In the beginning...
The story of the First Ford Explorer
Information for this
article was provided by:
Derek Elliott, Former Ford Body & Electrical Engineer
This is the first Ford
Explorer to roll off of
the Louisville production line. Sept. 1990
The FPV (Financial Planning
Volume) objective was 250,000 units per year over a 10 year
cycle. From the projected FPV the profit margin goal was set.
After all the financial &
political mess had been sorted out we could now start the task
we had been trained for, design engineering, safety, durability
& meet FMVSS, (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards) for
certification and sign off by our legal office.
Back in Dearborn we got to
work with the HAD to get the clay model to a point of
feasibility that satisfied styling & all BMDs, (Basic
Manufacturing Divisions) as well as outside suppliers.
Once the clay model is fully
feasible we have reached the first mile stone. The model is then
scanned electronically providing engineering with the vehicles
At clay approval you are
telling top executives that you are an an 80% confidence level
that can build the UN46 at a given production rate (84 per hour)
by the Job #1 date, and that date is set in concrete.
My task now was to ensure
that we could meet both the timing and feasibility through to
Job #1 i.e.
- Prove out the vehicle ergonomics
- Package the driveline, engine &
- Make sure that the vehicles
structure will meet both safety & durability
- keep the styling theme on track
- meet all European standards for
- Design/Engineer into the UN46 all
safety requirements i.e. restraints both passive &
- Build prototypes in line with PERT
timing objective PERT (Program Evaluation & Research
- meet the Job #1 timing - less
- Maintain program cost objectives
- Generate a two door sports model
- Meet 2 1/2 MPH bumper impact without damaging any
sheetmetal skin. At 2 1/2 MPH the bumper deflected
- Mazda Corp. wants a two door sport vehicle restyled to
We met with Mazda management
in LA & worked out how we could meet Mazda's wants without
upsetting the UN46 program.
We made Job #1 for both the
Explorer & the Mazda Navajo at a build rate of 84 units per
hour, instead of meeting the objective FPV of 250,000 units per
year we have built over 400,000 units since 1990.
Prior to Job #1 I was told I
had caner of the lung which put me out of action for 6 months.
1995 UPN - (Utility &
Pickup of North American Operations)
Major facelift to the body
Add SLA front suspension
(short arm - long arm) & delete the I beam front suspension.
Redesign the Ranger wit ha
Per Mr. Trottman our new CEO
replacing Red Poling he wanted the 302 V8 packaged in the
Explorer design & design a new cargo box for the Ranger
And so we start all over
again, but this time we had to have all of the engineering done
& go to Job #1 in less than 36 months from clay approval.
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