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Ford killing the pickup SUV combo Explorer Sport Trac


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Jul 27, 2010

Ford killing the pickup SUV combo Explorer Sport Trac

08:49 AM

Ford's changeover to a new Explorer unibody SUV has already claimed a victim: the impending death of the half-pickup, half-SUV Sport Trac.

The Explorer sport Trac will disappear after a decade in showrooms, right along with the current generation Explorer. Ford will send buyers of rugged pickups to the F150, which comes in the kind of crew cab configurations that marked the Sport Trac, said Frank Davis, executive director for Ford's North American product program. The Sport Trac is more a niche vehicle anyway, he adds. That means it lacks the broader appeal of the F150 or some other Ford models.

What exactly is a Sport Trac? Edmunds.com described the Sport Trac like this:

Pickup? SUV? How about both? The specialized Ford Explorer Sport Trac is a vehicle meant to offer the best of both worlds, which is to say the cargo-hauling ability of a pickup and the comfortable interior of an SUV. It is, in essence, an Explorer with a pickup bed grafted to the back.

Ford doesn't break out how many of the 6,700 Explorers last month were the Sport Trac version, but it's unlikely that it was many. When it debuted at the Detroit auto show in 1999, the Sport Trac was a bit of an odd creature, taking its front from an Explorer and back end from a Ranger pickup truck. But that was about the time that the Explorer was one of Ford's biggest sellers, so permutations seemed like a natural.

Now, with SUV sales waning out of gas concerns and the rising popularity of crossovers, the Sport Trac is done. For that matter, the Ranger pickup is going to go away as well, Davis said.



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2011 Ford Explorer Won't Get Award-Winning Sport Trac Version

Nelson Ireson July 27th, 2010

Much ado has been made about the 2011 Ford Explorer's shift to a car-based platform and ditching of V-8 engines, but in the media storm, one small detail has slipped largely by: the death of the Explorer Sport Trac. What is the Sport Trac, you ask? Good question.

The little-known and slow-selling Explorer Sport Trac was Ford's half-pickup, half-SUV version of the Explorer, made possible by the body-on-frame construction. It offered four-door SUV-like cabin accommodations combined with a short bed for light pickup-type functionality. Though it didn't sell much--Ford hasn't split up Explorer sales into sub-type, so we don't know precise figures--it was, at least according to J.D. Power, a very good vehicle.

The recently-released 2010 J.D. Power APEAL study, which measures owner "gratification" with their new-car purchase over the first 90 days, put the Explorer Sport Trac at the top of its class, beating out models like the Honda Ridgeline and Nissan Frontier.

But Ford doesn't seem to be too broken up about the loss of the Sport Trac, awards or no. Instead, Ford thinks the F150 pickup, with its many crew cab variations, will fit the needs of Sport Trac buyers, and the shift to the new platform and engine combo will breathe new life into the Explorer SUV/crossover.

For more on the 2011 Ford Explorer, check out this index to High Gear Media's coverage across our entire network of sites



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By Andrew Ganz

Ford’s not-quite-mini crew cab pickup, the Explorer Sport Trac will die off later this year as part of an overall Ford push for more efficient cars.

The Explorer Sport Trac’s fate was decided when the Michigan automaker announced plans to cease production of its body-on-frame Explorer midsize SUV in favor of an all-new unibody variant.

Although the Explorer Sport Trac lived on for two generations, it was never a mainstream success due to its relatively hefty purchase price and its too-close-to-F-150 size. Given its comparatively limited cargo capacity, the Explorer Sport Trac wound up being a “lifestyle” pickup in an era of dwindling demand among those who don’t tow or haul. Ford says it will be discontinued when production of the current body-on-frame Explorer ends.

The automaker’s other non-F-150 pickup, the Ranger, will likely continue on for another model year before it fades away. Ford says that the Ranger’s place in its lineup will no longer make sense when it begins installing a more fuel efficient EcoBoost twin-turbo six-cylinder in the F-150 next year.



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