DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. hasn't targeted higher sales for the redesigned 2007 Ford Explorer Sport Trac.
Instead, the automaker hopes to maintain sales at the level of the outgoing model, said Chris Brewer, chief engineer for the Explorer and Sport Trac.
The cautious approach reflects the steep fall in SUV sales this year.
Ford doesn't break out detailed sales figures for the Sport Trac, a combination SUV-pickup. But the nameplate consistently has sold around 60,000 units annually, Ford officials say.
The 2007 Sport Trac will go on sale in late February. There was no 2006 model. Sport Trac production has been suspended since June as Ford prepared a re-engineered 2006 Explorer for launch this fall.
The 2007 Sport Trac will share a platform with the 2006 Explorer, although the wheelbase is 16.8 inches longer than the Explorer's. Much of the exterior and interior is shared with the Explorer, while the tailgate is shared with the F-150.
With the '07 model, the Sport Trac gets a V-8 engine for the first time, a 4.6-liter producing 292 hp that is paired with a six-speed automatic. The Sport Trac's standard 4.0-liter V-6 is paired with a five-speed automatic.
The Sport Trac also gets an independent rear suspension for the first time.
Its cargo box is deeper than the previous version and contains three integrated storage bins.
Ford hasn't set prices for the 2007 model, but Brewer said no big increase is in the cards. The 2005 Sport Trac started at $24,940, including shipping.
Ford already is planning a high-performance version of the truck developed by its Special Vehicle Team. The Sport Trac Adrenalin is expected to go on sale in 2007.
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