Dearborn-based Ford Motor Co. has added a new Explorer XLT Sport Appearance Package to its full-size SUV lineup for 2017, which features 20-inch gray wheels, along with a gray grille and mirror caps.
“Our Sport Appearance philosophy is rooted in the fact that we know exterior appearance is the No. 1 consideration in SUV purchase decisions,” says Omar Odeh, brand marketing manager of the Explorer. “The XLT Sport Appearance Package is a dramatic offering that gives customers another attractive option.”
Odeh says the package offers black body side cladding, a black roof rack, an Explorer hood badge, and dark gray leather front seats with suede inserts. The XLT offers a 3.5-liter V6 engine, push-button start, 10-way power driver’s seat, and LED fog lamps.
The 2017 Ford Escape, launching in the coming months, will also feature a Sport Appearance Package.
Ford also partnered with BraunAbility to manufacture BraunAbility MXV, a wheelchair-accessible SUV based off the Explorer.
“Explorer has always been associated with helping people go places they otherwise could not, and BraunAbility MXV furthers that reputation,” Odeh says.
He says the BraunAbility MXV offers sliding-door technology, removable driver and passenger seats, and a powered in-floor ramp. Odeh says wheelchair users can drive the vehicle from a wheelchair or ride as a passenger.
The vehicle is sold at more than 200 dealers across the United States.
IN REALTED FORD NEWS, the automaker has developed a wearable device that’s connected to a smartphone app, enabling production line workers to make faster and more accurate quality checks on vehicles.
Previously, workers at Ford’s manufacturing facility in Valencia, Spain used a paper system, walking back and forth to access information on a desktop computer. Now with the app, quality checks can be made on the wrist-worn device, and the moving assembly line can be stopped immediately as needed.
“The ability to simply consult a smartphone screen to check any aspect of a vehicle’s quality and specification helps to guarantee highest levels of product quality, and improves work processes and manufacturing efficiency,” says Linda Cash, vice president of manufacturing for Ford of Europe.
Cash says the Bluetooth-enabled device recognizes the exact quality inspection requirements for each vehicle that passes along the assembly line. She says the new system has helped to reduce human error by 7 percent, while at the same time making each vehicle check seven seconds quicker.