Sales of Explorer SUV, which was one of the most popular models of the leading American automobile manufacturer, Ford Motor Co. (Ford) has been reported to have gained its momentum and coming back “on track.”
Ford launched the sixth generation of the Explorer model in January, last year but failed to meet the expectation for nearly over a year. According to Ford officials, the price of the vehicle for 2020 was upgraded with improved facilities which set the average price to $39,200, an increase of $2,400 from a year ago and higher than the segment average.
With the significant rise of February retail sales of Explorer, the company officials announced that this was the best month for the vehicle, which was also the first four-door SUV of Ford, since 2005. According to Mark LaNeve, Ford’s Vice President of US Marketing, Sales, and Service, “Ford has regained its retail market share of 17%-18% of the midsize SUV segment’ in the sales of February.
Citing that “We’re certainly off to a good start,” the Vice President told CNBC, “The bad news is we had some delays in the launch. The good news is we have a product for several that looks like we have a winner, and we’re optimistic about the balance of the year.” The officials also claimed that the launching of Ford’s Explorer was one of the most complex tasks in its history, which involved rebuilding the Illinois plant in just 30 days.
Observing the revival of sales of the vehicle, LaNeve further added, “We feel good. We knew all along we built the right product… Despite some glitches, as we were getting going there with the rebuild of the plant in Chicago, we feel we are on track now and looking forward to many successful years with this product.”
Last month, Ford’s CEO and President Jim Hackett said referring to its fourth-quarter (Q4) loss of $1.67 billion, “The lost volumes in Chicago during ramp-up marred the year, and there were some important lessons that we learned.”
Ford’s Previous Challenges
Ford officials revealed that the annual sales of the vehicle remained low year by year because of the delay of its launching and less-demand season of fleet customers. Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds.com executive director of industry analysis, “It had been #1 for so long and then dropping to No. 4 last year, it was definitely a big hit for them.”
She described that the Explorer once led its segment from 2011-2018 before it dropped to the fourth rank due to last years’ production and redesign problems of the company. She cast doubt, “It’s questionable whether some of these consumers will ever come back.”
Erich Merkle, the US sales analyst at Ford, disclosed, “Our fleet sales were down 46% (in February),” despite pushing for retail sales gains in New York and Los Angeles. Referring to the latest trend, Caldwell believed that it would be still difficult for Ford to fully recover despite the regaining of its retail sales of 24% starting the year.
Despite the tough competition from the leading SUV car makers such as the Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride, the sales of the vehicle have started regaining its momentum and expected to return to normal levels following the company filling its retail supply chain. According to the automotive research firm, it was explained that online shoppers recently focused on the Explorer the most followed by the Telluride, Toyota Highlander, and Honda Pilot.
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