As Ford Authority previously reported, all-electric versions of the Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator are set to be produced at the automaker’s Oakville Assembly plant starting in 2025, replacing production of the Ford Edge and Lincoln Nautilus. That led many to wonder what would become of the ICE-powered Ford Explorer, which is currently built at the Chicago Assembly plant, though multiple reports have indicated that the crossover will indeed live on – perhaps well into the next decade. Now, we have even more potential proof that the Ford Explorer will continue to be built at the Chicago plant for the foreseeable future, courtesy of the United Auto Workers’ (UAW) tentative contract agreement with the automaker.
In its product roadmap submitted to the union, FoMoCo noted that it will invest $400 million into the Chicago Assembly plant, and also reveals that production of the Ford Explorer will continue there in ICE form, alongside the hybrid and Police Interceptor Utility versions. This is notable because as we can see here, production of the Explorer’s platform mate – the Lincoln Aviator – is slated to continue “through its product lifecycle,” indicating that the luxurious crossover may be in line for discontinuation – at least in ICE form.
In the meantime, the 2024 Ford Explorer will carry over mostly unchanged with order banks set to open in January, save for the deletion of the 3.3L V6 hybrid powertrain from the civilian version. It’s unclear what the future holds for the Explorer hybrid in general, but the Police Interceptor Utility will continue to be sold with this powertrain, at least. It’s possible that it or a differently type of hybrid powertrain may debut alongside a mid-cycle refresh for the Explorer that was originally planned for the 2024 model year, but has since been pushed back to 2025.