Body Type:Pickup Truck
Exterior Color: Blue
Interior Color: Blue
Number of Cylinders: 8
Drive Type: RWD
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Auto blogThu, 23 Jan 2014 18:32:00 EST
Customers are a commodity in the automotive industry, and like any other commodity, automakers trade them back and forth. Only nobody wants to give up their customers - just to keep the ones they have and try to attract others.
That's what the Polk Automotive Loyalty Awards are all about. Every year the industry research body names the automakers, brands and models that manage to keep their customers coming back for more - and attract buyers to switch from other makes. Ford usually does pretty well, but this year it rose above even its own track record.
Not only did Dearborn win the Overall Loyalty to Manufacturer award, but also the Overall Loyalty to Make. Ford also took the African American category, and the F-150 was named the top full-size half-ton pickup in customer loyalty. Ford COO Mark Fields (pictured above) accepted the awards and gave the keynote address at the awards ceremony.
Speeders beware, the police are going to be getting quite a bit faster. Ford has just announced that it will be offering its 3.5-liter, twin-turbocharged, EcoBoost V6 in the Explorer Police Interceptor. The new engine will be joining the existing 3.7-liter V6. The 365-horsepower, 350-pound-foot mill should be familiar to consumers as the powerplant that's found in the Ford Taurus SHO (and its LEO equivalent, the Taurus Police Interceptor) and the Ford Explorer Sport. It should also provide quite a kick in the pants to officers used to the naturally aspirated 3.7 and its 304 ponies and 279 pound-feet of torque.
The move to the more potent powerplant was born out of all the equipment officers need to carry on a day-to-day basis. These days, there's so much stuff that police need on a regular basis, that there's a genuine market for a faster Police Interceptor Utility, as it's known officially. The Explorer-based cruiser has already accounted for 68 percent of Ford's LEO sales in 2013, and that's with just the 3.7, and we'd only expect that number to increase once the twin-turbo, 3.5-liter V6 is available. Ford won't offer up any indication of what the take rate will be on the new engine, but we're guessing it'll be fairly high.
The success of the Explorer PI couldn't have come at a better time for Ford. The decision to end Crown Victoria production was not a popular one with police, and combined with Chevrolet and Dodge diving into the LEO market feet first, Ford hasn't been performing as well as it's wanted to. The Explorer has been helping it turn around, though. And with the inclusion of the EcoBoost, Ford also has a legit competitor for the Chevrolet Tahoe on the big utility side of the police market.
It happens every year. We bid adieu to some cars and trucks that will be missed, and say good riddance to others wondering how they stayed around so long. Whether they're being killed off for slow sales or due to a new product coming along to replace them, the list of vehicles being discontinued after 2012 is surprisingly long and diverse.
CNN Money has compiled a list of departing vehicles, to which we've added a few more of our own. In the slow sales column, cars like the Lexus HS 250h, Mercedes-Benz R-Class and the full Maybach lineup appear, while the Ford Escape Hybrid, Mazda CX-7 and Hyundai Veracruz are all having their gaps filled with more modern and more fuel-efficient alternatives. Obvious exceptions to the rule include models that still sell in decent numbers like the Jeep Liberty and the Chrysler Town & Country (which will eventually be replaced by a crossover-like vehicle).
Check out our gallery of discontinued cars above, then scroll down for more information.