Memo to antsy Ford dealers: The Flex is coming. Really.
In a Wednesday, July 30, memo to Fords Select dealers -- a group of small rural dealers -- a Ford manager tried to quell the concerns of those who still dont have a Flex in their showrooms.
Every dealer wants their hands on a hot product as soon as possible, Ford spokesman Jay Ward told Automotive News. When they dont get it right away, they feel left out. But the cars are coming -- just not quite as fast as they might like.
The Flex is launching in seven key metropolitan areas where Fords research showed there would be the most interest in the crossover, Ward said.
Ford has 10 remaining regions that will have their startup allocation of the Flex by September, the memo says. Ford has been advertising the Flex since June.
By having new product and advertising behind it, dealers think that the product can generate showroom traffic for them, Ward said. Customers may not buy a Flex, but they may buy a Taurus X or an Edge.
If you see cars or advertising for cars, you want to piggyback off that and get people into the dealership.
Ward said it is not unusual for dealers to be concerned about getting a new vehicle. Nor is it unusual, he said, for Ford to reassure dealers that new product is coming.
Chuck Spaeth, a Minnesota dealer on Fords Select dealer council, said the memo illustrates how communication between Ford and its Select dealers has improved.
They wanted to work with the Select dealers and make sure they have one Flex before some of these other dealers get two, or three, said Spaeth, owner of Chuck Spaeth Ford in Sleepy Eye, Minn.
Ford executives have said the Flex, which began shipping to dealers in June, was one of the companys crucial launches for the year. Ford plans to sell 75,000 to 100,000 Flexes annually.
The Flex is built at Fords Oakville, Ontario, plant, which also builds the Edge and Lincoln MKX crossovers. In April, Ford said it would add a third shift to the plant. But last week, the company put the third shift on hold because of a deteriorating U.S. sales market.
It is unclear if the added production will begin at the plant, which added 350 workers to accommodate a third shift.
We continue to monitor the market very closely and will adjust production appropriately, Ford Canada spokeswoman Lauren More wrote in an e-mail to Automotive News.