Ford Motor Company is not an organization that immediately
springs to mind when you envision cutting edge or innovative products. But with
their new crossover the Ford Flex, the multinational corporation seeks to
gain ground it has lost in the past year to competitors General Motors and Toyota.
First introduced at the North American International Auto
Show in 2005, the Flex made its debut in June. So far, the response has been
mixed. While some people love the design, others are turned off by the compact
frame despite the ample space.
According to Flex Marketing and Communications Manager Usha
Raghavachari, thats exactly what her company hoped for.
When you look at the Flex it has an unexpected design,
definitely coming from Ford, Raghavachari explained to AllHipHop.com. We
wanted our marketing to be just as unexpected as the vehicle. The advertising
really celebrates the vehicle itself. We did originally have a target audience, but we went to California and saw young college guys saying wow thats really cool, and then got the same response from soccer moms in Chicago. So we focused on not having people in the advertising to prevent any
With a national launch scheduled for September, Raghavachari
is not worried that there have been some negative feedback from the market
research done so far.
When they (consumers) experience it in the flesh they have
an amazing, emotional reaction, she reasons. People either loved it or hated
it and thats great, our designers loved that. It means youre not vanilla. If
everyone goes eh, thats nice, its like a death knell and you dont want
With a height of just over 58, the Flex exterior carries
distinctive grooves on its side panels which serve as a signature identifier
for the vehicle. Each side is equipped with four parallel grooves to give an
elongated but horizontal image.
The fortified shoulders and salient wheel arches help
maintain the cars compact look over the standard 18-inch tires. Also available
are 19 and 20-inch chrome-effect, painted aluminum wheels.
The contemporary, seven seat interior features an adjustable
footrest for second seat passengers to enjoy a business-class comfort rarely seen
in todayss SUVs and crossovers. The second and third row seats also fall flat
to create storage space as needed.
The interior program has mood lighting available in seven colors. Other entertainment amenities include SIRIUS Satellite Radio, CD/DVD, hard drive storage (music/pictures). But even more important is the quiet ride the vehicle supplies. On a test drive, one will find the car remarkably quiet due to a technology called Multi Activation Regression Simulation (MARS), which balances the different sounds coming into the Flex from the powertrain, wind, and road.
Chief engineer Gary Boes worked on Flex from its inception three years ago until completion, and feels strongly that Ford has presented a great product for consumers.
We used something called the Global Product Development
System, its the first time weve used it, Boes explains. It really helped us
with the discipline of delivering the car. Weve really taken the idea that we
wanted an emotive exterior design, which we didnt have before. We wanted to
have all the features but still be comfortable and quiet to ride. Those simple
pillars are kinda new to us. Flex demonstrates all those capabilities.
Popular DJ Funkmaster Flex endorses the vehicle and even brought out a sleek, red, customized version of the car for media. Asked why hes endorsing a product that may be seen as a gamble, Funk Flex explains it was the complete package and presentation of the vehicle.
I guarantee you wont go more than four blocks without
someone asking you about it, Flex assured. Of course safety is important,
features etc and the Flex has all that. But first can you look cool in it? With
the Flex you definitely can. Its a very smooth ride.
The Manufacturers Starting Retail Price (MSRP) is $28, 295.
For more information, visit www.fordvehicles.com/crossovers/flex