Why did Ford build the Flex?

Why did Ford build the Flex? This boxy vehicle was supposed to fill a gap in the lineup that was partially occupied by the Ford Windstar..ehhhhh do I have to mention the Freestar??? Even though Ford didn’t put huge numbers out there for the Flex to hit in regards to sales it has to be a disappointment for The Blue Oval. This Flex is so damn boxy and awkward it really turns a lot of us off and for the price tag you would hope for more better styling. (hint: Chevy Traverse or GMC Acadia to name a few)

It is interesting to see that Peter Horbury has been shipped out of the design studios for Ford after laying an egg with the under achieving big box Flex and has new assignments on his desk somewhere far away from Mulally’s office. This SUV/Crossover segment is huge and very profitable and Ford just blew it with this one. I know there are those of you who like the Flex and have even purchased one but how many of your friends or kids like it too? The Ford division is not in the business to design and build micro niche vehicles! (I just made up micro niche) Ford is and always will be a mass appeal brand and maybe, just maybe, the Flex box would have been better off as a Mercury. I know it would have been just as ugly but hey, Mercury is a very small division and isn’t expected to put up the big numbers like the Ford guys and gals.

The underpinnings of this car are actually solid and the new Lincoln MKT looks fabulous (even though the price tag is high) in a much better skin so maybe we’ll see a completely new Flex box next time around! Let’s only hope…


Trouble for Ford?

Is this writer from Car and Driver out of touch or does he see something we don’t? Ford is starting to get into gear but he sees things with their product line that could spell trouble.

The Ford Escape may be selling well, but just came in bottom of the heap (as a nearly identical Mercury Mariner) in our latest small SUV comparison test. The Ford Fusion is solid, but it’s not a Honda Accord or a Mazda6. The Ford Flex and the Edge are merely OK. The Taurus and SHO? Ho-hum, and a packaging disaster. The Focus is well past its sell by-date. Only the Fusion hybrid and the Mustang are top of their classes. As for the Lincoln lineup, the MKT is way too expensive, while the MKS is overpriced and underbaked.


From Car and Driver:

I’m not quite sure when the media collectively decided that Ford is the only American car company that knows what it’s doing, but it’s certainly the prevailing wisdom right now. A Detroit News editorial by Bryce G. Hoffman summed up the sentiment: “But the Dearborn automaker also scored major points with American consumers by foregoing a federal bailout and avoiding bankruptcy. That good will, together with a strong lineup of new cars and trucks, meant Ford fell neither as far nor as fast as the rest of the industry.”

Read the full article here.

Photo from fOTOGLIF


Ford announces new V-6 EcoBoost engine


Ford’s EcoBoost engine will now include a V-6 option.

Ford’s EcoBoosted future has long been known to include a four cylinder option, and now the automaker has finally made some details official during a global product presentation today in Detroit.

Set to hit the market sometime in 2010, the 2.0-liter block will be the first engine in Ford’s EcoBoost lineup to employ a twin-independent variable cam timing system (Ti-VCT). Ford says the engine will deliver 10 to 20 percent better fuel economy than larger displacement V-6s, all while delivering similar power numbers.

The new engine will be produced in Northeast Ohio, and that’s welcome news to a region struggling with the loss of manufacturing jobs, which has only gotten worse with the economic crisis.

After two years of idling, Ford Motor Co.’s Engine Plant No. 1 re-opened Tuesday with the new leaner, cleaner EcoBoost engine.

The cutting edge 3.5-liter engine — which will equip 90 percent of Ford vehicles — is the first V-6 direct-injection, twin-turbocharged engine produced in North America and will be produced exclusively at the Brook Park site.

It’s a welcome sight at a facility that has struggled in recent times.

“This is the engine of the future. We’re really proud that the finest engine makers in the world are right here in Brook Park and the finest engines in the world are right here in Brook Park. With the new designs, there’s a lot of reasons to want to buy a Ford product. It’s a breath of fresh air and in this economy, we need to hear as much good news as possible,” said Mayor Mark Elliott.

Ford is hoping that this will give consumers more options, such as customers who are leaving large, V-8-powered SUVs but need towing capacity, who can now consider the top-level version of the Flex crossover due to the new, more powerful engine.


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