Rumors of the Ford Flex’s Death are Greatly Exaggerated
The Ford Flex is an interesting vehicle in their lineup. For some, it’s difficult to explain exactly what it is. It’s not really a SUV in the traditional sense. It’s a also not quite a traditional crossover. But to owners, it’s simply “awesome!” But being a low volume seller, rumors are always floating around of the Flex’s demise. The good news? It’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
The latest of these rumors comes from Motrolix who don’t believe that the Flex (and stablemate Lincoln MKT) won’t see a second generation, and that the 2016 model year could be the last.
According to Motrolix‘s calculated sales figures, the Flex sells at just 1/10th the rate of the Ford Explorer, and it wouldn’t seem logical to keep both big utilities.
We reached out to Ford’s William Mattiace, who handles communications for Ford’s utility offerings, including the Flex, and asked him if the Flex is dead.
The Flex is a Ford legend and legends never die! Customers who buy Flex love Flex – proven by a loyalty percentage of over 40 percent.
William has a soft spot for the Flex (we talk about it regularly), but so do the people who end up buying them.
According to Ford, 50% of Flex buyers are coming from other brands, and are entirely new to Ford.
- 14% come from Honda, Toyota, and Nissan
- 10% come from Chevrolet / GMC
- 10% come from Chrysler / Jeep / Dodge
Once the customers are in the Flex, they come back for more. 41% of buyers replace their Flex with another one when it comes time to get rid of their vehicle.
Additionally, brand retention is huge for the Flex. When someone gets rid of their vehicle to get a new one, 64% of them purchase another Ford. That is the highest for any Ford vehicle, including the F-150 and ever-popular brand icon Mustang.
There are parts of the country where the Flex does extremely well. For the 2014 calendar year, 22% of all Flex sales were in the Los Angeles and San Francisco regions. California is also a strong growth region, with a 19% retail sales growth year-over-year, and San Francisco’s growth was 17%
Moving to the midwest, in the Detroit region, the Flex had more sales last December than the Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot combined.
Overall, 2014 was a big year, as they pushed by 20,000 units for the first time since 2010. Those sales do not even take into consideration fleet sales.
But lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the Flex is a profitable vehicle for Ford. Ford recognizes that it’s a niche vehicle and won’t see huge sales numbers, but it makes the company money and customers love it.
It might not have F-150 sales, but nothing else does. However, discontinuing a profitable vehicle that retains customers just isn’t good business sense, and the reason why we think the Flex is going to be around for a long time.
What do you think? Is the Flex not long for this world, or will it soldier on? Let us know your thoughts over in the forums!
Sales data provided by Ford.