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Really Ford? How many different versions of the Expedition do you really need to manufacture?

I was looking at Ford Expeditions the other day to price them because in a few years I’m considering buying a larger SUV because I live in rural Nevada, I like to go camping, hunting, and other outdoorsy stuff and well I can’t take my little car to a lot of places I like to go and I like the Expedition because of the way it handles, the looks, and its got the features I want. The only thing that’s making me crazy is all the different versions available. There’s the XLT, King Ranch, Limited, 4x2, 4x4, Flex Fuel, etc. I know the EL versions are the Extra Long which gives you about 12 extra inches of cargo space. The list goes on. So I go online and I do some homework and I listed the Features I want and it came up with the XLT 4x4 with Blue Tooth, Navigation, Adjustable Pedals, Leather seats oh yeah with airconditioning, rain sensing windshield wipers, climate control, flex fuel, defrosting mirrors, back up assist (with camera on the bumper, a feature I like) all for the bargain price of 51k. My head is spinning. I mean why so many different versions? I’m a confused consumer here!

Many car companies, GM, Nissan, Toyota, all offer different versions with different features just because each customer is looking for that right combination for them. No two customers are alike, and have different needs and wants. The car makers try to provide for those differences by offering the many different option packages.

So, why the confusion? Obviously you found the option package that fits your needs and desires. And, without having a salesman pushing you into a purchase with fast talk. Kudos. Now, find the color that knocks your socks off, and you found the perfect truck.

It’s called “Shelf Space”. Ford does this because they can and many of their competitors can not… This gives them an advantage in the marketplace…“We can offer you something nobody else can” (this allows us to adjust our price-points to achieve maximum profitability)

Its an American thing. Toyota, Honda, and now Hyundai who all build vehicles(most in USA btw) in roughly 3-4 trim levels with the mantra is you get what you get and don’t get upset. They have been extremely successful with this model. Not sure if Big Three will follow suit.

Expeditions are great vehicles and have certainly won the hearts of a lot users. That they have so many models, is a testimony to their success, even during high gas price times. They are not very good off road though, if camping takes you far off the beaten track. The clearance sounds good on paper, but the poor off road undercarriage with the added length gets hung up easily.The extra long will be much worse. My neighbor bought one and found out the hard way. He kept it one winter and mud season.

At one time, the Expedition was judged the worse of any SUV tested.
http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/2004-03-02-trucks_x.htm
A mid size Pathfinder or 4Runner or even Jeep Grand Cherokee would serve you better for camping in the wilds along with a comfy ride…though nothing compares to an Expedition in that respect. HD turnpike cruisers with great towing is their forte’.

The only companies that I’m aware of that make true true off road super sized, comfortable truck based SUV are Toyota and Nissan with the Sequoia and Armada with skid plates and better off road geometry… You may discover that other then the four wheel drive, you can’t go places much worse then where your little compact will take you with the Expedition. No one as you know makes one that doesn’t require stock in a petrol corporation. But," a few years" is a long ways away and something else may be to your liking by then.

Actually that’s not a huge number of models, it’s not that complicated. You have three trim levels, two drivetrains, and two lengths, and that’s it. Compared to let’s say the Mustang, you have four models (V6,GT,Boss 302, and the GT500) with the V6 and GT having two submodels V6 premium/deluxe and GT premium/deluxe. Or look at the F-150 you have no fewer than ten models (XL, XLT, STX,FX2, FX4,Lariat, Raptor, King Ranch, Platinum, and Harley Davidson), 4 engine choice, 3 cab configurations, 3 bed sizes, and of course 2WD or 4WD. So comparatively the Expedition lineup is quite simple.

There used to be even more Ford made models, Mercury and Lincoln brands had their versions of all Ford models including the Expedition. Now Ford puts the Ford name on all of them and offers the range from basic to fully loaded super luxury models. You just have to sort through the offerings and pick what works best. Seems you have luxury desires on a basic budget. $58K is a lot of money and you loose about 40% of it in 2 years of depreciation. If you don’t like those numbers buy a used one about 5 years old.

I bought a used '01 Sequoia in Nov. '08 for $10.5K and last time I checked it still had an Edmunds True Market Value close to what I paid for it.

Personally, I’d like to see it expanded to something like Dell used to do with their computer systems. I order the optional features I want and only the features I want- build your own car online and have it delivered in 3-4 weeks. I hate going to buy a car and wanting one option that is part of a larger package and having to pay for all that extra stuff I have no interest in. Sometimes, the combination of factory chosen options make no sense to me either. Then there’s the compromise on what’s available- want the sunroof? It’s only available in cars that are painted metallic pea…

@katidid79 - you should start out with the minimum Expedition, and see if you can ‘option it up’ to meet your needs without getting a high-line model. Sometimes you can, sometimes certain options are not available on the lower trim lines.

