Photos and specs for the 2013 Ford Flex have now been released ahead of the vehicle’s L.A. Auto Show debut, and it seems the Blue Oval is making a serious effort to reboot one of the slower sellers in its lineup. The changes aren’t coming a moment too soon, either, since sales of the big three-row crossover have been pretty small this year. Sales were down 6.2 percent in October, and that represents a notable improvement compared to the Flex’s YTD sales—deliveries are down nearly 22 percent on the year, and the Flex will likely finish up with about 27,000 units out the door for 2011.
Needless to say, that puts the Flex well behind its competition: GM’s trio of three-row crossovers—the Chevy Traverse, GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave—finished October having managed a combined 206,621 sales for the year to date, representing a 10.8 percent increase that’s a few ticks ahead of the industry’s performance. The all-new Dodge Durango isn’t quite seeing that kind of volume, but riding on a wave of demand for all things Chrysler Group, the three-row “SUV with a soul” moved 3,864 units in October, pushing up its running tally to just shy of 43,000 sales so far this year.
And then there’s the Ford Explorer. The automaker’s other choice in the three-row crossover segment. Thanks to its recent reinvention, the Explorer has moved right to the top of the class, racking up another 11,987 sales in October to break the 100,000-unit mark for the year. Its year-to-date total of 108,944 sales tops its next closest competitor, the Traverse, by about 18,000 units.
In fact, the only real problem with the Explorer is that it doesn’t leave much reason for Ford customers to choose the Flex. (Well, MyFord Touch and SYNC are problems as well, but they’re not unique to the Explorer.)