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U-Haul Hates On Fords Top Selling SUV

The Ford Explorer has been Fords best selling SUV for quite some time now. For 2011 the Explorer got a major redesign. The 2011 Explorer is said to have nothing in common with any previous generation Explorer. Unfortunately, for Ford, there was the huge FIRESTONE/BRIDGESTONE/FORD lawsuit back in 1998.

If anyone does not remember; In 1998 Ford Explorers equipped with Firestone tires started rolling over and having blow outs due to the faulty treads. Over several years this caused many injuries and fatalities as well as lawsuits. Some lawsuits, such as one accident in 1999, involving three college students and their Explorer, towing a U-Haul trailer. Their Explorer was also equipped with a set of Firestone tires which blew out and caused them to lose control of the vehicle. The popular lawsuits, like the aforementioned accident, still haunt Ford and the tire company to this day. It is these lawsuits, and may like them, that have made U-Haul cut ties with the current and any generation, Ford Explorer.

It was U-Haul that instituted the ban on renting trailers to Explorer owners. U-Haul said on Dec 22nd that they would no longer sell trailers to owners of Explorers due to the bad reputation they received regarding the lawsuits. Joanne Fried, director of media and corporate relations with U-Haul, told Consumer Reports, “Every time we go to hire an attorney to defend a lawsuit, as soon as we say ‘Ford Explorer’ they charge us more money.” U-Haul says the company's move was "based on the negative perceptions of Ford Explorers ... we are separating ourselves from the negative public perception and its potential consequences."

Sadly though, the new redesigned Explorer is safe but, still is not up to U-Haul’s image standards. Even thought the redesigned SUV can tow 5000 lbs and hook up to any after market trailer hitch safely, U-Haul still can’t afford the cost of the bad image. The new SUV is a uni-body design, unlike the 2010 model which is a body on frame design like all the light/heavy duty trucks Ford produces. The new Explorer has redesigns in every aspect including its wheelbase of 112.6 inches shortened 1.1 inches from the previous model and new lower center of gravity of 7.6 inches dropped down from 8.3 inches from 2010. The new design of the Explorer scores good on any and all NHTSA crash safety tests. Equipped with a 3.5L turbocharged V6 matched to either a FWD or 4X4 drivetrain this SUV is more then equipped to handle a trailer. As long as common sense is used along with good driving practices the Explorer can haul safely. The Explorer is equipped with four disc brakes, front, side and curtain airbags, and an optional blind spot sensor for additional safety in case of a treat of a crash or rollover.

One would think that if an SUV has known issues, and a company disregards this particular vehicle, that would mean this would include all models and variations of the specified vehicle. Fords sister company, Mercury, produces the Mountaineer, off the same plans as the Explorer. Apparently U-Haul either discriminates or thinks there is a difference between the Ford Explorer and the Mercury Mountaineer. There is not. Both the Explorer and the Mountaineer share the same chassis which means, they share the same wheelbase, ride height, center of gravity and about every other spec possible, including safety ratings, which are good according to the NHTSA.

Yet, U-Haul's reports never stated any thing about the Mercury. In fact, if you own a Mountaineer you may still be able to rent a trailer. As for U-Haul, do they hate the negative publicity or do they hate the Ford Explorer all on its own?


Anonymous (not verified)    May 26, 2011 - 8:09AM

The new Explorer is not available with the turbocharged V6 mentioned in the piece. Only the normally aspirated V6 and a turbocharge I4 in the future.

I- Haul (not verified)    June 29, 2011 - 6:59AM

U-Haul uses Goodyear brand tires, I rent from them often and if I owned a company like U-Haul I would do what it takes to protect our image to the public as well.