The Ford Flex has been languishing in sales for a while. Not that anyone noticed because it just doesn't get any attention, and that's too bad. Ford did away with their regular passenger vehicles (really, anything that wasn't a truck, crossover, or SUV) this year. The Focus and Taurus are gone, the Fiesta will end after this year (the great Fiesta ST, too), and 2020 might just be the final year for the Fusion sedan. Now the Flex will end after the 2019 model year. Only the Mustang will live on. It's no surprise Ford is doing away with the unpopular Flex, but it's just one more nail in the coffin of the station wagon and clear evidence they just don't sell in the states.
The Flex was a bit of a unicorn in that it was part wagon, part crossover. It drove like a car thanks to the lower center of gravity, had all-wheel drive, and a boatload of room. Its first couple of years, it looked a bit boring, like a modern Woody Wagon with a contrasting white roof and the body strakes. But Ford gave it some attitude with the option of blackened trim bits and wheels via the Appearance Package.
Ford also gave the Flex more power with the option of a 365-hp EcoBoost V6, making it way more fun than most crossovers and certainly more potent than the base 280-hp naturally-aspirated V6 engine that's standard on all trim levels from the SE all the way to the Limited.
It seems Ford spent more money to market their trucks and SUVs, and the Flex just got a half-hearted attempt as evidenced by its terrible name. Its looks communicated a more family-oriented vehicle, but it seems Ford tried to give it a more urban nightlife image, which clearly didn't work. No one was fooled by the station wagon shape. Nobody with a penchant for excitement would be caught dead in this thing.
Ford really should've marketed it as the sporty alternative to crossovers and just right for young families. Maybe then it would've had a fighting chance. It's only sold about 10,600 units so far in 2019, which pales in comparison to even a true wagon like the Subaru Outback, which has sold almost 15,000 units so far this year.
The Flex might have succeeded if it had been the new Explorer, but at the time Ford was still convinced that the Explorer needed to be on a rear-drive-based platform, for towing. Two years later, they changed their mind, and the redesigned 2011 Explorer arrived sharing the same platform and priced about the same as the Flex. Despite the Explorer's bloated styling and awkward space utilization, its name recognition won the day. It stomped the Flex in the sales race, and was far easier to find on dealer lots.
Another problem, aside from the terrible marketing, was the fact Ford never bothered to give the Flex a real redesign, letting it languish for 11 years. That's a near-eternity in the automotive industry, and Ford ended up spending more time and money on the Explorer, which handily outsold the Flex and cast it in its shadow, resulting in terrible sales figures for the Flex. The die had been cast, and the Flex just couldn't pull up from the nosedive.
Though we can't say we loved the Flex, we did love what it stood for. It was powerful, roomy, decently driving vehicle that kinda bucked the trend of so many crossovers in the market. In fact, it was really the only bonafide three-row station wagon that had room for adults in all rows. But America apparently really does hate wagons that aren't Subarus, and it's an uphill climb when the marketing efforts are lackluster. The Flex will end its run after this year. This just might be the right time to get one for what we're guessing is a lot less than sticker.