After the Firestone tire controversy erupted two years ago, some marketing experts labeled the Explorer damaged goods and advised Ford Motor Co. to rename its best-selling SUV. Consumers, after all, had been bombarded with images of mangled Explorers and questions about the popular sport utility vehicle's safety performance. Now with the recall of millions of tires behind it, the once-tarnished Explorer is arguably more popular than ever, according to the Detroit News. In August, Ford sold 51,021 Explorer models in the United States, the best sales month ever for any SUV. Sales are up 4.7 percent year-to-date in an overall market that is up just 1 percent.