More Ford Flex Appeal?

“Flex appeals to people who want to stand out from the crowd and has the highest retention rate of any vehicle in the Ford lineup.

“Flex appeals to people who want to stand out from the crowd and has the highest retention rate of any vehicle in the Ford lineup. With technologies not found in other full-size utilities, even better fuel economy and a more modern, sophisticated look, we’re offering people even more reasons to choose Flex with the new model,” said Mark Fields, Ford Motor president of The Americas.

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That “stand out from the crowd” could be predicated on the fact that so far this year only 23,012 units of the three-row, seven-passenger vehicle have been sold, which is down 21.9% from last year’s numbers through October. Clearly there aren’t a whole lot of them around.

So this week at the LA Auto Show Ford is providing some visual modifications to the Flex, as well giving a 1-mpg boost to the fuel efficiency of the standard 285-hp, 3.5-liter V6 (18 city/25 highway mpg), using the latest MyFord Touch telematics system, and using some interior mods to improve the inside experience.

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Here’s the question: Visually, the Flex—this modified version or its predecessor—is unlike anything else on the market, so could the comparatively low sales figures be predicated on the fact that people like to buy things that they are familiar with or that other people they know have?

If so, progress in any significant design advances in the auto space will be slow in coming. To put it mildly.

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