It's no surprise that like many other automakers, the Blue Oval is struggling dearly. But what is surprising to many industry analysts, is the lack of consumer interest in Ford's latest, edgier designed model, the crossover Flex. What was supposed to be the "poster child" of a brand under significant revamping, has become somewhat of a sales disappointment in only its first four months on the market.
For each of the past two months, sales of the Flex have barely peaked above 2,000 cars. This past July buyers purchased only 2,204 Flex crossovers. Alarming to both analysts and Ford officials is how buyers aren't attracted to the car even with its original contemporary styling and growing manufacturer incentives. July's sales amount was supplemented by a $700 Ford incentive -- current buyers are given $2,100 in rebates.
Earlier this year, Ford vice president of marketing and communications Jim Farley expected the brand to sell between 70,000 to 100,000 Flex crossovers annually. Given the model's current sales rate, Ford could likely sell 24,000 units if trends continue as they are today.
"Monthly sales for Flex ... are a little bit lower than we expected a few months ago," Jim Farley stated during a recent conference call with reporters. "But let's face it: The industry is a lot lower than we expected."
Why are Flex sales hurting so badly, you may ask? Many industry forecasters believe the car's somewhat high price of $28,295 is hurting sales, while others point to the car's big, boxy profile that might not appear to be as fuel efficient as say, a Honda Pilot. In fact, the Honda Pilot and Ford Flex achieve the same fuel economy ratings of 17 mpg city and 24 mph highway.
There's another contingent who points to how Ford's marketing team advertised the model. Rather than appealing to mainstream consumers who look to a crossover for utility and features, Ford mostly marketed the Flex as a hip, trendy car for a social lifestyle which may alienate some potential buyers.
Why do you think Ford doesn't have a hit on its hands with the 2009 Flex?
Source: The Detroit Free Press