Ford Explorer: No Longer King of SUV Mountain

By Michelle Krebs December 4, 2007

Ford_explorer_facing_right_180 Remember when the Ford Explorer was king of the SUV mountain – the best-selling SUV in America?

The Explorer's reign is long over.

Without fanfare, the Honda CR-V quietly took over the No. 1 spot among SUVs and crossovers this past year. A number of other SUVs have also passed the Explorer by. In fact, the Explorer has been surpassed by the Ford Escape and Ford Edge.

Top 10 Rankings Shift Around

When it was introduced in 1990, the Ford Explorer quickly shot to the top of the charts for sales, becoming America's best-selling SUV for more than a decade.

But, as gas prices rose and consumers steered away from midsize and large SUVs like the Explorer, the top 10 rankings of America's best-selling SUVs -- which added crossovers to the mix -- did some shifting around. The following shows the rankings through November of this year.

Ford Explorer: No Longer King of the SUV Mountain
America’s Top 10 Best-Selling SUV/Crossovers
Make Model Total
Honda CR-V 200,501
Toyota RAV4 158,936
Chevrolet Tahoe 134,905
Ford Escape 132,897
Ford Edge 116,403
Jeep Wrangler 110,236
Jeep Grand Cherokee 109,184
Chevrolet TrailBlazer 107,952
Honda Pilot 106,743
Ford Explorer 105,773
Toyota Highlander 93,626
Hyundai Santa Fe 83,319
Jeep Liberty 82,164
Chevrolet Equinox 81,848
Toyota 4Runner 80,297
Chevrolet Suburban 76,900
Saturn VUE 76,439
Lexus RX 350 76,246
Nissan Murano 72,159
Dodge Nitro 67,475
Ford Expedition 67,185
GMC Acadia 65,372
GMC Yukon 58,266
Nissan Pathfinder 58,243
Jeep Commander 57,206
Acura MDX 52,700
Toyota FJ Cruiser 51,091
Nissan Xterra 47,444
Kia Sportage 44,284
Dodge Durango 43,023
GMC Yukon XL 41,620
HUMMER H3 39,250
Mazda CX-7 38,712
Hyundai Tucson 38,514
GMC Envoy 38,236
Jeep Compass 36,196
Jeep Patriot 35,447
Kia Sorento 34,664
Lincoln MKX 34,097
Cadillac Escalade 33,302
Honda Element 32,343
Saturn Outlook 31,591
Pontiac Torrent 30,248
Mercedes-Benz M-Class 29,917
BMW X5 29,478
Mercury Mariner 29,164
Nissan Armada 28,976
Volvo XC90 27,993
BMW X3 26,507
Chrysler Aspen 25,766
Buick Enclave 24,560
Mercedes-Benz GL-Class 23,370
Mazda CX-9 22,418
Mitsubishi Outlander 22,105
Mercury Mountaineer 21,929
Suzuki XL-7 21,629
Acura RDX 21,093
Toyota Sequoia 20,706
Lexus GX 470 20,287
Cadillac SRX 20,060
Toyota Highlander Hybrid 19,538
Ford Escape Hybrid 19,397
Audi Q7 19,120
Suzuki Grand Vitara 18,208
Lincoln Navigator 17,345
Infiniti FX35 17,270
Ford Expedition EL 15,586
Lexus RX 400h 15,259
Buick Rendezvous 15,258
Land Rover Range Rover Sport 15,138
Cadillac Escalade ESV 14,837
Chevrolet TrailBlazer EXT 14,602
Subaru B9 Tribeca 12,434
Mazda Tribute 12,427
Nissan Rogue 11,520
Hyundai Veracruz 11,367
Porsche Cayenne 11,293
Mitsubishi Endeavor 11,198
Infiniti QX56 10,972
Land Rover Range Rover 10,940
Land Rover LR3 10,328
HUMMER H2 8,962
Land Rover LR2 8,256
GMC Envoy XL 6,413
Volkswagen Touareg 5,998
Buick Rainier 4,715
Saab 9-7X 4,665
Lincoln Navigator L 4,414
Mercury Mariner Hybrid 3,446
Subaru Tribeca 2,885
Isuzu Ascender 2,750
Toyota Land Cruiser 2,603
Lexus LX 470 2,337
Volkswagen Touareg 2 1,592
Infiniti FX45 1,444
Mercedes-Benz G-Class 1,014
Mitsubishi Montero 400
HUMMER H1 Alpha 122
Isuzu Axiom 8
Chevrolet Blazer 7
Isuzu Rodeo 4
Land Rover Freelander 1

Source: Edmunds.com's analysis of vehicle sales reports provided by automakers

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Drew says: 10:35 AM, 12.04.07

I find it hard to believe that Honda sold exactly the same number of Pilots as Ford sold Explorers. Does this happen often?

Larry says: 3:21 PM, 12.04.07

Demographic shift has to be taken into consideration. Baby boomers are retireing and don't need as much vehicle as the Explorer any more. The volume down trend for the Explorer was not hard to predict.

Double Wishbone says: 5:02 PM, 12.04.07

Honda could have the #1 SUV, #1 Minivan, and #1 car in sales. Wow. Remember a few years ago when Honda decided to sell some engines to GM as a hedge against a takeover? Times have changed. Too bad the American manufacturers didn't learn more from the last energy crisis in the 70s. Doomed to repeat it I guess.

Mauricio says: 5:24 PM, 12.04.07

Another view for the same numbers, American Makers doing the 1,2,3 in this segment

Make Total
GMC......... 932892
FMC.......... 713849
Chrysler.... 566697
Toyota...... 540926
Honda...... 413380
Nissan...... 248028
Hyundai.....133200
Kia............ 78948
BMW ......... 55985
Mercedes.... 54301
Suzuki ....... 39837
Mitsubishi... 33703
Audi........... 19120
Subaru....... 15319
Porsche...... 11293
Volkswagen. 7590

Anyway, the Explorer is still the best

Brian says: 9:00 AM, 12.05.07

Consumer attitudes have shifted and so has Ford. Ford has 3 main SUV/CUV's (Explr / Escape / Edge) now totalling approximately 355,000 sales vs. Honda's 2 SUV/CUV's (CR-V / Pilot) sales totalling 308,000 sales.

Ford, not taking into consideration Lincoln and Mercury, has added Edge to their existing Escape CUV segment lineup while Honda only has 1 entry in each segment. Also, Edge has been available for sale less than 1 year and is already #5 in total sales across all SUV/CUV segments. Pretty impressive.

Mauricio says: 5:17 PM, 12.05.07

Well, again, using the same numbers of the ranking we can demonstrate that FORD brand is the real number ONE in this segment. So, we can say the consumer has shiffted their attitudes about the size of the SUV but not the brand of your choice.

Brand Total
Ford ........ 457.241
Jeep ....... 430.433
Toyota .... 426.797
Chevrolet . 416.214
Honda ..... 339.587
Nissan ..... 218.342
GMC ........ 209.907
Hyundai ... 133.200
Lexus ...... 114.129
Dodge ..... 110.498
Saturn ..... 108.030
....
Saab ....... 4.665
Isuzu....... 2.762
Total 3.865.068

Who is the king of the mountain?. Yes, Ford.

Is pretty impressive how you can use the numbers to show what you want.

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