Ford Explorer, Escape: Tale of Two SUVs

By Michelle Krebs December 4, 2007

2007_ford_explorer_facing_right_150 Ford doesn't have to look very far to see the dramatic shift in the 2008_ford_escape_facing_left_150 marketplace -- away from gas-hungry, larger SUVs to more fuel-efficient, car-based ones.

The automaker just has to long in its record books at the Explorer and the Escape to see the tale of two SUVs.

Throughout 2002 and 2004, Ford sold roughly 20,000 to 30,000 Explorers every month. During the same 2002-2004 period, Ford sold roughly between 11,000 and 17,000 Escapes a month. In 2002, 10,000 to 15,000 units (except for one month) separated the two. In 2003, the difference narrowed some, and, by 2004, the difference ranged from a mere 1,245 units to more than 12,000.

There was one dramatic exception -- in August 2002. Ford sold a stunning 51,021 Explorers -- 37,150 more than the 13,871 Escapes it sold. In fact, the 52,021 Explorers that Ford to delivered to U.S. customers set a new industry SUV sales record, breaking its own record of 46,684 Explorers sold in March 2000.

Upon that milestone, Ford called the Explorer, which had been the best-selling SUV every year since it was introduced in 1990, a "benchmark for SUVs." By mid-September of 2002, Ford has produced more than five million Explorers.

Aside from this remarkable anomaly, the true shift between the Explorer and Escape began in 2005, when the Escape, which continued to sell in the same number per month, while Explorer sales plummeted. In five months of 2005, the Escape outsold the Explorer. Ditto for 2006.

This year, Escape outsold Explorer in every month through October except January when Explorer outsold Escape by a scant 82 units.

Photos by Ford

Left - Ford Explorer

Right - Ford Escape

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Patrick M says: 4:10 PM, 12.04.07

The Explorer was always a class leader because Ford spent the money on the vehicle. Why doesn't
Ford do the same with the Escape? I test drove an Escape and I thought It was not a class leader by
any means. It is the right size and has good looks but today you need more to compete.

njy says: 7:50 PM, 04.09.08

Interesting comparison... Might also be interesting to compare the Explorer with the Edge. Not sure how you would go about that considering the Edge is still fairly new and doesn't have the history of the Explorer and Escape. But somehow show the uprising trend in CUV sells vs. traditional SUV sales.


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