OAKVILLE, ONTARIO – Further building its strength in the rapidly growing crossover vehicle market, Ford Motor Company has launched production of the 2009 Ford Flex at the Ford Oakville Assembly Complex (OAC). The Oakville plant has increased production and is adding 500 jobs in an effort to keep up with the demand for its hot-selling crossovers including the Lincoln MKX, Ford Edge, and Ford Flex, which will arrive in dealership showrooms this summer.
Crossover vehicles have been the fastest-growing vehicle segment in North America this decade. During the past two years, Ford crossover growth in North America is the fastest in the industry. In the U.S., Ford Edge was the best-selling mid-size crossover in 2007 and still is to date. In Canada, the crossover segment grew 89 percent in 2007 versus the previous year, and Ford of Canada sold more crossovers than any other manufacturer.
The 2009 Ford Flex, the first Ford product fully developed under the Global Product Development System, also was among the first Ford vehicles to fully utilize digital design and manufacturing technology to ensure high quality at every stage of the vehicle's development.
By running thousands of engineering checks in the vehicle's digital pre-assembly phase, the product team dramatically reduced the number of potential manufacturing concerns, helping ensure Flex will meet the highest customer expectations in every market it's sold.
Oakville Assembly Complex is an example of how Ford is moving toward flexible manufacturing across its North American operations. The plant produces two unique vehicle platforms in its flexible body shop. Edge, Flex, and the Lincoln MKX come down the same assembly line. This flexible system means the plant can efficiently adapt to shifts in consumer demand.
Flex combines a unique "box-on-box" design with class-leading package, delivers fuel economy of 12.6L/100 km in the city and 8.4L/100 km on the highway — or 17/24 mpg, respectively — and offers other "firsts," including:
- The latest generation of Ford's successful SYNC technology, which allows for voice activation of in-car technology as well as hands-free operation of mobile phones and MP3 players.
- A compressor-driven refrigerator/freezer, which works some 30 percent faster than home fridge/freezers.
- Multi-panel Vista Roof, which gives each individual in the vehicle their own view.
- A reverse camera system that shows a rear-view image on the 8-inch screen when Flex is in reverse.
- Ford's new EasyFuel capless refueling system, which allows for clean and simple refueling without a fuel cap.
Originally posted on Automotive Fleet