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Explorer's double whammy

Radio commentary
Edward Lapham is the editor of Automotive News

Aug. 21 - Even diehard supporters of the Ford Explorer now admit that the once-dominant SUV is having some real image problems. And it's terrible timing because the company needs strong Explorer sales more than ever. It may seem obvious that the Firestone tire mess is what's causing the pain, but it's much more than that.

The Explorer just plain has a lot more competition. Four years ago, Explorer had only seven competitors that could muster 50,000 sales or more. Now, there are 17.

And many of those competitors, including General Motors and Toyota, have products that are at least as good - or better - than the Explorer.

That's a double whammy for Ford, but it's a windfall of good products for consumers.

You can reach Edward Lapham at elapham@crain.com

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