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2002 Ford Explorer: Best-Selling SUV Heads to Showrooms


PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)


PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

    DEARBORN, Mich., Feb. 22 The 2002 Explorer, the next
generation of the best-selling sport utility vehicle in the world, is leaving
the plant and heading to dealerships today.
    More than 75,000 dealer orders have been placed already for the all-new
Explorer, which features major improvements in interior space, suspension and
safety.  The vehicles will be appearing in dealer showrooms over the next few
weeks and can be sold upon receipt.
    "The new Explorer is a wonderful example of the best getting even better,"
said Jim O'Connor, Ford Division president.  "Last year the Explorer set an
all-time sales record, and we believe that the all-new vehicle will help us to
maintain our leadership and strengthen our lineup."
    In order to ensure extremely high quality, the rollout of the new Explorer
included extraordinary rigorous testing resulting in a number of best
practices that will be cascaded to other facilities.  Ford took a strategic
approach to this important launch in order to ensure quality and to sustain
customer enthusiasm and anticipation for the newest best-selling SUV.
    "Our strategic approach for this launch has been unprecedented, including
a slower production ramp up, CEO-level supplier involvement and extensive
field evaluation by senior management and top Explorer dealers," said
Gurminder Bedi, vice president North American Truck.  "This approach gives us
great confidence in the excellent quality of the very first 2002 Explorers
arriving in dealerships."
    Featuring a new independent rear suspension (IRS) system and unique
porthole-in-frame design, allowing for a lower step in height as well as a
third-row seat, Explorer is designed to offer an improved ride in a more
comfortable and user friendly interior.
    Ford Explorer also offers customers many standard and optional features
that make it stand out from the competition, including: 2.5-inch wider stance
and 2-inch-longer wheel base than current model, optional adjustable pedals
and improved ControlTrac(TM) four-wheel-drive system.  Also available later in
2001, are new safety features: the Personal Safety System, which includes
driver and passenger dual-stage air bags; and the Safety Canopy, an industry-
first system with rollover sensors deploying side-curtain air bags to protect
passengers in the event of a rollover.
    The base Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices for the 2002 Ford Explorer
(including Destination and Delivery charges of $600) begin at $24,620 for the
XLS series, $28,380 for the XLT series, and $32,690 for the Eddie Bauer and
Limited series.
    The volume model, an XLT 4x4 equipped with the standard 4.0-liter V-6
engine and optional premium electronic AM/FM stereo/clock/single CD player,
will carry a base MSRP of $30,475 (including Destination and Delivery
charges).
    Currently, the Louisville Assembly Plant in Louisville, Ky., and the St.
Louis Assembly Plant in St. Louis, Mo., are producing the new Explorer with
the V-6 engine.  Both plants will begin building Ford Explorer and Mercury
Mountaineer models with the new 4.6-liter SOHC V-8 engine later this year.
This plan allows both plants to optimize the build of one series of models
before adding the complexity of an additional powertrain.