Ford Is Glad the Explorer Sport Draws Younger and and Richer Customers

Ford is very happy with the people that buy its Explorer Sport, as the range-topping SUV is bringing younger, wealthier and more educated customers into its showrooms.

According to Ford, nearly one-quarter of Ford Explorer Sport buyers are under 35 years old, while 54 percent are 44 or younger. That looks good compared to buyers of standard Ford Explorer models, of which only 3 percent are under 35 and 32 percent are 44 and younger.

Furthermore, 40 percent of Explorer Sport buyers make more than $150,000 a year, compared to 24 percent for the normally aspirated Explorer and 17 percent for the Ford brand overall. As for education, 60 percent of Explorer Sport customers hold a university or graduate degree, compared to 56 percent for Explorer buyers and 46 percent for Ford buyers overall.

The automaker also says 15 percent of Explorer Sport SUVs are bought by customers coming from luxury brands, including Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. The vehicle considered most seriously by these customers before choosing the Explorer Sport is the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The biggest Explorer Sport markets are New York, Los Angeles, Detroit, Dallas, Chicago, Denver and Houston.

So why is it important for Ford to attract younger and richer buyers? Matt Zuehlk, Explorer brand manager, explains. “Younger buyers give automakers a better chance at customer retention, while affluent customers tend to buy highly contented, more expensive vehicles that are typically more profitable.”

The Ford Explorer Sport is powered by a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine producing 365hp and 350lb-ft (474Nm) of torque. Pricing starts at $43,565, which is significantly more than the base Explorer, priced from $31,495. Despite that, Ford says 90 percent of Explorer Sport sales come with a higher-level trim package that brings the cost to approximately $47,000.


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