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Ford shows off '11 Explorer to public

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Ford shows off '11 Explorer to public

Scott Burgess and David Shepardson / The Detroit News

Dearborn -- More than 1,000 people stood outside Ford Motor Co.'s World Headquarters and watched the unveiling of the 2011 Ford Explorer.

Dearborn was one of nine cities in North America targeted for the unveiling -- as Ford executives spread out across North America.

Crowds also gathered in Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, New York City, Toronto, Washington, D.C., Denver and Miami to see the new Explorer and learn more about it.

In Dearborn, the local band 50 Amp Fuse blasted the cover song "Satisfaction" and threw Explorer T-shirts into the large crowd of employees basking in the noon sun. Then, after hearing a few executives speak about the iconic vehicle, an all-new Explorer drove over a giant man-made hill and down the other side to applause and cheers.

"Now it's your turn to learn as much as you can about the new Explorer," Derrick Kuzak, Ford's vice president of product development, told the crowd. "You need to spread the word and become part of the sales team."

Six-year Ford employee Victor Lams said this was the first time he's ever seen so much excitement around a new vehicle.

"I've never seen anything like this since I've been here," said Lams, looking over the 2011 red Explorer. "I love it."

The Explorer, once the best-selling SUV in America, has undergone a complete redesign, which Ford says will improve ride, performance and fuel economy. Kuzak said his team expects the fuel economy to improve by at least 30 percent on some models. The new Explorer will not offer a V-8; instead the base model will come with a 3.5-liter V-6. The upgraded engine will be Ford's all-new twin turbo charged, direct injection 2-liter four-cylinder engine, which will feature higher fuel economy.

In downtown Chicago, Mayor Richard Daley and Illinois Gov. Patrick Quinn joined Ford Chairman Bill Ford Jr. and other Ford officials at Millennium Park to unveil the vehicle. Next week, President Barack Obama will visit the Chicago assembly plant where Ford will start production on the Explorer later this year.

In Los Angeles, Ford Americas President Mark Fields was on hand for a reveal in Venice Beach.

Ford is using a variety of methods to show off the new Explorer, which goes on sale later this year across the United States. The vehicle was revealed on NBC's "Today Show" and on social networking sites like Facebook, rather than in a traditional place like an auto show.

Ford president and CEO Alan Mulally was in Herald Square in New York for that debut of the Explorer.

In Washington, D.C., Ford launched the Explorer at the Newseum. Detroit Pistons great Vinnie Johnson, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Ford executives pulled a faux giant newspaper off a shiny red version of the redesigned SUV.

"I hope you sell lots of these Explorers," said Kirk, after joking that he was "channeling Oprah" and wished he could give everyone a new car, as the talk-show host once did for her audience.

The 2011 Explorer will have a starting price of $28,995, which is $1,000 less than the 2010 model.

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20100726/AUTO01/7260386/1148/auto01/Ford-shows-off--11-Explorer-to-public#ixzz0uoq0cmt6

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The front 3/4 view looks like an Acadia with a Ford grill. Especially that rear window wraparound. I didn't even see any rear pictures with the hatch shut at the link, so right now my impression is simply that - an Acadia copycat with a Ford grill. I'm sure it'll feel a little more distinct as I see rear pictures.

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