Ford announced updates to its 2018 Explorer to appeal to American consumers who increasingly favor SUVs over other vehicles.
The company said it’s updating the SUV with new fog lamps, a new grille, and new technology, including Wi-Fi and several driver-assist features. The automaker is also adding the ability to connect to FordPass, its mobility operating platform for smartphones.
Explorer was last updated in 2016, and the vehicle leads the industry’s mid-size SUV market. Ford executives believe that SUVs will account for more than 45 percent of the non-premium U.S. retail industry over the next 5 to 7 years, up from 26 percent in 2006 and 40 percent in 2016. The company thinks it’s possible that this number will even reach 50 percent in the coming period.
“It shows you how important the vehicle is and how important it is to stay current with it,” said Mark LaNeve, Ford’s vice president of U.S. marketing, sales, and service.
Based on the company’s predictions for continued growth in the SUV segment, Ford plans to add five all-new SUVs to its North American lineup by 2020.
“In the 1990s, SUVs defined the unstoppable American spirit, and once again, we’re seeing a utility boom take hold with a whole new generation of customers,” said LaNeve. “Two sets of consumers – millennials and baby boomers – are driving this growth, and Ford will be ready with a full portfolio of SUVs to meet their needs.”
The 2018 Explorer will also feature four new exterior color options: burgundy velvet tinted clearcoat, cinnamon glaze, platinum dune tricoat and blue metallic. Five new wheel choices will also be available to consumers. The new technology features include adaptive cruise control with brake support, blind spot information system, cross-traffic alert, lane-keep system, auto high-beams, and rain-sensing wipers.
The updated vehicle is being manufactured at the automaker’s Chicago Assembly Plant and will arrive at dealerships this fall.