It’s big, it’s heavy, it consumes a ton of gas… and yet, North American consumers continue to clamour for it. And this is not just idle talk; the American automaker based in Dearborn, Michigan confirmed officially this past winter that it was revising upwards production figures for its two mega-sized SUVs: the Ford Expedition and its more luxurious (and now more-powerful) cousin, the Lincoln Navigator.
Ford’s plant in Louisville, Kentucky is thus taking on more personnel to meet growing demand for the two large SUVs. No fewer than 550 new jobs are being added at the assembly plant, where just a few short years falling demand had led to job cuts. Times have certainly changed, helped in no small part by the overhaul of the Expedition last year.
That revamp did the Expedition a lot of good; for one it saw the SUV drop its steel outer shell in favour of aluminum, like the Ford F-150 truck. I had occasion to get behind the wheel of the automaker’s largest utility model earlier this spring, as the final remnants of snow lingered on the ground. Here is the portrait of an old friend who took to the gym, and seems to have given itself a second life, or at least prolonged its journey for a few more years.
As imposing as ever
The Expedition shed 136 kg with its refont, thanks especially to the switch to aluminum – and the Expedition has several panels, so that switch made a difference! But that doesn’t mean the Expedition has altered its formula in any meaningful way. That formula has allowed Ford to rake in real profits on the model since the late 1990s, so it would have been unwise to mess with it. In its guts the Ford Expedition is thus still a cousin to the F-Series pickup, with the exception of the rear suspension which foregoes traditional leaf springs for an independent suspension.