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Ford Cuts 2007 Explorer Production

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Ford Cutting Explorer Production

Plant will lose jobs as Ford trims back on Explorers.

Marty Padgett | 11-20-2006

Link to Original Article @ TCC

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Ford will trim output of the Explorer SUV from its Louisville, Ky., plant next year as it tries to match production with lagging sales.

The Dow Jones newswires reports that the third-largest automaker in the world will cut Explorer production by 20 percent in the fourth quarter, and will trim even more in 2007 as demand for truck-based SUVs is expected to fall. Ford also has been emphasizing its new fleet of crossover vehicles-the new 2007 Ford Edge, the Escape and Escape Hybrid, and the Ford Freestyle-and downplaying its older truck-based SUVs as consumer taste shifts toward the car-based crossovers.

Ford will also cut jobs at the plant as it cuts back on the number of Explorers it builds, but a spokesperson could not confirm how many jobs would be lost. Ford closed a second Explorer plant in St. Louis earlier this year as part of its Way Forward turnaround plan.

Though the 2006 Explorer was heavily revamped, with new interior styling and exterior trim, sales still are sliding. The Explorer is off 30 percent so far this year, the news agency reports, and Ford has built 15 percent fewer Explorers this year than it did in the same period in 2005.

For 2007, the Explorer is slimmed down to a simplified lineup of base XLT, Eddie Bauer, and Limited, in 4x2 and 4x4 configurations, with a new Ironman Package available on XLT models. A 210-horsepower 4.0-liter V-6 is standard, while an available 4.6-liter V-8 powerplant provides 292 horsepower and comes with a six-speed automatic transmission. There's a choice of Ford's ControlTrac four-wheel drive or full-time all-wheel-drive systems. Stability control is standard across the line.

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IMO, one of the nicest BOF SUVs money can buy but time are changing and trimming production is a good idea.

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