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Discussion Starter #1
Ford Flex/Lincoln MKT: What's Next?


The Ford Flex has been around a while. With 2008 US/CA sales at 16,600, climbing to 44k sales in 2009, to 28k sales for 2013. With January 2014 sales(1,650) the highest since 2011(2,003).

It is the un-minivan, the un-suv....it's just a mean wagon.

The MY2013 refresh created a sales spike in 2012 up to 31k, and sparked a new interest/sales in the vehicle in Southern California, the largest auto market in the US. Also a market Ford continues to work hard to gain market share, and their efforts are paying off.

Which clearly indicates that the Flex is not going anywhere, but is expected to be improved for MY2015.

Riding on the same older platform as the Taurus and MKS, which are moving to the new CD-4 platform, the next gen Flex should get lighter on it's feet, which brings better fuel economy, with the current base V6 at 18 city and 25 hwy.

It's not expected that the next gen Flex change it's identity, but improve upon what's working now. Remaining a more upscale, tech loaded, edgy low riding wagon, while letting the Explorer handle the 7-passenger SUV duties.

The Flex primary competitor is the Toyota Venza, selling 35k units for 2013 vs the Flex at 28k. With the Venza having a slight mpg advantage of 20 city and 26 hwy.

With a next generation Flex, being the family hauler that it is, and growing in popularity in CA, it is expected to offer hybrid and Energi plug-in hybrid drivetrains which will give it a boost in CA, and prepare it to compete against the upcoming Volvo PHEV wagon and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, that are highly popular in Europe and already scheduled to launch in the US. A wagon is offers the best opportunity to hide a battery pack without impacting cargo space.

On the Lincoln side....

The MKT has been a very slow seller. At just 6k units for 2013, I am surprised that Ford is still willing to manufacturer the vehicle. But it's slow sales really has little to do with the segment, 7 passenger wagon, but in it's design. It's just a big heavy looking, inefficient luxury wagon that looks quite a bit like it belongs in front of a funeral parlor. Not what the younger affluent demographic that Lincoln is targeting is looking for.



Actually if the MKT looked more like the MKT Concept, I expect it would have done much better.



But it is expected that the MKT will not be discontinued, but renewed on the same lighter weight CD-4 platform, as a smarter and fresher looking luxury wagon that is gaining market share. Not so much a spin off of the new MKS(as it 'now' shares the same platform with the Taurus/Flex), which is expected to be RWD(so it is finally able to compete in it's segment), but based on the FWD/AWD platform/frame of the new Flex, which it will share with the new Taurus(due 3rd Qtr 2015).

Lincoln is also expected to finally resolve it's 7-passenger SUV deficiency with a new Aviator SUV, which would share it's platform/frame with the next gen Explorer/Range Rover Sport(due 4th Qtr 2014). As the new Lincoln MKC shares platform/frame and 2.0L EcoBoost engine with the Escape/Land Rover Evoque.

With 16 vehicle launches Ford/Lincoln has scheduled for NA in 2014, we should see something new every month.
 

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Hybrid and Energi variants should make Flex sales skyrocket. The next MKT just needs to look proportional (like the concept).
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Is the Explorer really going to a RWD platform?
Explorer is sure to continue to offer FWD and AWD. The Range Rover Sport is just offered in AWD only, so no one ever asked about if it's FWD or not.

But they both use the same AWD system, Ford calls it the Terrain Management System and Land Rover calls it the Terrain Response® 2 system.

Both AWD systems have ability to 'bias torque to the front wheels and send it to the rear only as needed"

So the Explorer, like the Land Rover Sport can 'technically' have a FWD platform, but be an AWD or RWD at any time.
 

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Mercury C557
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^ Bloggin, I'm wondering
-- how much of this is supposition/speculation?
-- if YOU wrote it or found it?
sounds professional -but- I'm not at all sure about direct successors to either megaCuv.

