Click above for high-res gallery of our first drive of the 2009 Ford Flex

According to Peter Horbury, Ford's head of design in North America, the Blue Oval will be shortening the time frame between major styling changes for its models from five years to three. This move is part of a plan to reduce the need for large incentives to move older models that haven't had a major redesign in 4 - 5 years. Apparently, the company has not seen big sales jumps with its standard practice of giving older models minor facelifts. So, for instance, the Ford Flex, which is arriving to market as we speak, could see some major changes for its first makeover on which designers are already working. First seen in 2005 as the Fairlane concept, the Flex could be in danger of getting stale faster than other models. Considering that we just drove the new 2009 Ford Flex for the first time, already starting its next major restyling is a good sign that Ford's planning ahead these days.

Related GalleryFirst Drive: 2009 Ford Flex

[Source: Automotive News - sub. req'd]