• Jun 16, 2008
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.


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


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 32 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is a terrible decision by Ford. Why don't they take a look at successful auto makers i.e. VW/Audi, BMW, Mercedes.
      All of these manufacturers have a 6 year product cycle. By redesigning your cars every 3 years you'll only increase production costs.
      This will also drastically reduce the resale value of second hand Ford vehicles, for example, when the '09 mid size sedan is 6 years old it will now be several models revisions removed from the 2015 model. If auto makers could get away from the need to build obsolescence into each model we could get back the the days when car design was only changed if it improved the vehicle. Could you imagine if the original model for the VW beetle, mini, mustang, Fiat 500 or corvette only only had a 3 year life span. Ford you are are heading in the wrong direction.
      • 6 Years Ago
      You know, cars used to have major restyling EVERY YEAR.

      But that doesn't mean a totally new platform every time it's restyled. Just new body panels on the same platform. Kind of like what Ford just did with the Focus and what they are apparently doing with the next Mustang.

      This is totally doable. And not a bad idea.
      • 6 Years Ago

      The name "Flex" would be better suited to a mattress.
      • 6 Years Ago
      are they gonna update the ranger , crown vic , town car and e series every 3 years also ? there all 15 years or older right now !
      HotRodzNKustoms
      • 6 Years Ago
      I saw one of these for the first time in the wild yesterday in Newport Beach and I have to say it is a looker.
      • 6 Years Ago
      They've had most of the same looking trucks for years, each one getting some kind of facelift while retaining the old design. Same thing with the five hundred, just a nose job and a new name, but not a COMPLETE redesign. It doesn't have to be three years, but Ford needs to completely redesign their cars and trucks every few years instead of just applying lipstick.
        • 6 Years Ago
        My old saying: Adding makeup doesn't hide age lines.

        agreed w/ you 100%
      • 6 Years Ago
      So Ford decided to wreck chaos and terror by introducing new ugliness to the roads of N.America 1.5 quicker than before.
      • 6 Years Ago
      On the fence about all of this. There are quite a few auto companies that gradually tweak designs throughout the life of it.

      IMO, this could be a good thing. Addressing concerns that buyers have expressed with regard to certain design elements.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I think this is a horrible move by Ford. What better way to scare off new car buyers than to make full/major redesigns just 3 years apart? You can almost sense there will be a big lack of style cohesion across Ford's products.
        • 6 Years Ago
        james,
        its a good thing you dont work on product committees. what ford is doing is EXACTLY what brings younger customers to your company and retains older ones...
        • 6 Years Ago
        Just the opposite. With major restyles happening more frequently, you'd have new designs next to 3yr old versions, not next to 5yr old versions.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The concept was stale, and now it's years later, when it's both stale and unneeded.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Wow, the comments section must be screwed-up today. How'd your Camaro comment get over here?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yeah, that enormous thing, too along with the Challenger. Those who remember the originals will be shocked to see how big these are, and the 69-70 versions were bigger than the "real" originals, which were based on compact sedans of about 108" wheelbase and 180" length, and well under 3,000#. And they rusted immediately.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I don't think anyone has to wear themselves out worrying about this. It just can't really be true. Making changeovers every 3 years would be very expensive, I just don't think it makes financial sense for Ford.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Hey, don't complain, this Flex thing will need all the styling updates it can get, and the sooner the better.
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