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Old 10-28-2003, 07:33   #1 (permalink)
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U.S.A.:Excursion may get extended lease on life

By Ed Garsten / The Detroit News

Bashed as a gargantuan gas hog, dubbed the "Ford Valdez" by environmentalists and derided as a menace to motorists driving anything smaller than a semi-truck, the Ford Excursion SUV was condemned to the scrap heap at the end of 2004 model year.

But thanks to sales incentives, a more fuel-efficient diesel engine and a core of loyal customers, Ford Motor Co. may be ready to offer the Excursion a temporary reprieve.

"Since there continues to be a viable market for the product, we are taking a second look at its production schedule," Ford spokeswoman Susan Krusel said.

It's likely Ford will continue to build the Excursion -- launched in 2000 -- for the 2005 and 2006 model year and then introduce a longer version of the current Expedition SUV.

Local Ford dealers say the Excursion is a niche vehicle with a loyal following. Don Sparks, 45, a Shelby Township electrical contractor, bought his second Excursion, a 2004, for its combination of brawn and, ironically, fuel economy.

"With the new diesel, I get close to 18 miles a gallon pulling a trailer," Sparks said. The Sierra Club's Daniel Becker isn't sold on the improvements in fuel economy and emissions a diesel-powered Excursion offers.

"A diesel version of the Valdez is a bad sequel to a bad movie," Becker said.
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Old 10-28-2003, 07:37   #2 (permalink)
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Re: U.S.A.:Excursion may get extended lease on life

Excursion extinction on hold at Ford

Sales of big SUV slide, but it's still profitable

October 28, 2003
BY JAMIE BUTTERS
FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITER

Ford Motor Co. is holding off on plans to shelve the Excursion, its biggest SUV, next year.

Ford Division President Steve Lyons hinted as much earlier this month, telling Ward's Automotive Reports: "We're selling 2,000 a month, but even if sales go to 1,000 we could keep it in the lineup."

Another person at Ford, who declined to be identified, confirmed that is the plan, without saying how long Ford will continue the model.

Through September, Ford had sold 17,887 Excursions this year, a 22-percent drop from the previous year. In 2001, Ford sold 34,710 Excursions -- almost 3,000 a month. But with a profit estimated at $10,000 per vehicle, Ford may be reluctant to walk away from the SUV based on the Super Duty F-250 pickup. Both vehicles are made at the Kentucky Truck Assembly plant in Louisville, Ky.

As the most humongous SUV sold in the United States -- nearly 19 feet long and weighing about 7,200 pounds -- the Excursion was attacked by those who accused Ford of environmental irresponsibility. Before Excursion's 1999 introduction, the Sierra Club dubbed it the "Ford Valdez" -- a reference to the Exxon tanker that ran aground near Alaska in 1989.

But that was before General Motors Corp.'s 8,600-pound Hummer H2 -- so hefty it isn't covered by national fuel-economy rules -- hit the streets and won the wrath of the nation's environmentalists.

"The danger is that today they want to do away with big SUVs," Lyons told Ward's. "Tomorrow will it be big houses?"
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Old 10-28-2003, 12:47   #3 (permalink)
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Re: U.S.A.:Excursion may get extended lease on life

WOo hoo more time for me to get the $ together and buy one.


:)
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