• Ford Moves Lincoln Production To Make Room For The Explorer

Ford appears to be making decisions on production schedules and placement regarding the popular Explorer SUV and its Police Interceptor derivative, and in the process, is affecting several sedans including the Taurus, Lincoln MKS, and upcoming Continental.

The automaker is working to free up production space within its Chicago Assembly Plant to accommodate for the increased sales of the Explorer – a vehicle Ford suspects will sell even better as the refreshed 2016 model begins rolling on dealer lots. Currently the Chicago plant produces the Taurus and Explorer, along with both vehicles’ Police Interceptor counterparts, and the Lincoln MKS.

It is the MKS that will make room for greater Explorer production numbers as the Lincoln is phased out in 2016. The MKS shares its platform with the Taurus and will be replaced by the upcoming Continental.

Since the Continental rides on a modified version of the Fusion’s platform, Ford will likely slot its production for the Flat Rock, Michigan plant where the Fusion is currently built.

Ford says Explorer sales are up some 15 percent so far this year. That’s compared to the 30 percent sales decline for the Taurus and 19 percent drop for the MKS. Last year Ford built 284,993 Explorer, and with the extra production capacity, that number will likely rise about 300,000.

What’s more, Ford has cut its regularly scheduled two-week summer shutdown back to one week at several of its production facilities, including Chicago, to help meet customer demand.

Continue reading for the full story.

Why it matters

It’s exciting to see Ford both finally paying attention to its neglected Lincoln brand and having to adjust production output volumes to meet rising demands. The Explorer has traditionally been one of Ford’s better selling vehicles, and it seems the SUV turned unibody crossover is enjoying a resurgence in popularity. Its popularity is likely to only increase as the refreshed 2016 model hits showrooms, thanks to its restyled looks, upgraded interior, and new powertrain options.

Ford Explorer

2016 Ford Explorer High Resolution Exterior
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Source: Automotive News

Mark McNabb
Mark McNabb was a contributor at TopSpeed from 2013 to 2018. Growing up, Mark always had a mind for tinkering on random items throughout his home and dad’s garage, including a 1953 Ford Mainline and 1971 Corvette Stingray.  Read full bio
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Press Release

Ford employees at Chicago Assembly Plant officially welcomed the new 2016 Ford Explorer today, with Joe Hinrichs, Ford president of The Americas, and Jimmy Settles, UAW vice president and director, National Ford Department, also on hand. Since launch in 1990, more than 7 million Explorers have been sold, making it the best-selling SUV in America over the last 25 years.

Now, building on decades of performance and innovation, the 2016 Explorer represents a significant update to the iconic SUV. It sports a new look, new 2.3-liter EcoBoost® engine, a new Platinum series and the industry’s most cutting-edge technology. 2016 Explorer base, XLT, Limited and Sport models went on sale in May, with retail sales for the month increasing 24 percent versus the same period last year – the nameplate’s best May retail sales since 2004. The new Platinum series launches later this summer.

Explorer is one of Ford’s top U.S. exports. Approximately 54,000 Explorers were exported from Chicago Assembly Plant in 2014; the vehicle is now available in more than 100 markets outside Canada and Mexico.

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