Ford Authority

Ford Explorer Sport Popular Among Affluent Gen-Xers, Study Finds

The 365-horsepower Ford Explorer Sport is quite popular among professionals belonging to “Generation X,” a new study finds. Here, Generation X is defined as those born between 1965 and 1978.

This revelation came about from a new vehicle customer study conducted by MaritzCX, which determined that the Ford Explorer Sport has the highest percentage of Gen X buyers of any non-luxury SUV. According to MaritzCX Director of Research Services Jim Mulcrone, the average mid-size SUV attracts a customer base with about 23 percent belonging to Generation X; for the Ford Explorer Sport, the rate of Gen X buyers is nearly 40 percent.

“Ford has a very interesting customer with this product, and what’s unusual is that many are buying it without trading anything in,” says Mr. Mulcrone. “Our study shows that while 17 percent of all non-luxury SUV buyers classify themselves as ‘specialty professionals,’ that number is closer to one in four with Explorer Sport. It seems this product is breaking through.”

The Ford Explorer Sport seems to be attracting plenty of affluent members of Generation X, with the average buyer having a household income of around $175,000, compared to $112,000 for the typical mid-size SUV buyer. Those customers who do trade something in when buying are twice as likely as the average mid-size SUV customer to turn in a premium vehicle (12 percent for Explorer Sport, vs. 6 percent for the segment).

“When consumers look at Explorer Sport, they see all the style and performance of a luxury SUV, but at roughly $20,000 less,” says Ford Explorer Marketing Manager Omar Odeh. “Our surveys show Explorer Sport owners highly rate such attributes as ‘power and pick-up,’ ‘fun to drive’ and ‘overall performance.’

“The best part is they represent incremental buyers for us, in that some don’t even set out looking at the Ford brand. Explorer Sport is proving it can stand on its own.”

The Ford Explorer Sport – not to be confused with the new Explorer XLT Sport model – first debuted in 2014. The 2017 model starts at $45,900, including destination.

Aaron Brzozowski is a writer and motoring enthusiast from Detroit with an affinity for '80s German steel. He is not active on the Twitter these days, but you may send him a courier pigeon.

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