Ford Explorer Consideration Doubled but Brand Still Has Hefty In-House Competition, According to Edmunds.com
SANTA MONICA, Calif. — July 22, 2010 — Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive information, reports that consideration of the Ford Explorer has nearly doubled as consumers await the highly-anticipated new model that will arrive in showrooms this fall.
In December 2009, a record low 8.5 percent of SUV shoppers reviewed Edmunds.com coverage of the Explorer. In recent weeks, consideration of Explorer by SUV shoppers climbed as high as 16.1 percent. Consideration is a good metric for gauging consumer interest.
"With a great deal of goodwill from the Explorer's glory years, together with a substantially evolved 2011 model, it's possible that Ford will turn many of these browsers into buyers," commented Edmunds.com Analyst Ivan Drury.
The SUV segment accounts for nearly a quarter of all vehicles sold in the United States. However, in recent years a dramatic shift in SUV preferences has occurred, according to Edmunds.com's analysis.
From 2002 to 2010, sales of compact and midsize crossovers have doubled their representation in the SUV segment. At the same time, sales of traditional large and midsize SUVs — like the Ford Explorer — are down by two-thirds. Crossovers have outsold traditional SUVs since 2006.
Ford engineers designed the new Explorer to be more like a crossover, with unibody construction to reduce weight, boost mileage and deliver more car-like ride and handling characteristic.
According to Edmunds.com's analysis, in 2005 the Explorer accounted for 9 percent of Ford's total vehicle sales; the compact crossover Ford Escape captured 7 percent. So far in 2010, the Escape represented 12 percent of all Ford sales; the Explorer a mere 4 percent.
Edmunds.com notes that 10.4 percent of its site visitors who research the Explorer also research the Escape. Only two vehicles — the Chevy Traverse and the Ford Edge — are cross-shopped against the Explorer at a higher rate. Only four percent of Edmunds.com's visitors who researched the Escape also researched the Explorer.
"After a 20-year run using the same basic formula that shot it to the top of the sales charts, the Ford Explorer is going in a completely new direction for the 2011 model year," asserted Edmunds.com Senior Analyst Karl Brauer, whose full report "Ford Breaks Traditions with Reinvention of Once Bestselling Explorer" can be found at http://www.autoobserver.com/2010/07/ford-breaks-traditions-with-reinvention-of-once-bestselling-explorer.html. "Even if the new one is wildly successful, it likely will never achieve the sales levels its predecessor delivered."
About Edmunds.com, Inc. (http://www.edmunds.com/about/)
Edmunds.com Inc. publishes four Web sites that empower, engage and educate automotive consumers, enthusiasts and insiders. Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive information, launched in 1995 as the first automotive information Web site. Its mobile site, accessible from any smartphone at www.edmunds.com, makes car pricing and other research tools available for car shoppers at dealerships and otherwise on the go. InsideLine.com is the most-read automotive enthusiast Web site. Its mobile site, accessible from any smartphone at www.insideline.com, features the wireless Web's highest quality car photos and videos. CarSpace is the most established automotive social networking Web site. AutoObserver.com provides insightful automotive industry commentary and analysis. Edmunds.com Inc. is headquartered in Santa Monica, California, and maintains a satellite office in suburban Detroit. Follow Edmunds.com on Twitter@edmunds and fan Edmunds.com on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/edmunds.