Ford Motor Co. will show off the Explorer's new Sony audio system via a 60-second TV spot starring hip-hop recording star Nelly at the Grammy Awards. In a statement, Matt VanDyke, Ford's director of U.S. marketing, said that the Grammys is a great opportunity to reach a broad audience. Going against tradition, Ford unveiled the redesigned crossover in July on Facebook instead of at an auto show.
Since then, consumers have been able to interact with Ford on Facebook where there are videos that feature engineers and several celebrities responding to questions about the crossover.
The Explorer has more than 138,000 Facebook fans. Nelly is one of the stars featured in the videos. Ford modified the video into a 60-second spot that shows Nelly talking with a TV director about the best way to publicize the Explorer's sound system. In this chat, the director suggested a lot of theatrics, but Nelly wanted to “keep it real.” While the debate goes on, Nelly's new song, “Gone,” is playing.
Ford said that the Explorer will be featured in three other commercials during the Grammys that “lean heavily on music to tell the Explorer story.” Production of the redesigned 2011 Explorer started in early December. It has a starting price of $28,995, including shipping, which is about $1,100 lower than the outgoing model.
According to Ford Design Manager Melvin Betancourt, the design of the new Explorer visually reflects Ford’s styling genes as evidenced by the Mustang-derived wheel flares as well as a body-side undercut inspired by the current Taurus design protocol.
Betancourt quipped that the new Ford Explorer features a fresh interpretation of the Ford signature three-bar grille. He added that the Ford DNA trapezoidal lower grille located below the bumper allows for visual continuity. Understandably, the new Ford Explorer comes with standard roof rack, shorter overhang, rounded corners, as well as aggressive wheels and tires. It also features LED stop lamps housed in the jewel-like tail-lamp cluster at the rear.
Fans would love that the “Explorer” name is highlighted from the rear liftgate appliqué. On the other hand, the new Ford Explorer features a modern, soft-touch and comfortable interior. It comes with a number of elements that showcase not only its technology but also its convenience and connectivity – all working to inspire driver confidence in tackling any road, whenever and wherever.
Ford was able to transform the interior of the Explorer into one that reeks of prestige and class, thanks to the use of high-class materials and painstaking attention to details. Mike Arbaugh, interior studio manager, remarked that the goal for the interior of the new Explorer was to make it look expensive. He noted that since the Ford Explorer aims to take on higher-end SUVs like the BMW X5 and Audi Q7, its interior design and craftsmanship should be at par with its targets.
True enough, the interior package for the Ford Explorer combines premium European design cues that convey driving dynamics and American familiarity and sophistication. Its European cues are well-conveyed with the seamless flow from SUV’s instrument panel into the doors as well as the forward-leaning center stack, while its American attributes include the high seating position that provides a sense of security.
In addition, the Ford Explorer features an interior package that is a genuine interpretation of the vaunted Ford DNA – with storage spaces meticulously and carefully laid out throughout the SUV’s interior. Moreover, the SUV’s instrument and door panels feature soft-touch surfaces, which render the interior of the Ford Explorer gratifying both aesthetically and physically. In fact, recycled content accounts for around 25 percent of cloth cabin surfaces.
Moreover, seating foam is made from environment friendly soy-based content. The new Ford Explorer also features metal speaker grilles in the door panels, a feature that has made Arbaugh – himself an audiophile – excited. He remarked that these grilles convey SUV ruggedness, adding that while they look technical and expensive, they also provide outstanding sound transparency.
Arbaugh also remarked that modern design, soft-touch surfaces and chrome accents provide the new Explorer with an “upscale aura” that customers would appreciate. He added that features like the media hub and MyFord Touch driver connect technology both reflect and enhance the lifestyles of SUV owners.