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Old 07-31-2002, 08:57   #1 (permalink)
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Ford ending production of the Excursion ?

NEW YORK, Reuters is reporting that the Ford Motor Co. has decided not to build a second generation of the Excursion sport utility vehicle, the New York Times reported Wednesday citing people close to Ford's future product program.

The Excursion, seven feet tall and able to seat a softball team, was oft criticized as the auto industry's most visible symbol of sport utility vehicle excess, the paper said, and is expected to be discontinued at the end of the 2004 model year.

Introduced in 1999 as a 2000 year model, the end of production will mean the Excursion lasted just one generation.

Sarah Tatchio, a spokeswoman for Ford, declined to confirm to the Times whether the company would drop the 19-foot vehicle, which gets 10 miles a gallon, is too long to fit in many garages and takes up two conventional city parking spaces.

She did confirm the car was part of Ford's 2003 product range.
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Old 07-31-2002, 09:09   #2 (permalink)
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Reports suggest Ford Excursion won't be produced beyond 2004

By JOHN D. STOLL


At Ford, the Excursion is over. Or, if you'd prefer, the Valdez has hit bottom.

According to news reports in Detroit originating Tuesday, Ford Motor Co. will stop producing its biggest sport-utility, the Excursion, after the 2004 model year. Ford has yet to confirm the reports.

The vehicle, which the environment-watcher Sierra Club once dubbed “Valdez” (in the spirit of the infamous Exxon tanker that spilled oil off the coast of Alaska), has been criticized by some as a gas-or diesel-guzzling monstrosity. During a recent two-week stint with a turbo-diesel V8 Excursion, we achieved between 11.1 mpg and 15.7 mpg, mostly tallying highway miles.

The poor fuel numbers don’t come without the benefit of lots of room and lots of power options. The Excursion boasts an overall length of 226.7 inches, a width of 79.9 inches and a height of about 80 inches. Every Excursion, except for the two of the two-wheel versions, carries a curb weight of over 7000 pounds. The bulk is pulled around by one of four optional mills: A 5.4-liter Triton V8, a 7.3-liter Power Stoke V8, a 6.8-liter Triton V8 and a 6.0-liter turbo diesel V8.

The vehicle is produced in Kentucky and comes with a base tag of $35,000 plus.

The news comes as Cadillac is preparing to send its own mega-SUV to market, an extended version of its Escalade dubbed Escalade ESV. The luxo-truck is near-similar to Chevy’s Suburban in dimensions and is slated to hit the market next spring. The Excursion is seven inches longer than the ESV, but only one-inch wider and 1.5-inch taller. The departure of the Excursion would leave the redesigned Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator to compete with GM’s larger SUVs.
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Old 07-31-2002, 14:56   #3 (permalink)
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having now seen one in real life, I didn't think it was a big as everyone had said they are. I would buy one if:
1. I had the money
2. They were avaiable in Australia
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Old 07-31-2002, 21:09   #4 (permalink)
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I remember seeing these in person in the USA. Are they bigger or smaller than the F250s we get here?

I have driven a Holden Suburban on the highway. It was great fun.
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Old 07-31-2002, 21:45   #5 (permalink)
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Chris, an Excursion is based on the F350, so yes it is bigger than a F250 (on which the Expedition is based.)
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Old 08-01-2002, 02:12   #6 (permalink)
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Australia only gets the F250 Super Duty, which looks the same as an F350 on the outside.

The standard F250 is a heavy-duty version of the F150, and Australia doesn't get the F150 (although I've seen a white private-import F150 getting around Newcastle.)

So yes, the Excursion has the same nose as the Aussie F250. You could probably import an Excursion from the US and swap out the RHD switchgear from a wrecked Aussie F250.


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Old 08-01-2002, 19:11   #7 (permalink)
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Thumbs down

Thats too bad......it was much better than Chey's counter.......... Fords
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Old 08-04-2002, 13:05   #8 (permalink)
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Commentary: End of Excursion model would bode well for Ford

Aug. 3, 2002 August Cole writing for CBS.MarketWatch.com had this to say about the Ford decision to excecute the Excursion

NEW YORK (CBS.MW) -- Trying to figure out what might kill Ford Motor's mammoth Excursion SUV is a bit like postulating about what cataclysm took out the dinosaurs.

Ford , understandably, won't show its cards even as anonymously-sourced reports circulate that 2004 will be the last run for what is one of the biggest SUVs on the road.

A Ford spokesman toed the line and said the company doesn't comment on future model plans. He added the Excursion is going to be built through 2003.

So even if we can't figure out when such a move would be made, asking why it would happen is a valuable exercise as Ford heads toward its centennial. It is ironic that the company that all but launched the mainstream SUV movement with the Explorer is faced with a decision to kill the very vehicle that critics say has taken the genre to an untenable extreme.

Spilling the beans

Being coy about the Expedition's fate robs Ford of the chance to make a clear statement to Wall Street and drivers alike about just how serious Chairman and CEO Bill Ford Jr. takes his pledge to make better vehicles for his customers. He could use the discussion as a way to bolster his status in the industry as someone willing to walk that fine line between business and environmental altruism. Now it looks like only the public relations execs will shape how that discussion unfolds.

But before that happens, you should know what's behind this sort of a decision. It's the bottom line.

"It's a real bean-counter decision being made," said Art Spinella, of CNW Marketing.

Remember, General Motors (GM: news, chart, profile) recently pulled the plug on an entire brand: Oldsmobile. Though many enthusiasts cringed at the deliberate slow-motion death, Wall Street was pleased.

With Ford shares languishing under $13 even after a rare profitable quarter, the pressure is on.

Tough company

Marketed to the commercial and industrial buyer, the Excursion has had to square off against one of the strongest nameplates in the truck segment, the Chevrolet Suburban, which has about a third of that market.

The Excursion, launched in late 1999, never garnered more than 10 percent, according to Spinella. In a bid for more mainstream buyers, there's an Eddie Bauer version on the way marketed to suburbanites that will never share the company of the drywallers to whom the original version appeals.

So far this year, Ford has sold just over 17,200 Excursions -- down 17 percent from last year. The Suburban has notched sales of about 81,300 units -- a 3.4 percent decline from last year.

The cost has been a problem for Ford, Spinella said. "They can't get the price point down to the Suburban's price point for the commercial customer," he said.

Still, the Excursion, which in full disclosure I have never driven but have nearly been run down by, is an indecent expression of automotive design and corporate hubris. It can tow 11,000 pounds and carry nine passengers. It's even bigger than the Suburban, which many families swear by for shipping kids to the slopes.

No fuel economy data is provided on the Ford Web site because it appears the EPA doesn't do the math for rigs this big, in this case tipping the scales at more than 7,000 pounds. During a two-week trial, the scribes at Edmunds.com reported the Excursion got about 12 miles per gallon.

If you can't shake that fin de siecle Titanic chill the Excursion gives you, just remember that Ford will happily keep the beast alive if it can make money on it. If they can't, it'll disappear and become a footnote used to show how far astray vehicle design can get and how outlandish drivers can become.

There won't be any other reasons, no matter how good they may be, to put the Excursion away.

And that's business, right?

August Cole is spot news editor at CBS.MarketWatch.com in Chicago
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My next Ford.....
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