Ford Flex says goodbye

Polarizing vehicle discontinu­ed as automaker focuses on new models


Ford is killing off the Ford Flex sport utility vehicle as the automaker continues to overhaul its lineup to maximize its focus on hot sellers and new models.

The Ford Flex debuted as a 2008 model and proved to be polarizing from the beginning.

With its boxy design, the threerow Flex drew a devoted following while provoking snickering from people who disliked the vehicle’s unusual shape.

“People who own the Flex love it, but it became almost a cult vehicle and the numbers were just too small,” said Michelle Krebs, an analyst at car-buying site Autotrader.

The move comes as Ford is betting big on other, newer SUVs like the forthcomin­g revival of the Bronco and an electric crossover inspired by the Mustang.

The company is also paring down its vehicle lineup to excise poor performers, including most of its passenger cars. Gone are the Fiesta and Taurus, for example.

The Flex’s demise has been long rumored. Officials at Unifor, the Canadian auto workers union, said in late 2016 that Ford would discontinu­e the Flex in 2020. The vehicle is built at the company’s plant in Oakville, Ontario, where it also makes the more-popular Ford Edge and Lincoln Nautilus.

The 2019 model will be the last version of the Flex. The automaker has sold more than 296,000 units of the vehicle since its debut.

The Flex “dared to be bold” when it was introduced, Ford said in a statement. “It gained a loyal following as a stylish, roomy wagon blending sport/utility vehicle and minivan capability in a low-slung retroinspi­red package.”

Ford said the decision to kill the Flex grew out of its “plan to strengthen its focus on products in the heart of the fastest-growing segments.”

Nathan Bomey

 ?? FORD MOTOR CO. ?? The 2019 Ford Flex will be the last model of the vehicle.
FORD MOTOR CO. The 2019 Ford Flex will be the last model of the vehicle.

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