Ford Kills Off The Flex Proving That Not All SUVs Are A Success


Will the ugly Lincoln MKT go with it? It’s likely.

During Ford’s post-crash recovery years, where it barley clung to life while watching its two American counterparts hit rock bottom, the automaker decided to build a new vehicle that would hit two important targets. The first goal was to appeal to the SUV segment, and the second was to introduce new styling that would help show buyers that the American auto industry had departed from its years of building crap cars. Hence, the Ford Flex was born. Its radical but polarizing styling reminded buyers of old Woodies from way back when.

According to USA Today, the Flex, like its wood-bodied spiritual ancestors, will be killed off by 2020. Although Ford has yet to confirm that it’s signed the death certificate, the leak comes from the Canadian auto worker’s union Unifor after the organization reached a new labor agreement with the automaker. The Canadian auto manufacturing industry has been in upheaval recently as Mexico has just surpassed output levels of the northernmost NAFTA member. The Flex is built in Oakville, Ontario, alongside the Lincoln MKT (which shares the Flex’s architecture), the Lincoln MKX, and the MKX’s Ford counterpart, the Edge. At the moment, it is not clear whether the end of the Flex also means that the Lincoln MKT will be discontinued.

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However, if Ford isn’t spending redesign money on the Flex, it makes no sense to splurge on the sluggishly selling Lincoln. Despite Ford’s best efforts and above average customer satisfaction ratings for the seven-seat Flex, the SUV never became a sales success or a household name. It’s unclear what Ford will scrape together in order to replace the Flex, but it’s almost certain that it will be powered by efficient EcoBoost engines resting on lightweight chassis and bodies stuffed full of aluminum. (The Flex had infamously low mileage thanks to the fact that it weighed nearly 2.5 tons.) Whatever comes next for Ford in the segment, all we know is that Unifor also mentioned that the Oakville plant will be getting a lofty reinvestment from the automaker.