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LOUISVILLE FORD PLANT BUILDS FIRST LUXURY EXPLORER MODEL

 LOUISVILLE, Ky., Feb. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Employees at Ford Motor Company's Louisville Assembly Plant (LAP) today began building a new, luxury model of the popular Ford Explorer, the Explorer Limited.
 To be marketed as a 1994 model, the Limited is a tough, four-door sports-utility vehicle with the comfort and convenience of a luxury car. Suggested retail price of the two-wheel-drive version is $25,672. The price of the four-wheel-drive Limited is $27,422. Ford dealers will begin selling the vehicles as they reach dealership showrooms.
 The Limited is the newest version of the Explorer, North America's best-selling compact utility vehicle.
 Present at today's event at the plant on Fern Valley Road were Chet Kuziemko, Ford Division's Trust Marketing Plant manager; Les Tischler, plant manager, and Steve Stone, chairman of UAW Local 862, representing employees at the plant.
 Employment at the 3.0-million-square-foot plant, which builds 1,700 Explorers and Rangers compact pickup trucks daily, remains at 3,600.
 Upbeat Words About Louisville Work Force
 Kuziemko said: "The Explorer Limited is proof that the best never rest. The Limited will move the Explorer to the next level of comfort and luxury. Because the production team in Louisville is known for its quality, the Explorer Limited is in good hands."
 Tischler said: "Our employees have built 830,000 Explorers since production began in February 1990. Explorer's strong sales show the vehicles were built Ford tough. Our employees are ready to add the Limited to their long list of accomplishments."
 Stone said: "We are anxious to put the frosting on the cake by building this luxury version of the Explorers. It's very satisfying to see that sales of the Explorer we build have surpassed the combined sales of 12 import competitors."
 Kuziemko said the average buyer of a Limited will be 40 years old, slightly older than today's Explorer buyer. About half of Limited buyers are expected to be women. About 90 percent will be married and 65 percent will be college graduates.
 Luxurious Product Features
 All aspects of the Limited -- exterior appearance, interior appointments and functional components -- will be upscale. Color-keyed features include the grille, front and rear bumper fascia, integrated running boards and bodyside moldings.
 Other new exterior features will include unique luxury aluminum wheels, tape stripes, badging and fog lamps. Exterior colors will be White, Deep Forest Green and Dark Cranberry.
 On the inside, the Explorer Limited will feature low-back, luxury leather seats with three-position memory and four-way headrests; leather and cloth door trim panels, and a leather-trim center-console armrest.
 Other interior features include 21-ounce carpeting; floor mats with sewn-in insignia; a color-keyed, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and dual front cup-holders. Interior colors will be Mocha and Opal.
 The Limited will have a new overhead console with a compass, outside temperature gauge, reading lamps and a storage area for items such as a garage-door opener and sunglasses. Other standard features are Ford's remote keyless entry and anti-theft systems, automatically adjusting day-night rear-view mirrors, automatic headlamps and heated outside mirrors.
 The standard powertrain for the Limited will be the 160-horsepower Ford 4.0-liter electronically fuel-injected V-6 engine, matched with a four-speed automatic overdrive transmission.
 Explorer a Strong Seller
 In 1992, despite new competition, Explorer posted a record $306,681 sales in the U.S., up more than 56,000 vehicles, or 22 percent, from 1991 sales. Explorer surpassed the combined totals of its two closest rivals (Chevy S10 Blazer and Jeep Cherokee) by 30,000 vehicles.
 Explorer outsold the combined sales total of all import entries in this segment of the market by 127,000 vehicles. Also in 1992, Ford exported 5,218 Ford Explorers to markets outside North America.
 Ford has announced that its St. Louis Assembly Plant will help Ford more quickly meet customer demand for Explorers. Beginning in 1995, the St. Louis facility will begin producing Explorers to supplement LAP production.
 -0- 2/11/93
 /CONTACT: Tom Boyle of Ford Motor Company, 404-577-2277/


CO: Ford Motor Company ST: Kentucky IN: AUT SU:

BR-BN -- AT003 -- 5538 02/11/93 09:03 EST
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Date:Feb 11, 1993
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