Some of you fools thought that the day of reckoning had arrived: Hybrids were on the rise, guzzlers were socially unacceptable, and cars like the Suburban were going out of production. Guess again, greenheads.
There are plenty of folks who want to buy big SUVs, even though sales have dropped off sharply. According to Automotive News and quoted here, GM is developing new versions of its Suburban and Escalade on its full-size truck platform. The cars should be here in about three years—during which time, planners assume, demand will swell once again.
GM sold 410,778 of these full-size beasts in 2006, but only 184,000 last year. Then, however, the company exported 40,000, which gives it an incentive to pursue the model. Plus the fact that it makes a bundle on each of these cars.
Ford has been teasing us for months about a 2011 Explorer and is still dangling the prospect in front of its dealers. The new vehicle, however, won’t be another Suburban-type throwback. It will have unibody design and good fuel efficiency, using the turbocharged EcoBoost four to give something like 30 mpg. It will not offer a V8 option.
Built on the chassis used by the Taurus, Flex, and the MKS and MKT Lincolns, the 2011 Explorer seems to want to become a new crossover, rather than a traditional SUV. Like the Edge, it will still have three rows of seats, but final design seems not yet to be fixed. Spy pix of a possible mule driving around Dearborn, Michigan, have been floating around, and the company’s concept version (above) came to Chicago in April of last year.
It remains to be seen which company is on the right track here: Ford with its new economical people-moving platform, or GM with its traditional truck-based SUV setup – go anywhere, pull anything.
Doesn’t Ford have enough crossovers already without adding yet another offering (even though it will be slightly bigger)? What’s your opinion?