Flex Replaces GT as Ford's Halo Model

flex replaces gt as fords halo model

Ford has canceled a Flex production shift, and the model's chief designer suddenly left the company. Still, as Berkowitz's review points out, the Flex isn't a horrible car. It's simply fighting for market share in the remnants of a burst (SUV) bubble. The Wall Street Journal scolds the whole segment for mediocre mileage, but blames the Flex flop on crashing SUV residual values. "With gas hovering around $4 a gallon, even the crossover category continues to show signs of slowdown, as many consumers looking to replace traditional trucks are experience falling resale value of their old vehicles, freezing buyers out of the crossover market and pushing them to look at options such as compact and midsize cars," says Brian Johnson of Lehman Brothers. Even so, Ford dealers are anxious to get a Flex on the floor. "Dealers think that the product can generate showroom traffic," Ford spokesman Jay Ward tells Automotive News [sub]. "[Customers] may not buy a Flex, but they may buy a Taurus X or an Edge." So the Flex is a highly-advertised vehicle that misses the mark but entices buyers into looking at other moribund models. In other words, the GT's replacement is the Windstar replacement. How great is that?

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  • Cdnsfan27 Cdnsfan27 on Aug 04, 2008

    I checked out the Flex and it is a beautiful vehicle, the materials are first rate and it feels much more expensive than it is. There is plenty of space for folks and lots of useful cubbies for stuff. It is also very quiet. I will not buy a new one because it doesn't get the MPG I need. Maybe in a year or two I will buy a greatly depreciated used one (or Taurus X)and use the savings to buy gas.

  • Picard234 Picard234 on Aug 04, 2008
    guyincognito : I wish someone at Ford would explain why they continue to sell the Taurus X? How could you possibly need 2, 7 passenger people movers based on the D3 platform for sale under the same brand at one time? One is built in Chicago, one is built in Oakville Canada. Gotta give the UAW/CAW something to do!

  • Capeplates Capeplates on Aug 05, 2008

    Richard Gresen's departure looks like rats leaving a sinking ship!

  • NulloModo NulloModo on Aug 05, 2008
    P71_CrownVic : August 4th, 2008 at 1:20 pm Then Ford failed big time because their so-called “minivan replacement” is an extremely hard to use minivan. It does not have the space of a minivan nor does it have the sliding doors of a minivan. On top of that, it is WAY overpriced ($760 for a stupid fridge??? A cooler costs $29.95). You also cannot lay a standard sheet of plywood flat in it like you can in a real minivan…or GM’s Lambdas. In fact…according to http://www.fordvehicles.com, the Taurus X has more max cargo room than the Flex. As I have maintained all along, Ford could have saved A TON of money and just simply advertised the Taurus X. Remember, the Taurus X was “all new” for 2008, and Ford changed almost all of the complaints people had with the Freestyle…namely looks and engine options…all while not hurting the MPGs much. A few things to address - Utility - The Flex can tow over 4000 lbs, more than enough to handle most people's needs. No, it won't haul a 20' boat or a horse trailer, but people with those needs buy trucks anyway. I looked up cargo space on a few different sites, and while it does look like the numbers show the Flex is less than a Taurus X or a Honda Odyssey, looking at them side by side, I can't figure out where those numbers are coming from. The Flex has a huge volume of space inside, and with the seats all being fold flat, you don't have lug out heavy assemblies and stick them somewhere to access the space. Price - Base price for an SE is only around $28K, which while a bit higher than some other 7 passenger CUVs and minivans, does come with a ton of standard features, and overall high quality materials. There is no stripper version of the Flex, even the base model has power everything, alloy wheels, high quality seat materials, high quality interior materials, six speed auto, anti lock brakes, etc. As far as the options go, they are just that, options. The fridge (which by the way is actually compressor driven and can refridgerate or freeze things very quickly, it is not just a cooler), the power fold second row seats, the big glass roof, etc, can all be had as stand alone options, not locked up in packages, so a customer can decide which they want and are willing to pay for. vs. Taurus X - While I like the Taurus X, anyone who can't see the point of the Flex over the Taurus X hasn't driven them both nor seen them side by side. The Flex has an interior leaps and bounds superior to that of the X, it has a lot more interior passenger space (again, not sure how the numbers don't show it, but sit in the second or third rows of each and compare for yourself), better city fuel economy, a quieter and more refined ride, tons of options not availible with the X, and possibly most importantly - it doesn't look like a station wagon on steroids, at least not a modern station wagon.