The MKT I've already mentally buried & replaced with an Aviator
& I just can't imagine what a Flex on a new platform would LOOK like
...a re-incarnation of the comely-quirky box-with-speed-grooves?
..."something completely different" but what would 're-hook' Cali?!?
+ wondering about timing - can easily see the Canadian-built Flex in production considerably longer than the Chicago-built D3/4 vehicles - - wonder if the Interceptors (or just current ExplorerPI) could be added to Oakville?

(of course, now, I'm busy updating my ideal lineups...)
 

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Explorer is sure to continue to offer FWD and AWD. The Range Rover Sport is just offered in AWD only, so no one ever asked about if it's FWD or not.

But they both use the same AWD system, Ford calls it the Terrain Management System and Land Rover calls it the Terrain Response® 2 system.

Both AWD systems have ability to 'bias torque to the front wheels and send it to the rear only as needed"

So the Explorer, like the Land Rover Sport can 'technically' have a FWD platform, but be an AWD or RWD at any time.
But the Range has RWD biased platform if I'm not mistakes which gives it those rwd proportions that look so good. Anyway, I can't believe this gen Explore is ready to leave. It has aged very well in my opinion, still looks very good.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
^ Bloggin, I'm wondering
-- how much of this is supposition/speculation?
-- if YOU wrote it or found it?
sounds professional -but- I'm not at all sure about direct successors to either megaCuv.

The MKT I've already mentally buried & replaced with an Aviator
& I just can't imagine what a Flex on a new platform would LOOK like
...a re-incarnation of the comely-quirky box-with-speed-grooves?
..."something completely different" but what would 're-hook' Cali?!?
+ wondering about timing - can easily see the Canadian-built Flex in production considerably longer than the Chicago-built D3/4 vehicles - - wonder if the Interceptors (or just current ExplorerPI) could be added to Oakville?

(of course, now, I'm busy updating my ideal lineups...)
2b2....I saw a Flex today and started thinking. And the pieces came together as I looked at the sales, and what Ford has said about how happy they are with the Flex.

Then noticing how the luxury wagon segment is growing, where the MKT is designed poorly. Wagon consumers are not the same as SUV consumers. This is why Audi offers so many wagons, and BMW SUVs are very low like wagons. It's not that luxury consumers don't want a 7 passenger wagon, but Lincoln's interpretation of the idea did not work out well. But the MKT Concept did.

But the Aviator which was before and will still be based on the Explorer has it's own strong market, as made obvious by the Range Rover Sport, with is essentially the luxury version of the Explorer.

The Flex and Explorer will coexist like the MKT and Aviator, which are just luxury versions of the same vehicles.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
But the Range has RWD biased platform if I'm not mistakes which gives it those rwd proportions that look so good. Anyway, I can't believe this gen Explore is ready to leave. It has aged very well in my opinion, still looks very good.
It's a false perception that how the body sits on a frame has anything to do with whether the vehicle has a FWD or a RWD drivetrain. It's about weight distribution with the engine up front. But with more vehicles being close to 50/50 weight distribution, it does not matter. But the Range Rover Sport and the Ford Explorer use the same AWD system, same break based Torque Vectoring system, same EPAS steering system, and the list goes on. The difference Land Rover has is the ride hight adjustment option and more design specifically for off road.

For cars like the Fusion, Ford's all-wheel drive system splits power 70/30 percent between front and rear wheels in normal driving situations, but once traction is lost, the split can change to a maximum 60/40 percent using torque vectoring via the ABS. But Ford can calibrate the system anyway they want for the best performance. Audi A7 has a base 40/60 split.

You see...Ford designed the new Range Rover models, and they clearly expected it to be their luxury line, until the economy tanked, and they had to sell Land Rover off, and now they are using their own plans again with Lincoln.

This gen Explorer will be 7 or 8 years old when it's renewed.
 

