Ford announced in April 2019 that it would no longer produce sedans, opting instead to put all its focus on crossovers, SUVs, and trucks. It also had plans to update an important player in their lineup, the Ford Explorer. The rollout for the 2020 redesigned model of the Explorer didn’t go very smoothly. Sales were down almost 15% in December 2019 with sales down 26% when compared to 2018.
Does that mean it’s a poor redesign that consumers aren’t happy with? Here’s what you need to know about the 2020 Ford Explorer.
A rough start for the 2020 Ford Explorer
According to Bloomberg, the Ford Motor Company saw it’s fourth-quarter sales in the U.S. fall more than anticipated. Delivery problems surrounding the new Explorer pulled down overall SUV sales for the automaker. At the end of the day, the automaker posted a 1.3% decline when analysts had predicted a shortfall of 1.1% in the last quarter of 2019.
According to Motor1.com, a spokesperson for Ford told the Chicago Tribune that efforts to “ramp up” Explorer production were much slower than the Ford had anticipated. Kelli Felker told the Tribune that the delays in deliveries were a result of necessary factory renovations that prevented them from meeting quality and production goals.
The Chicago plant underwent a $1 billion retooling before the start of production for the 2020 Ford Explorer which went into production in June 2019.
Another spokesperson for Ford, Jennifer Flake, said it was common for automakers to update pre-production models of redesigned vehicles. Felker told the Chicago Tribune that not every vehicle required fixes but they did need to be inspected for such.
Another contributing factor in fourth-quarter sales, according to Ford, was a planned reduction in sales to fleet clients like rental companies. Cutting down on lower-margin fleet sales, according to Mark LaNeve, Ford’s U.S. sales chief resulted in it taking more time before Explorer sales to really take off.
Attempts to boost sales
Ford did make efforts to boost Explorer sales. The first incentive Ford offered for the new Explorers was introduced in September. Another incentive came along only a few days later. By late November, Ford offered more short-term incentives for its all-new SUV.
Though its overall sales slumped, there was a 52% increase in sales for the fourth quarter in 2019 over third-quarter numbers. It was a significant improvement. December ended up being Ford’s best month of 2019 for retail sales.
With deliveries now on the rebound and running at full speed, the newest numbers seem to indicate that there are still challenges in getting the all-new SUV where the company would like it to be as far as sales.
LaNeve explained that the initial launch didn’t go the way they’d planned but that Ford was getting back on track. It wasn’t something that could be accomplished overnight, he went on to say. The company just needed to work their way into it.
The reviews are in for the 2020 Ford Explorer
The effort has been worth it. The reviews are in and many industry experts have declared the redesign a huge improvement over the previous models.
Car and Driver was impressed with the 2020 redesign citing it as a transformation that was more substantial than it appears. They liked the unibody platform with the new engine mounting and standard rear-wheel drive.
The new configuration is similar to the layout used in many luxury SUVs. It’s the third major update to the construction of the SUV. Now a transverse-engined crossover, the Explorer enters its fifth generation.
The new 2020 Ford Explorer offers an impressive suite of safety and tech features. The interior is roomy and there’s a lot of cargo space too. There are three rows of comfortable seats and a ton of standard features. It offers a smooth ride. With an impressive lineup of powertrains to choose from, the new 2020 Ford Explorer is a solid choice if you’re looking for a quality SUV.