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Ford Expedition September 2003 Sales Into Fast Lane

By: Dan Williams | Ford Communications Network

DEARBORN, Mich. Ford's full-size sport utility vehicle has accelerated into the fast lane.

Sales are up 24 percent. It's time to look again at the 2004 Expedition. Expedition sales are up 24 percent from last year's model -- a bright spot in an otherwise flat full-size SUV segment, according to Jason Mase, Expedition marketing manager.

"We've gained about six points of segment share," he says. "And it's coming from Chevy Tahoe and Toyota Sequoia."

Expected to continue its run of success, the 2004 Expedition offers amenities the others only wish they had, including its segment-exclusive Independent Rear Suspension. Fold-flat-to-the-floor second- and third-row seating employs the class-exclusive 40-20-40 split CenterSlide and PowerFold technology for best-in-class cargo volume.

"That this additional space has been colonized in a truck whose exterior dimensions barely wiggle is impressive," wrote Frank Markus in Car and Driver magazine. "That it occurs in one that weighs a couple hundred more pounds and yet gets similar or better gas mileage borders on science fiction."

A 4.6-liter Triton V-8 engine rallies 232 horses and 291 foot-pounds of torque in the Expedition. The optional 5.4-liter V-8 uses a cast iron engine block that has been computer designed to reduce vibration for quieter operation; it delivers 260 horsepower and 350 foot-pounds of torque. When properly equipped, the 5.4-liter, two-wheel-drive Expedition is rated to tow up to 8,950 pounds. The 4.6-liter, four-wheel-drive model can tow up to 5,000 pounds.

Expedition is available in five distinct trim levels, including the top-of-the-line Eddie Bauer edition (shown). Ford's available Safety Canopy system provides increased passenger safety in the Expedition. When triggered by a rollover sensor, side air curtains cover approximately two-thirds of the vehicle's first- and second-row glass.

Having undergone a major redesign for the 2003 model year, the Expedition comes with five distinct trim levels for 2004. In addition to the basic XLS, there are: the XLT, which now includes options from last year's XLT Popular and Premium series; the new XLT Sport appearance package; the NBX, which replaces the FX4 Off-road in name; and the top-of-the-line Eddie Bauer edition.

Four-wheel-disc, anti-lock brakes with brake assist are standard on all models, and a tire-pressure monitoring system is standard on XLT, XLT Sport and Eddie Bauer editions.

"On a head-to-head comparison, the Expedition can beat the others in capability, in what it offers, and in value," says Mase.