DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co.'s plan to unveil the redesigned 2011 Explorer online -- and not at an auto show -- is raising eyebrows among organizers of the Detroit auto show.
The automaker is gradually releasing snippets about the crossover on Facebook. This summer, Ford will reveal the vehicle on the social media Web site, says Eric Peterson, Ford's crossover marketing and communications manager.
"We wanted to have the Explorer stand out" from the crowd of unveilings and other events at a big auto show, Peterson says.
Sam Locricchio, a spokesman for the North American International Auto Show here, agrees that Facebook is a great way to draw buzz. But Ford also needs to give customers a hands-on experience, he says.
"When you're making the second-largest purchase in your life next to your home, you're going to want to have that close-up experience," Locricchio says. "You want to know if those lines match up or if it's just like that on your computer screen."
Peterson says Ford also plans to show the 2011 Explorer at auto shows starting this year.