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AutoBlog: REPORT: Ford to nix Explorer Sport Trac, Mercury Mountaineer

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Filed under: Truck, Ford

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Anyone who actually wants a Ford Explorer Sport Trac had better go out and grab one now because they won't be around much longer. As production of the the current body-on-frame Explorer winds down in the coming months, the pickup bed version and the rebadged Mercury Mountaineer will breathe their last breath. Sometime in 2010 a new unibody Explorer based on the Flex/Taurus platform will debut and an open bed version will not be part of the lineup.

With total Explorer sales down to just 78,439 in 2008, including the Sport Trac, and those numbers down by half again this year, the number of Sport Tracs sold simply doesn't justify developing a new one. At its peak when Ford was moving some 400,000 Explorers annually, about 60,000 were Sport Tracs. This year the number is likely to be 10,000 or less.

[source: Automotive News, sub. req'd]

REPORT: Ford to nix Explorer Sport Trac, Mercury Mountaineer originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 27 Jul 2009 12:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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So if the Mountaineer is going away, and presumably the Grand Marquis for '11, Mercury will be down to 2 models. Is Mercury on the way out? After all, they don't have a '10 Sable, or an Edge or Flex equivalent...

Rob

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Interesting..hopefully they will come up with something unique off the Focus rather than just a simple rebadge like Mercury usually gets.

Rob

What would Henderson say to the act of not coming with something unique? :scratchchin:

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Last I heard Mercury would be the destination for the Euro Fords when they finally get here since Mercury as a brand would better be able to support a slightly premium pricepoint.

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Those models are dated, it is a good idea to dump them. If the largest Mercury is the Milan, I think that is a good idea. They are geared towards women, so adding an upscale compact (like a Mini, Golf or Jetta) to go with the Milan and Mariner makes sense. Although we all know Mercury is around to keep traffic in Lincoln dealerships.

Euro Focus could work well for Mercury, but it would work even better for Ford, the Focus here is nowhere near as good.

Edited by smk4565
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was this in 1st?

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No, that would have to be a truck to qualify. ;) I guess that makes it come in zero'th.

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They were still selling the sport trac? Almost the most worthless truck ever.

not if you only buy 4 foot long sheets of drywall! LMAO

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Hey, at least the Sport Trac was a more competitive truck than the I-Can't-Believe-They-Still-f@#king-Make-That-Ranger.

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SportTrac didn't seem to sell in huge numbers.... not sure any in this niche segment do, but at least it spawned a host of imitators.

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No, that would have to be a truck to qualify. ;) I guess that makes it come in zero'th.

true... i guess that goes into the honda ridgeline category.... whatever that is...

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Hey, at least the Sport Trac was a more competitive truck than the I-Can't-Believe-They-Still-f@#king-Make-That-Ranger.

How are you defining competitive? I'd take a Ranger over a Sport Trac anyday. The ST maybe a more recent design, more sophisticated, etc, but the basic design is so anti-useful it's pathetic. Bed isn't large enough to haul anything of significance, and very few things that couldn't be hauled in the back of an SUV. At least the Ranger can haul something (though it is sadly outdated, and in my experience small trucks don't have enough of a mpg advantage over full size to justify their existence.)

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How are you defining competitive? I'd take a Ranger over a Sport Trac anyday. The ST maybe a more recent design, more sophisticated, etc, but the basic design is so anti-useful it's pathetic. Bed isn't large enough to haul anything of significance, and very few things that couldn't be hauled in the back of an SUV. At least the Ranger can haul something (though it is sadly outdated, and in my experience small trucks don't have enough of a mpg advantage over full size to justify their existence.)

Think about it. How many of those people that decided to slum around with the Ford Ranger actually use it for traditional pickup duty? Not many. The Sport Trac was a better pickup for people who don't need pickups, which is a good percentage of pickup buyers IMHO. Not to mention you have to consider that the Sport Trac had more civilized engines and a far more civilized ride and interior than the Ranger. In fact, if Ford made at least an "extended cab" version of the Sport Trac with a lower sticker price, I bet they would have discontinued the Ranger by now.

Edited by YellowJacket894
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Think about it. How many of those people that decided to slum around with the Ford Ranger actually use it for traditional pickup duty? Not many. The Sport Trac was a better pickup for people who don't need pickups, which is a good percentage of pickup buyers IMHO. Not to mention you have to consider that the Sport Trac had more civilized engines and a far more civilized ride and interior than the Ranger. In fact, if Ford made at least an "extended cab" version of the Sport Trac with a lower sticker price, I bet they would have discontinued the Ranger by now.

That still doesn't explain why anyone would need an open air bed to haul their microwave they bought from the walmart. An SUV would give much better function in 99% of cases. At least with an SUV you can fold the seats down an actually haul something sizable. With the Sport Trac you get an SUV with no storage area for anything you want to keep dry/clean. I do agree that if they'd made the Sport Trac a 2 seat or extended cab setup with a real bed, it could've replaced the ancient Ranger, but they didn't. I'm not arguing that the ST isn't more refined and in every way better except usefulness, but to me usefulness trumps refinement.

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Last I heard Mercury would be the destination for the Euro Fords when they finally get here since Mercury as a brand would better be able to support a slightly premium pricepoint.

Not true. There is NO plan to 'import' Euro Fords. Ford is moving to globally shared platforms. The next gen Focus for MY2012 will go to Ford, with a Merc version.These new compacts will be made in MI and KY. The Fiesta is being made in MEX.

Also, the Mondeo is being merged with Fusion and Taurus in 5 years.

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When the Sport Trak was new, I saw two yuppies admiring and saying 'how cute'. It was just a fad/trend.

A pickup bed too short to hold most cargo is useless.

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Ranger is much better tuned to customers than Sport Trac. It's the last compact pickup standing.
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A new from the ground up Ranger based on the current Explorer frame would have been something, and an Avalanche-like SUV/truck would have been a much more successful Sport Trac.

It's probably a good idea for Ford to keep the Explorer name around for the new vehicle. The name still has plenty of equity, which shoould help the new one sell well even though it is completely unrelated.

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