Question of the Day: Ford Flex Dumped Doors to Save Big Bucks. Right Answer?

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
question of the day ford flex dumped doors to save big bucks right answer

An eagle-eyed TTAC commentator unearthed this little gem from AutoWeek of April ’07. Like Mr. Chen, I think it’s sufficiently germane (House Bunny!) to last month’s Flex sales that it deserves resurrection. “The pivotal moment in the Flex’s development came, Ford design chief J Mays said, when he and his North American lieutenant, Peter Horbury, convinced the rest of the organization that rear sliding doors cost too much. Even though the Fairlane concept that inspired the Flex had suicide doors, the production vehicle was being planned with rear sliders. ‘When we took the sliding doors off, suddenly there was money in the product program freed up magically to put higher-grade materials, fantastic-quality leather, 8-inch DVD drop-down screen in the back, optional refrigerator, glass roof,’ Mays said. “Suddenly money was falling from the heavens because we didn’t have those damn sliding doors on it anymore.” So, Ford says it sold 1,959 Flexes in September, 7552 year-to-date. (Early sales stats were pinned on a slow roll-out.) Meanwhile, Ford’s “other crossovers” have tanked. The Ford Edge slipped 43 percent for the month, while the Taurus X was down 63 percent. Should the Flex have been a minivan? Or… not bothered in the first place, and promoted the Hell out of the X instead?

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  • Richard Chen Richard Chen on Oct 05, 2008

    @P71_CrownVic : the Flex originally supposed to be on the CD3 platform, per the 2005 Fairlane concept's press releases. The CD3 platform couldn't be stretched wide and long enough, and the Flex (plus Lincoln MeerKaT) was moved to D3. Supposedly this switch was made after some of the engineering work was done - perhaps this cost a big bundle of dough, time, or both? A few years ago there were rumors of a joint Ford/Mazda minivan project to replace the MPV/Freestar/Monterey. That got shelved, and Mazda took their CD3 platform minivan project and turned it into the CX-9, which hit the market 1 1/2 years ago. The latest Consumer Reports arrived yesterday. They liked the Flex, ranking it above most other CUV's, but they liked the Taurus X, too and the 2 point difference isn't much. The Flex got 17mpg on their test route, the Taurus X 16mpg, but the taller and lighter Honda Pilot w/VCM got 18mpg. (So much for those breakthrough aerodynamics.) Scores: Toyota Highlander: 81/100 Ford Flex: 77 Mazda CX-9: 76 GM Lambda triplets: 75 Ford Taurus X: 75 Honda Pilot: 74

  • Nudave Nudave on Oct 06, 2008

    The Flex should have been the S-Max, or the Galaxy, not this regurgitated "Woody" for the ED generation. Sliding doors aren't the real problem here. The real problem is that driving a Flex must be the automotive equivalent to arriving at work dressed as Ronald McDonald. Can you imagine having this rolling clown suit parked in front of your house for the next few years?

  • Mykeliam Mykeliam on Oct 06, 2008

    Has anyone actually driven the Taurus X? I had one as a rental and really liked it. Why can't it be the new and improved Explorer?? I think it looks like it should have been just that. Get rid of the explorer, rename the x that and go forward putting r&d into it. For God Sakes keep one line alive for once! They keep feeding us lip service about emulating the Japanese, why not try this??

  • Flashpoint Flashpoint on Oct 07, 2008

    I'd never buy a Flex or an Edge. The front driver space sucks and the steering wheel doesn't have telescoping abilities. Buying a Flex is like buying a poor man's Range Rover. The Edge is cooler, but its too damned small.