Re: Mercedes-Benz Mulls Return of R Class
The Freestyle/Taurus X/Flex also exist for a number of curious reasons. Ford wanted a single platform to underpin a sedan and SUV and we ended up with products that ultimately missed the mark in both segments for many reasons (design, proportions, interior packaging, customer appeal). Ford also wanted a transitional 3-row crossover that still left room for the Explorer and minivan. Ultimately Ford failed to properly judge the trend early on and made some bad decisions (a common problem back in the day). The decision to use D3/D4 instead of CD3 was very controversial at the time and clearly was well founded considering the packaging struggles with the platform. GM ultimately set the trend with the success of the Lambda Crossovers and killed the BOF GMT SUV early on while Ford stumbled its way toward the D4 Explorer we finally got years later. From my prospective, Flex and MKT remain big Ford mistakes even if they are well made mistakes.
Flex is also a VERY rare example of a Ford concept begetting a Ford production vehicle, it's always the other way around in the modern era. It's a car that never made it through Ford's customer-focused research process and that's always a dangerous place to begin a product, as we ultimately saw with its failure. It's a lesson Detroit has learned over and over again.