Thursday, April 28, 2011

Spy photograph hints Ford will preserve the Flex

DETROIT -- In case there was any doubt about the way forward for the underperforming Ford Flex, this spy photograph ought to finish speculation that the automaker is preparing to tug the plug.

Regardless of poor gross sales, Ford is making ready a light facelift for what is believed within the photograph to be the 2013 Flex. The exterior styling modifications on the Flex in the photo are limited to a brand new grille, headlights and front fascia. A new tailgate and fascia spotlight modifications at the rear.

A Ford spokesman declined to discuss future product plans.

Flex was launched in the summer of 2008 as an alternative choice to a crossover. It was positioned as a visible indicator of the changes happening at Ford. Flex was launched at a time when the automaker desperately needed a home run, I wrote in 2008.

The Flex's boxy, wagonish exterior design signaled Ford was willing to interrupt away from the me-too crossover styling model and take a risk. The phrase "polarizing" appeared as a styling description in a Ford news release.

Nicely, as a substitute of polarizing, it was a turn off.

Flex's best 12 months was 2009, when 38,717 vehicles had been offered, in response to the Automotive New Information Center. Gross sales declined 12 % in 2010, to 34,227. Sales for the primary quarter of this yr totaled 6,823, a 22 % drop from the same period in 2010.

Ford in all probability would have had better luck if the Flex had been a slightly shorter vehicle equipped with sliding facet doorways - in different phrases, a minivan.

With such dismal sales, there had been speculation that Ford may minimize its presumed loses and discontinue the Flex.

Not so.
As a substitute, the delicate facelift likely will take the Flex to the 2015 mannequin year.


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