20 October 2008

Ford sales buoyant as provocative all-new 2009 flex debuts in the UAE

Middle East sales of Ford, Mercury and Lincoln products January to September 2008 are up by nearly one third over last year, registering a record performance for Ford Middle East. The growth is mainly driven by the increasing demand over trucks and utility vehicles across the three brands, which in total sold 45 per cent more this year.

In the UAE, this trend was similar, with an overall 35 per cent growth, and a 71 per cent increase in trucks and SUV sales. Best sellers were: the Ford Edge (up 121 per cent); Escape (up by 33 per cent); Expedition (up by 30 per cent); Expedition EL (up by 93 per cent); Explorer (up by 53 per cent); Explorer Sport Trac (up by 139 per cent); Lincoln MKX (up by 88 per cent); Navigator (up by 31 per cent); Mercury Mountaineer (up by 73 per cent).

Ford expects the popularity over its utility vehicles to grow further, with the introduction of the all-new 2009 Ford Flex, the latest nameplate to join its lineup which now offers seven different products including: Edge (compact CUV), Escape (compact SUV), Explorer (mid-size SUV), Explorer Sport Trac (Sport Utility Truck), Expedition (full-size SUV) and the Expedition EL (extended body).

Flex is the innovative new full-size, 7-passenger crossover offering from Ford that has been making waves in North America since its introduction just a few months back. It has distinctive and daring design coupled with a stylish interior, a smart package and unmatched technology including SYNC, the new Ford-exclusive, voice-activated, hands-free, in-vehicle communications and entertainment system.

“Now it’s safe to add daring and intriguing to the list of adjectives describing Ford vehicles as the new provocative Flex is here,” said Hussein Murad, Ford Middle East's director of Sales. “The Flex is like nothing else on the road, and it defies being categorized. It is going to appeal to a group of customers who feel absolutely the same way about themselves. We are excited with this new addition as the Ford lineup now offers unprecedented diversity which will attract new customers to our dealerships.”

Flexing its Character

From its planted stance and broad shoulders – flanked by signature side grooves – to its all-black greenhouse and distinctive multi-panel Vista Roof, Ford designers have created a provocative vehicle with the Flex.

In a world of automobiles that are easy to categorize, Flex is difficult to define and polarizing. Embracing that enigmatic nature was the key breakthrough in the design process, according to Peter Horbury, executive director, Design, The Americas.

“Flex is a radical departure,” Horbury said. “At first we were uncomfortable with the way Flex could polarize, but its ability to compel an opinion, good or bad, was fascinating. It inspired us forward with courage to create a breakthrough design.”

Flex’s prominent stance is a key design element setting it apart from all other vehicles. Park Ford Flex next to an SUV or a typical crossover. The proportions are immediately surprising.

Capping the horizontal design cues in bold contrast is the unique roof of the new Ford Flex. Available in two colors, White Suede or Brilliant Silver, the roof contrasts stylishly with the Flex exterior paint palette.

The Flex’s multi-panel Vista Roof adds even more distinction. Available on SEL and Limited models, the Vista Roof has four glass panels to provide abundant natural light to occupants of all three rows of passengers. The forward panel is a moonroof that opens to let in fresh air.

Style, Luxury and Space for Individuality

The exterior design of the Flex creates interest, but it’s the surprising space and comfort for seven, the elegant, upscale style and clever flexibility of the interior that will magnetically keep people in the new Flex.

“We wanted the interior to be a place of contemporary, relaxed style – somewhere you could feel very comfortable, yet involved and connected,” said Anthony Prozzi, chief interior designer. “The interior presents an environment that is radically different. You’ll notice the improvement in materials, the appointments and the general appearance of the car. Even the way you interact with the car will be different because of all the new technology we’re introducing.”

Smart Features for the Demanding Lifestyle

Flex is packed with innovative, class-leading technology solutions that seek to empower, not overpower the driver.

  • Ford SYNC™, the Ford-exclusive, voice-activated, hands-free, in-vehicle communications and entertainment system.
  • Sony audio system that features 700 watts of power, 5.1 surround sound and 10 speakers is certified by Sony to deliver a unique, rich listening experience.
  • EasyFuel™ capless fuel filler. This exclusive feature saves time by replacing a fuel-filler cap and provides a better seal, reducing the release of smog-forming vapors.
  • Class-exclusive refrigerated console. Mounted between the second-row captain’s chairs, the available compressor-driven refrigerator can cool up to seven 12-ounce cans, four half-liter bottles or two 20-ounce bottles from room temperature to 5°C in a little more than two-and-a-half hours – 40 percent faster than a standard home refrigerator.
  • Ambient Lighting. Flex owners can program any of seven different interior lighting colors to fit their mood. With this feature, customers can change the lighting on two light-emitting diodes (LEDs) mounted on the front console, footwells and around the two front cupholders.

Flex is powered by Ford’s award-winning 3.5-liter V-6 engine delivering 262 NET hp at 6,250 rpm and 248 lb.-ft. of NET torque at 4,500 rpm, mated to a fuel-efficient, advanced 6-speed automatic transmission that uses a wide 6.04:1 gear ratio to deliver good fuel economy of up to 24 mpg highway, which is equal to or better than many of our competitors, and outstanding performance.

Flex’s available intelligent all-wheel-drive system is tuned to provide confident driving in all weather conditions. By constantly monitoring and predicting traction, the system can deliver torque to all four wheels, even before the wheels begin to slip. An active, on-demand electronic center coupler can allocate a precise amount of torque from front to rear – up to 100 percent to either axle. Paired with standard Advance Trac® with RSC® (Roll Stability Control), intelligent AWD can transfer torque front to rear and side to side.

Some of the most advanced safety technology available today is standard on Flex, including Ford’s SPACE architecture, AdvanceTrac with RSC system, the Personal Safety System, the Safety Canopy side curtain airbag system, anti-lock brakes and more.

Flex is manufactured to the highest quality standards at Ford’s Oakville Assembly Plant in Ontario, Canada.

The Ford Utility Vehicles Family: The most diversified offering in the Middle East
Ford prides itself in the extensive lineup of world-class utility vehicles that it brings to its Middle Eastern customers with seven distinctive products from all segments, including: the Edge, Flex, Escape, Explorer, Explorer Sport Trac, Expedition and Expedition EL. Currently, no other manufacturer matches the diversity of the Ford lineup in the Middle East which enjoys more than 60-years of heritage in the region.

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