Once againt the assembly line unions win.

Having definitive package and model levels allows for some level of selection between personal tastes of customers. This is the nature of the market…not just Ford.
But I have a gripe that there is so LITTLE choice to option out a vehicle even when special ordering.
Customers are stuck and relegated to just a few ‘‘package’’ choices…and are many times stuck with an option or two they DON’T want because it’s only included with ‘X’ package and not individually.

Back in the day you could ‘‘cafeteria’’ order your entire list of options.
power seats and manual windows ?
Manual seats and power windows ?
electric door locks or not…mix and match …you name it.

But then the union workers got lazy and wanted their ‘‘work’’ environment to be effortless and thought free…heaven forbid they have to READ a line sheet :frowning:

So now there’s just bult packages that can have automated feed lines and pre-assemblies.
Even the interior ‘‘color?’’ choices suck eggs these days.

Ken green, that has to be one the dumbest posts I’ve ever read. The unions have absolutely nothing to do with packaging. It’s all the marketing department. They spend a lot of time trying to package certain things to maximize options cost. You may only want cruise control but they know you will pay extra to get it even if you have to take the adjustable steering wheel to get it.

Let’s blame unions for acne too. So the union heads decide the option packages ? Gee, sure wish I had that much power in the union I belonged to.

Ford also has a habit of plastering a winning name that’s selling vehicles on a lot of different models. Look at how many different vehicles are called “Explorer” for example–even more than those branded Expedition.

IMHO, rain-sensing wipers is a pointless option that doesn’t work nearly as well as it sounds like it should.

I lucked out and the Salesman wasn’t pushy, in fact he was kind enough to let me drive a used 2011 Expedition that was sitting on the lot so I could get a feel for it. He said he’d love to give me top dollar for my Versa because with the gas prices being the way they are, he’d easily sell that thing because my Versa is in Excellant condition. I take care of my cars but I still owe 10k on the Versa so I wouldn’t have a lot of money to put down on the Expedition and once my Versa is paid off, if its still running good I’m keeping it. It’ll be a good car for my son to drive when he turns 16 which is in 8 years from now. I prefer to walk in with Cash to put down. Ground Clearance isn’t a huge issue with me, I am very familiar with the roads and trails around here so I know which roads and trails I can travel on without getting stuck or hung up on rocks (That’s what ATV’s are for lol). As far as color goes? Anything but Red or Yellow. I used to have a little Red Plymouth Laser many years ago and I’m not kidding, I got pulled over more in that car than I did any other vehicle I’ve ever owned. My stepmom and my Dad, well they’re not Ford Fans, they like Jeeps and I don’t like Jeeps! I don’t like the way they handle. My stepmom says her Jeep Grand Cherokee is better than the Expedition and my mom’s Nissan Armada but I beg to differ. The Engine in the Expedition is about 3 liters less than the Jeep Grand Cherokee (Stepmom has the HEMI Engine) and is about 20-30HP less but it can still haul 9,000lbs, it has more space in it, and I speak from experiance that Fords can take a beating. I used to work for the Government and we used to have to drive through the desert on Security Patrols and the roads were more like off road trails and the Fords handled just fine.

And to Add, My mom has a 2011 Nissan Armada and that thing all I can say is WOW!. That thing is really nice, I LOVE driving it when mom lets me. What I like better about the Expedition is it has the Air Conditioned seats, I never really thought about it as being a “must-have” until I rode in mom’s Armada which has leather seats and in the summer, my lower back gets sweaty and I have to peel myself off the seats lol and I like how the back door on the Expedition opens electronically and the adjustable pedals. The salesman was trying to veer me towards one with moon roof but I said I was not paying extra for something I won’t ever use. I don’t for moon roofs, all they do is catch Bird Poop lol.

kriley, I agree with the basis of your post. Perhaps I misread it and correct me if I did but I think you have cost and price mixed up.

They spend a lot of time trying to package certain things to maximize options cost.

The seller is trying to minimize cost and maximize price. You’re right, it is all about the net gain. I believe your premise there are motivating factors where one feature has the most profit margin so they try to make sure that feature is bundled in with some other desirable feature most consumers can’t seem to live without. By the same token, car manufacturers are some of the most prolific users of focus groups and other marketing tools to guage the 80-20 rule on preferences, including bundling of optional equipment. If it satisfies 80% of our projected consumer base and it costs us less to assemble only one version in larger volumes, then do it and assume the risk the remaining 20% may be disgruntled.