Ford to launch new Explorer into Cyberspace

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No pyrotechnics, no dazzling light show or blaring music, no lasers and no Vogue runway models. Ford Motor Company will not be using any of the usual tricks and effects found surrounding a new model launch when they introduce the world to the 2011 Ford Explorer next week. Instead, they plan on a massive Facebook attack combined with face-to-face events in key markets throughout North America. Like pornstars and musicians before them, automakers are migrating to the web for their venue of choice to reach the masses.

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Despite lots smiles and handshakes, Ford has issued gag orders to all media invited to Dearborn earlier this week (yours truly included) for some “up close and personal” time with the next-gen vehicle and the team behind it. I have been asked (threatened) to not publish any information about the new vehicle until July 26, 2010, or what Ford is calling “Ford Explorer Day.” (And I am not even sure I should be telling you that.)

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The Ford Explorer has been a popular vehicle for the automaker, selling more than a quarter-million units at its peak in 2000. Ford has been in the midst of model makeovers recently, with Fusion and Taurus getting massive attention last year and Super Duty earlier this Spring. The summer of 2010 marked the North American return of Fiesta and a new Focus has been promised by year’s end.

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And thusly, 07.26.2010 is Explorer’s turn. A Facebook page has already been seeing lots of activity for the new model and even some stealth images of the new vehicle have made an appearance. Ford released some early fuel economy news announcing the 2011 model will feature the all-new EcoBoost I-4 engine that should deliver 30 percent better fuel economy than the outgoing Explorer, a very big concern of SUV buyers of late.

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As the embargo lifts Monday, I will post my take on the new vehicle, but until then, Mum’s the word.

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