Explorer not right
The Ford will be sold in 90 left-drive markets, writes
ANEW Ford Explorer has just hit the road in America, but has zero chance of replacing the Territory Down Under. Despite the strengths of the new model — which picks up hi-tech, four-wheel-drive features from Land Rover— there is no plan to reverse the Explorer’s retreat from Australia in 2006.
In any case, there is no plan for a right-handdrive version.
Ford Australia spokeswoman Sinead McAlary says: ‘‘We have no plans to sell the new Explorer in Australia because it hasn’t been engineered for right-hand drive. It’s left-hand drive only.
‘‘It’s not even on our radar because it’s lefthand drive only— plus we have Territory so it’s not on the radar at all.’’
The Explorer comes with better economy and shares its basic mechanical package with the Ford Taurus — at least in front-wheeldrive form.
The front-drive car also has a 176kW Spanishbuilt 2.0-litre EcoBoost turbocharged directinjection alloy four-cylinder engine.
The new SUV — now with a monocoque body structure — also has a blind-spot warning system, tyre-pressure monitoring, electric power steering, a six-speed automatic, a fast engine warm-up and aggressive deceleration fuel shutoff to improve economy.
Ford US claims a 30 per cent increase in fuel efficiency over the current US V6 — from a close relation to the powerplant destined for the Australian Ford Falcon — though Ford Australia has not yet revealed the source engine plant for its upcoming Falcon EcoBoost model.
Ford says the 2011 Explorer will be exported to more than 90 countries after it goes into production later this year.
‘‘The 90 countries must all be left-hand drive or can take those vehicles in a right-hand-drive market,’’ McAlary says.
Ford has spent more than $400 million upgrading its Chicago factory to build the new Explorer, adding 1200 new jobs in the process.
Ford president of The Americas, Mark Fields, says the Explorer will give existing and prospective customers the capability they expect and the luxury and convenience they want, all combined with the fuel economy they need.
‘‘Explorer owners told us they want capability with convenience, and improved fuel economy without compromised performance,’’ Fields says.
Missing in action: the new hi-tech4WDFord Explorer is not coming to Australia.