Ford will be keeping the Flex in its U.S. market lineup, despite disappointing sales and the introduction of a new Ford Explorer SUV coming later this year.

The Flex was meant to be Ford's family-friendly people-mover for the North American market after the automaker exited the minivan segment with the discontinuation of the Freestar model in 2006. But the boxy styling of the vehicle has attracted critics and sales of the Flex have been low. Ford sold only 12,598 units in the first four months of this year - an 14.8 percent increase over the same period last year but still a modest number. By contrast, Explorer sales ballooned 41.2 percent for the same period.

The new Ford Explorer will be offering three rows of seats, like the Flex, and lots of cabin space. But Ford will be keeping the Flex around because its sells for a starting price of $29,725 (€23,598) and provides good margins for Ford.

"We think the kind of person that is buying a Flex will continue to do that despite the new Explorer," said Doug Szopo, executive director for global product planning at Ford.


Gallery: Ford commits to offer Flex alongside Explorer

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