Oakville, Ontario -- The blue-oval automaker celebrated the official launch of the 2009 Ford Flex yesterday at its Oakville assembly plant, near Toronto. To illustrate the magnitude of the event, Ford Canada invited legendary hockey player Wayne Gretzky.
Legendary hockey player Wayne Gretzky (right) and Ford Motor Company President for the Americas, Mark Fields, celebrated the production of the 2009 Flex at the Oakville assembly plant, in Ontario.
At the end of the ceremony, the Great One made a surprise entry in an all-new Flex driven by Ford's president for the Americas, Mark Fields. The latter told everyone in attendance: "Flex drives as good as it looks, and the Oakville team is going to deliver another high-quality crossover for customers."
About a thousand Ford workers were on hand for the launch and, according to Mr. Gretzky, "the team here at Oakville continues to be at the top of their game."
Wayne Gretzky has been a spokesman for the brand for the last five years in Canada. Though he did not make it official, Barry Engle, president of Ford Canada, hinted that we might again see the greatest hockey player of all-time on television, this time to promote the Flex.
Production for the 2009 Ford Flex started in May and the pace is progressively increasing. This crossover is built on a flexible assembly line -- a Ford's first in North America. It allows the automaker to quickly shift models and production capacities while incorporating all the options to meet customer demand more effectively.
Consequently, the Oakville plant can now produce three separate vehicles (the Flex as well as the Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX twins) using two different platforms. "Right now, we're going with a 50/50 distribution: half of the vehicles that roll off the line are Flex models, while the other half is comprised of Edge and MKX units, explained Zorin Trbovic, Director of Final Assembly, with whom we toured the facility prior to the ceremony. Eventually, we could produce other vehicles even with a whole new platform, but nothing has been confirmed yet."
According to the rumor mill, the 2009 Ford Flex will reportedly share its platform, much like the Edge teams up with the more luxurious MKX. The new model would be called Lincoln MKT, with production obviously taking place in Oakville too.
The Flex is built on a flexible assembly line, which means that other vehicles using a different platform can also be manufactured here.