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Old name, new car - well-known technology!

Ford is repositioning itself in Europe. More US models are added to the portfolio and there is cooperation. For example with Volkswagen.

The Ford Explorer is the first product on the Wolfsburg-based MEB platform. But you don't see it at all. (If you wear three dots on the armband)

Getting up close and personal with the new Ford Explore is accompanied by several aha moments. Firstly, the future Explorer is no longer an XXL SUV. And secondly, you don't see (directly) that component sharing with the Volkswagen Group is going on here.

The black band at the front bears the model name

So there is now a new, quite compact SUV that impresses above all with its characteristic design. The new automobile built in Cologne Multifunction Tool sets itself apart from the competition, radiates a thirst for adventure and a touch of trekking character. The front draws particular attention to the black connecting piece between the rather futuristically shaped headlights, into which the architects have placed the model names placed — in large, raised letters. The same bond can also be found between the tail lights. The side is characterized by a deliberately high waistline; a window line that rises slightly towards the rear flows directly into the extravagant C-pillar. This is emblazoned with a pattern that connects to the rear window in a slightly offset form — you may like it or not, but the design is always an eye-catcher. Extremely short overhangs are an indicator that the developers have achieved good use of space.

Ford takes over the technology from VW

Ford's engineers didn't just get the drives from them Wolfsburg taken over, but touched again. The performance values ​​deviate slightly. The range of drives extends from 125 kW/170 hp to 250 kW/340 hp. The latter version has two electric motors under the sheet metal, a synchronous motor at the rear and a asynchronous engine for the Front. The base has rear-wheel drive. The golden mean is the 210 kW/286 hp Explorer with rear-wheel drive. It is unclear whether Ford has also worked on the charging capacity and goes beyond the peak of 135 kilowatts, which is still the current status of the VW ID.4.

Inside, the gaze gets caught by the large central touchscreen (14,6 inches). Not that it differs fundamentally from the equally expansive screens that you would find in the previous Explorer or Mach-e, but there is a clou with this one: it can be tilted by 30 degrees. There is also a compartment behind the screen in which valuables can be stowed, for example.

Anyone who was afraid that the Ford might not be independent enough inside should be taught a lesson. The interior designers had a clear agenda here: brand genes must be visible in the interior. Mission accomplished, you find yourself in a Ford, which is already evident from the design of the air vents you can see. The decorative elements in the doors pick up on the design language of the dashboard. A visually exciting "soundbar" is located on the center console. Interior design must also be practical, the designers from Cologne think and install a center console with 17 liters of storage space. Speaking of: The trunk Incidentally, once the backrests are folded down, it will be able to carry luggage equivalent to 1.400 liters.

The cockpit is characterized by an upright screen

In addition to the LED matrix light, the technical delicacies of the new Explorer include the full arsenal of assistants with various autonomous braking functions. What is new is that the Explorer will also be able to change lanes itself. The launch will take place during the year. With a bit of luck, the first customers will get their cars before Christmas.

Patrick Broich / SP-X

Three questions for Ford manager Christian Weingärtner

Back to US roots

Ford is completely redesigning its range of passenger cars in Europe. The E-Crossover Explorer plays a special role in the realignment.  

Ford wants to evolve from a classic volume supplier with a price-performance focus to a lifestyle brand. What this has to do with the brand's new electric model is explained by Dr. Christian Weingärtner, Managing Director for Ford Germany, Austria and Switzerland and Managing Director Marketing and Sales at Ford-Werke GmbH, at the world premiere of the all-electric Explorer.

Why is your new electric car called "Explorer" - a name that has a long tradition in the USA but is relatively unknown in Europe?

Ford, as a large American automobile manufacturer with a long tradition indeed, stands for series such as the F-150, the Mustang, the Bronco or the Explorer - i.e. for vehicles that are credible and authentic and that only Ford can build in this way. With the choice of name for our first fully electric car model produced in Cologne, we want to consciously continue this tradition and also differentiate ourselves from the European competition through the naming.

As Explorer comes, Focus goes. Do you see the Explorer as a Focus successor?

The Ford Focus will stay with us until 2025. Nevertheless, some previous Focus customers will certainly buy the Explorer in the future. But our new electric car is not in the tradition of the Focus, but in that of the US Explorer, which came onto the North American market in 1990 and triggered the SUV trend there. What he and the Focus have in common, however, is that they - each in their own way - are or will be real volume products.

Ford is rehearsing the big change from a price-sensitive volume brand to a lifestyle provider in Europe. Why?

I wouldn't interpret that as a big change, because Ford has always had a much clearer and more polarizing positioning in the USA than in Germany. So our roots are in the USA. And when you think of America, you think positively of the "adventurous spirit", i.e. of freedom, adventure, outdoors. Our products should convey this positive attitude towards life. We also want to consciously set ourselves apart from the competition in terms of design, there are already enough interchangeable electric cars. What's more, here in Europe, two large corporations in particular dominate the car business. If we want to survive as a Ford brand, then it will only be possible with a very clear positioning - and not with the cheapest price.

Holger Holzer / SP-X

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