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Auto blogFri, 12 Apr 2013 11:26:00 EST
The current Ford Explorer is sold in more than 64 countries, and this three-row vehicle continues to grow in popularity worldwide. To keep up with demand, Ford began producing the Explorer at Ford Sollers Elabuga Assembly Plant in Tatarstan, Russia, a joint venture facility. This partnership will build Russian-market Explorers only, and production of export vehicles not destined for Russian buyers will continue to be built at Ford's assembly plant in Chicago.
Before this plant went online, Ford would ship Explorers to Russia (and other regions around the world) as partially assembled knock-down units where final assembly would eventually take place. While there is no indication as to how many Explorers Ford Sollers will build for Russia, Ford did add that exports of the SUV were up 65 percent last year (from 2011) accounting for more than 24,000 units.
Scroll down for a press release about the Russian Explorer as well as a video (bad music and all) showing the SUV being produced in Tatarstan.
The Ford C-Max is having a rough time. Sales for the five-door hybrid hatchback were down 39.1 percent in March to 2,295 cars, and sales from January through March were down 42.5 percent to 5,566 units. In an interview with The Detroit News, Ford Americas boss Joe Hinrichs places the blame on lowering the model's fuel economy rating.
"We're definitely seeing consideration on C-Max decline over time. We need to reinvest in the product because it's a great car," said Hinrichs to The Detroit News.
The company was hit with bad publicity over the C-Max when owners in multiple states filed class action lawsuits that alleged the cars weren't able to meet the stated fuel economy. Ford eventually re-rated the model from 47 miles per gallon city, highway and combined to 40 mpg city, 45 mpg highway and 43 mpg combined. To soften the blow of the change, the automaker sent checks to the owners to make up some of the difference. Initially, Ford claimed that demand remained strong for the hybrid. However, the latest sales figures and Hinrichs' statement seem to show the opposite.
Once again, the most American car on the market is from an American brand. The Ford F-150 retained its number one spot in Cars.com's annual survey of the most American vehicles, trumping the Toyota Camry, which remains at number two.
Ford taking the top spot is small consolation, though, as the Detroit Three aren't too well represented here. General Motors scored a win at number seven, with the Chevrolet Corvette, while Chrysler squeaked in at number ten, with the Dodge Viper. Outside of those three vehicles, Toyota and Honda dominate the top ten.
What's most remarkable, though, is that there were so few cars available for this year's list.