Ford banking on common platforms for upscale SUVs

The next-generation Explorer will be moving to a raised FWD car platform with optional AWD

The next-generation Explorer will be moving to a raised FWD car platform with optional AWD

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As the only company out of the once-mighty Detroit 3 to survive the worst of the global financial crisis without running to a bankruptcy court, Ford has proven the strength in its foresight in producing smaller cars earlier than its rivals and focusing on global production to reduce costs and increase profits. For the immediate future, the buzzword around Blue Oval offices will definitely be 'global platforms', with the company making strides to get even more nameplates onto global platforms in the coming years--and we can expect to see these global models begin to arrive in the U.S. as early as next year, when the new Fiesta is expected to hit dealerships.

Of more interest is the future of cars like the Mustang and upscale SUVs. Ford's popular sports car will be remaining firmly put on its current platform, even when it’s expected to be revamped in 2013. It will, however, receive two new engines for 2011, including a new 5.0L V8 and a 3.7L V6, reports Automotive News.

Ford's SUV department in the meantime is expected to undergo some changes, with updates planned for the Ford Explorer and the Ford Flex, and the expected disappearance of both the Ford Ranger and the Ford Explorer Sport Trac pickup. The Explorer will be moving from a RWD truck platform to a FWD car platform, allowing for an improvement in mileage but the loss of some SUV-ability. The Flex will be getting a new 3.5L EcoBoost V6 engine in the near future, and may also have some slight tweaks to its styling in a few years time.

As for the F-150, the once massively selling truck will not be getting a major re-engineering or redesign for another 5 or 6 years according to some reports, but it will be lightened and will also run more fuel efficient engines such as the 3.5L EcoBoost V6 engine.
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