Ford unwraps new people mover, the Flex, in Big Apple


The Flex wagon, Ford’s attempt to blend a crossover, wagon and minivan, is introduced on April 4, 2007, at the New York auto show.
Billed as Ford’s new seven-passenger people mover, it went on sale in the summer of 2008.
It was based on the Fairlane concept shown at the 2005 Detroit auto show, though the Flex did not have the Fairlane’s suicide doors.
Ford equipped the Flex with a 3.5-liter V-6 engine and six-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel drive was optional.
It joined the Explorer, Edge and Taurus X as Ford’s official people haulers.
Mark Fields, Ford’s president of the Americas at the time, described the Flex as a “family vehicle people really want to buy. … We’re raising the bar, cutting our own path, introducing the most unique and innovative crossover ever.”
The New York Times called it “a mishmash. This boxy low-rider seems to have styling cues from Land Rover, Mini, Toyota FJ Cruiser and 1970s Country Squire station wagons.”
The vehicle, which took some of its design cues from Range Rovers, came with some interesting options: a refrigerator, a 2,000-song music “jukebox,” and Sync, an entertainment system that combined hands-free communication with a voice-activated MP3 audio and DVD video unit.
The fuel filler required no screw-on cap, yet sealed better than a traditional fuel-door cap. The second-row seats folded flat into the floor and, optionally, went down automatically at the push of a button. A backup camera, displayed on the navigation unit, was also available.
Ford even revived the keypad-entry system, but integrated it into the black B-pillars rather than the doors.
While the Flex failed to race up the U.S. sales charts, it has gained a small but passionate group of buyers.
U.S. sales of the Flex peaked at 38,717 in 2009 but haven’t topped 25,000 since 2013.
Ford is expected to drop the Flex around 2020, according to the Unifor, the Canadian auto workers union that last year negotiated upgrades to the Oakville, Ontario, assembly plant where the light truck is built.
Fuente: AutomotiveNews