014 Ford Explorer – made the list. Not only that, it’s not a category that many would find complimentary: Best for Soccer Moms (and Dads). (more…)

Ford Dropping Escape Hybrid and Adding EcoBoost

Maker claims new 1.6-liter EcoBoost will outperform old hybrid - and deliver better mileage.

by on Oct.05, 2011

The redesigned Ford Escape will no longer offer a hybrid package - but will have two available EcoBoost options.

Ford will drop the Escape Hybrid when it launches an all-new version of its popular utility vehicle next year, turning to a high-mileage alternative using a new 1.6-liter version of its EcoBoost engine family.

The Escape Hybrid, though heralded as the first use of gas-electric technology in an SUV, has been selling at a sluggish rate in recent years.  So, Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s group vice president of Global Product Development, says the hybrid powertrain will be shifted to a newer people-mover in the Ford line-up, the upcoming C-Max Hybrid, that should be 25% more fuel-efficient than the outgoing Escape Hybrid.

The next-generation Escape, which will migrate to a more crossover-like design and platform, will be officially unveiled at the LA Auto Show next month.  It will come with a 4-cyliner EcoBoost engine rather than a V6 engine, Ford confirmed during a background session.

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“Customers are prioritizing fuel economy above every other trait when they make most vehicle purchases,” said Kuzak. “Ford is meeting people’s needs by offering a family of fuel-efficient vehicles – from hybrids to electrics to traditional gasoline-powered cars – packed with class-leading technology, giving customers both exciting and greener driving choices.”

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Ford Explorer Off To A Good Start

Strong initial demand could herald a return to the glory days.

by on Nov.29, 2010

Early orders suggest the 2011 Ford Explorer will come out of the blocks strong when it goes on sale early next year.

It spent years at the top of the SUV sales charts before crashing, ignominiously, in the wake of a safety scare.  But even before the completely redesigned 2011 Ford Explorer actually rolls into showrooms it’s showing strong signs of success.

With the new crossover-based version of the Explorer not set to roll into showrooms until early next year, Ford dealers have already booked 15,000 advance orders, twice what the maker was anticipating.  And buyers appear to be opting for heavily loaded versions of the SUV, which could make the next-generation Explorer a significant source of profits for the resurgent Ford.

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If the initial pace of orders holds steady it will serve as justification for the automaker’s risky decision to shift from a traditional, truck-based sport-utility vehicle to a car-like crossover.

Ford has been considering that strategy for some time but ultimately chose to stick with a body-on-frame design for the last Explorer.  It might not have made much of a difference in the wake of an unexpected crisis triggered by reports that earlier Explorers were suffering unexpected and catastrophic tire blow-outs that could cause the vehicles to roll over.  While sales initially held steady, demand for the Explorer eventually began to tank, and by 2009 volumes had plunged nearly 80%.

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Hummer’s Odds Rapidly Fading

Dealers being told to begin shutting down.

by on Apr.09, 2010

Hummer dealers are being told to begin shutting down their operations.

The chances of General Motors finding a buyer for the Hummer brand continue to fade.
 

GM has quietly told Hummer dealers to wrap up their operations by the end of October and has approved wind-up payments to dealers so they can begin the process of closing their showrooms.
 

Dealers have been told “their GM Sales and Service Agreement expires Oct. 31,” Hummer spokesman Nick Richards said. 

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Hummer’s prospects dimmed dramatically, in February, when efforts to sell the Hummer brand to Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machines Co. Ltd. of China collapsed
 

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