Ford’s changeover to a new Explorer unibody SUV has already claimed a victim: the impending death of the half-pickup, half-SUV Sport Trac.
The Explorer sport Trac will disappear after a decade in showrooms, right along with the current generation Explorer. Ford will send buyers of rugged pickups to the F150, which comes in the kind of crew cab configurations that marked the Sport Trac, said Frank Davis, executive director for Ford’s North American product program. The Sport Trac is more a niche vehicle anyway, he adds. That means it lacks the broader appeal of the F150 or some other Ford models.
Ford doesn’t break out how many of the 6,700 Explorers last month were the Sport Trac version, but it’s unlikely that it was many. When it debuted at the Detroit auto show in 1999, the Sport Trac was a bit of an odd creature, taking its front from an Explorer and back end from a Ranger pickup truck. But that was about the time that the Explorer was one of Ford’s biggest sellers, so permutations seemed like a natural.
Now, with SUV sales waning out of gas concerns and the rising popularity of crossovers, the Sport Trac is done. For that matter, the Ranger pickup is going to go away as well, Davis said.