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Bloggin,

Not to be corrective in my response but nigh on everything in your post about FWD vs RWD was erroneous, and the Range Rover Sport and Explorer are divergent in every way. The Range Rover Sport has an optional two speed transfer case with a typical 50/50 split, and the standard single speed transfer case models are 42:58 in comparison to the Explorer's 70/30 split.

The two vehicles DO NOT have the same all wheel drive system. One has a FWD based AWD system, and the other has a RWD based AWD system.
 

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Explorer is sure to continue to offer FWD and AWD. The Range Rover Sport is just offered in AWD only, so no one ever asked about if it's FWD or not.

But they both use the same AWD system, Ford calls it the Terrain Management System and Land Rover calls it the Terrain Response® 2 system.

Both AWD systems have ability to 'bias torque to the front wheels and send it to the rear only as needed"

So the Explorer, like the Land Rover Sport can 'technically' have a FWD platform, but be an AWD or RWD at any time.
RWD biased AWD vehicles like the Range Rover Sport actually do the opposite, and the highest percentage of static forward torque distribution is 50% unless more torque is sent to the front as needed.
 

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I'm just happy the Flex is getting another generation, or looks to be. I think wagons are more attractive than mommy-vans, and I've long made fun of the people with SUVs and butch-looking CUVs that will never set a wheel off road.

The Flex is a great vehicle for musicians, and I'd add one to the household if I could.
 

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Mercury C557
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^K :thumb: for what you wrote :joyous:
but
I really need to know the factory info...
-----------Oakville-------------.Chicago--------------.FlatRock
2014----Xedge,TFlex-------Cd4+Exp,T,S--------Fus,Mus
2015----Cd4---,+PI------------"-------------------------"--,--"
2016-----"-------,-"--------------."--------------------------+Conti?
2017-----"-------,-?--------------"--------------------------+LStng
2018-----"

edit: maybe add the Aviator to Chicago in 2015 or 2016?
 

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I like the idea to have 2 models here, the redesign MKT has to stay like a 3 row crossover and the new Aviator to be based on the explorer nore like a Range Rover sport-X5-Cayenne competition
 

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I would say that the MKT will be replaced by a more upright Aviator. The MKT name is pretty much tarnished. Plus, the name Aviator can draw on the Navigator's success.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
RWD biased AWD vehicles like the Range Rover Sport actually do the opposite, and the highest percentage of static forward torque distribution is 50% unless more torque is sent to the front as needed.
You are correct, the Range Rover Sport Terrain system is calibrated now at a normal 50/50 split, and the Explorer is calibrated now at a normal 70/30 split. For the Explorer the center multi-disc differential controls the front-to-rear torque split, biasing as much as 100 percent of torque to either the front or rear wheels. Depending on the Terrain Management mode selected, the center multi-disc differential's intelligent lock will allow for a 50:50 torque split in off road conditions.
 

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I would say that the MKT will be replaced by a more upright Aviator. The MKT name is pretty much tarnished. Plus, the name Aviator can draw on the Navigator's success.
The name can't be tarnished, people don't even know what they are! Seriously, I've only seen 3 MKT in my life, people do not know what they are.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Bloggin,
did you recently post sales numbers for the MKT relative to it's competition (large CUV 7 seater)?

I would love to see that again, if you did. Can't recall tho

I did a comparison with the MKT and the Aviator, showing the Aviator sales were about 80k from 2002-2006 and the MKT sales are at about 28k from 2009 to Jan 2014.

I actually started a 7 passenger compare for the MKT vs large 7 passenger SUVs, but it lost validity, since the MKT is more like a station wagon than an SUV. And station wagons are on the comeback.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I like the idea to have 2 models here, the redesign MKT has to stay like a 3 row crossover and the new Aviator to be based on the explorer nore like a Range Rover sport-X5-Cayenne competition
Exactly, it's where Cadillac is going. They want to create an Escalade version of the Chevy Traverse 7-passenger CUV.
 
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