Ford Explorer celebrates 10 years of unequalled success among sport utilities
Ford's Popular SUV Continues Evolution For 2001 Lineup
Dubai, UAE, April, 2000 - This year marks an important milestone in automotive history - the 10th Anniversary of the Ford Explorer. Much like the Internet redefined communication in the 1990s, Explorer has redefined the sport utility vehicle (SUV) market and introduced a whole new way of looking at personal transportation.
Jim Benintende, executive director, Ford Middle East and North Africa (MENA) said, "The Ford Explorer has led, evolved and changed the face of the sport utility market. With more than 3.4 million sold worldwide since its introduction, the Explorer has been a runaway success, ranking highly in customer satisfaction and customer loyalty. In this region, Explorer was first introduced in June 1991, and has sold to this date almost 7,000 vehicles."
While not the first SUV on the market, the entrance of the Explorer did mark the transition of the utility vehicle from specialized, functional truck to comfortable, versatile and affordable family vehicle. Over the years, Explorer has adapted to changing customer needs. The 1991 Explorer and 1995 Explorer stand out as key models in Explorer's history, as do several key features of the vehicle.
The all-new two- and four-door Explorer was introduced in 1990 as a 1991 model year vehicle. Ford's first Explorer model offered more interior space than any other vehicle in its class at the time, with optional six-passenger seating.
Also introduced was the Eddie Bauer plush trim level on the four-door model and the touch driver transfer case for the 4x4. In 1990, 140,509 Explorer's were sold. In the 1991 calendar year sales jumped to 249,640 units.
The 1995 Explorer was significantly redesigned. Improving the vehicle that dominated the SUV market was a challenge. Since its introduction, Explorer had been a showroom sellout - without sales incentives. Not only was the vehicle already recognized as a leader in overall versatility, but it also topped all international competitors by being the only major SUV to offer dual air bags, four-wheel disc brakes, rack-and-pinion steering and a four-wheel, anti-lock braking system (ABS).
Said Benintende: "The 1995 Explorer was an expression of how Ford listened to its customers and responded directly to their needs. J.D. Power and Associates, a leading independent automotive research and survey firm, named it the best compact sport utility vehicle in initial quality." The redesigned SUV again maintained its best-selling status with sales of 395,227 during that calendar year.
Major changes to the 1995 model included all-new front-end sheet metal offering a more rounded aerodynamic look, and all-new Short and Long Arm (SLA) front suspension. A Control Trac four-wheel drive system added safety and stability to the Explorer by automatically increasing torque to the front wheels upon rear wheel slippage.
Consumer safety was at the forefront of the redesign, with rear seat head restraints and a Crush Management System that incorporated accordion-like pleats in key areas of the frames and body structure. It was designed to absorb energy in a controlled manner and better protect occupants in the event of frontal impact. The 1995 model also added interior comfort amenities including a message center, 6-disc CD player and an integrated child safety seat.
In 1996, an optional 5.0L V8 all-wheel drive system was added to Explorer. The introduction of the optional V8 engine pleased buyers who were looking for more trailer-towing power to go along with the SUVs other capabilities. The optional new engine helped drive sales for the 1996 calendar year to 402,663 units.
A new 4.0L SOHC V-6 engine was offered on the 1997 Explorer with the XLT, Eddie Bauer and Limited series. This engine was optional, as the 4.0-liter OHV V-6 was standard. For the sixth consecutive year, customers recognized its superiority and their preference enabled the Explorer to maintain its best-selling SUV status by selling 383,852 units in the 1997 calendar year.
Commented Benintende on the first decade of the Explorer's existence, "It is only fitting that in its 10th year, the Ford Explorer is redefining the SUV market yet again. In January, Ford began production of the redesigned two-door 2001 Explorer Sport and the all-new 2001 Explorer Sport Trac."
The Ford Explorer Sport - sales leader among two-door sport utility vehicles - is even better for the 2001 model year with new sporty styling, features and functional improvements designed to inspire confidence in any driving situation.
Some of the major changes to Explorer Sport include new interior trim and a distinctive white dial instrument cluster, nearly 70 cubic feet of maximum cargo space, towing capacity of up to 5,180 pounds, and a 4.0L SOHC V-6 engine that produces 206 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 238 lbs.-ft. of torque at 4,000 rpm.
The 2001 model also features a command seating position for a better view and comes in 4x2 and optional 4x4 configurations. It has a larger, more durable and quieter four-wheel disc braking system, which achieves a shorter stopping distance, and a four-wheel, three-channel anti-lock braking system is standard.
The Ford Explorer is a versatile vehicle that is comfortable in the city or in the great outdoors. Popular in the Middle East and North Africa, its unique styling and many convenience options make it the perfect mode of transportation for urban settings, while its powerful drivetrain and 4x4 engine help make it ideal for the most rugged terrain. Like all Ford vehicles, Explorer has been designed to protect its occupants and provide years of dependable service to its owners.