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An Auto Industry Insider’s View…From A Woman’s Perspective

Archive for August, 2008

FLEX’n with the Diva: Part 1

Posted by carsdiva on August 14, 2008

I just got back from a trip to Detroit to visit Ford Motor Company, where I had the opportunity to sit down with a dynamic group of individuals and learn all about the new 2009 Ford Flex, got a walk-around tour of the vehicle, and then learned about Ford’s Blueprint for Sustainability. I have lots of video coming, but I thought I’d tell you a little bit about it right away.
Anthony Prozzi, Ford Designer

Anthony Prozzi, Ford Designer

During the first sit down interview (think “The View”), I was joined by several Ford Execs, including Anthony Prozzi, Ford Designer (Interior Design Manager of the Flex), Kate Pearce, Ford Flex Marketing Manager, and Usha Raghavachari, Ford CUV Marketing Communications Manager, who shared their insight, expert information and passion about the Flex. Jay Ward, Ford SUV/CUV Communications Manager, later joined us for the walk-around tour of the vehicle.

What’s a Flex?

So what is the Ford Flex? Well Kate Pearce said that “it’s something really unique and different in the market.” It’s defined by Ford as a crossover, which is a vehicle that combines the best features of a car, coupled with the capabilities of an SUV. “We fundamentally believe that Flex is the next game changer for Ford. There will be nothing else like it in the marketplace,” said Kate Pearce.

Kate Pearce, Ford Flex Marketing Manager

Kate Pearce, Ford Flex Marketing Manager

Anthony Prozzi added that he thinks, “what makes a game changer, and a vehicle like the Flex so important is the fact that it is well designed.” (coming from a designer himself!) “In an arena with so many competitors, the thing that’s going to set you apart is obviously the way it looks…first impressions always make the lasting impression. Its looks, its overall appearance, enhanced with all the comfort and driving dynamics of it, you have not only a game changer, but you have something that’s significant and a homerun for Ford Motor Company.”

And the Flex is for…

2009 Ford Flex Limited

2009 Ford Flex Limited

And who’s the target customer? Well, this time it’s not about a demographic, but a psychographic. That is, the Flex customer is someone who wants to avoid the norm and make a statement. “Our target consumer, we describe them as an attitude rather than a demographic,” said Usha Raghavachari. “We’re getting so much positive feedback from young and old, alike…we like to

Usha Raghavachari, Ford CUV Marketing Communications Manager talks to the CarsDiva about the Ford Flex customer.

Usha Raghavachari, Ford CUV Marketing Communications Manager talks to the CarsDiva about the Ford Flex customer.

describe them as people who invest in the interesting.”

In my opinion, well the vehicle is definitely interesting, and indeed, it evokes a reaction. As to what kind of reaction- well you decide! Whether you’re a fan or not, you have to admit, the Flex does draw attention. And if you’re not convinced by your first impression, give it the benefit of the doubt and check out the inside. Quite extraordinary, I must say… 

CarsDiva in a Haldeman Ford Flex T-shirt

CarsDiva wearing a Haldeman Ford Flex T-shirt

As part of the new vehicle launch, Ford dealers across the country are throwing consumer parties to “unveil” the Flex. Unfortunately I missed some of them, but I was lucky enough to get a couple Flex souvenirs from the successful events hosted by my friends in the Philadelphia area- Lilliston Ford (Vineland, NJ), Haldeman Ford (Hamilton Square, NJ), and C & C Ford (Horsham, PA). And next week (August 18-22), I’ll be checking out the Flex events at Springfield Ford and McCafferty Ford.  Stay tuned…

If you’re interested in learning more…

CarsDiva wearing a Lilliston Ford t-shirt from their Flex event.

CarsDiva wearing a Lilliston Ford t-shirt from their Flex event.

For those of you “Flex Fanatics” out there, (or for those whose interest was peaked), check out my new social network devoted to the Flex, spun out of CarsDiva.com, called FlexFans.org, which centers on the Ford Flex. And take a peak at the calendar to learn about Flex events in your area, and to see which Flex event I’ll be at next!

CarsDiva sporting a Flex t-shirt and toting a Flex bag from C & C Ford.

CarsDiva sporting a Flex t-shirt and toting a Flex bag from C & C Ford.

Videos (and more on Ford’s Blueprint for Sustainability with John Viera, Director of Sustainable Business Strategies) soon to follow!!!

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