Ford to kill Ford Flex sports-utility car, lay off 450 workers

The end of the Ford Flex is here, and as a result, 450 workers will lose their jobs.

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Ford Motor Company announced it will discontinue the sports utility vehicle by 2020 as it overhauls its lineup to focus on big sellers and new models, like the upcoming Bronco, an all-electric crossover SUV that takes inspiration from the classic stylings of a Mustang.

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The 2019 Flex runs about $30,500 with seating for up to seven passengers, according to Ford. The auto-making giant reportedly sold 296,000 of the sport utility vehicle..

“It gained a loyal following as a stylish, roomy wagon blending sport/utility vehicle and minivan capability in a low-slung retro-inspired package,” Ford said of the Flex in a statement.

But the decision to no longer make it is part of a “plan to strengthen its focus on products in the heart of the fastest-growing segments,” the company added.

Part of the challenge for the Flex was increasing competition from similar models. Foreign carmakers have introduced several three-row SUVs, including the Volkswagen Atlas.

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“People who own the Flex love it, but it became almost a cult vehicle and the numbers were just too small,” Michelle Krebs, an analyst at car-buying site Autotrader, told USA Today. “There's so much competition, you're going to see vicious battles.”

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The decision to cut off the Flex and the workers who manufacture it comes after Ford ended a longwinded strike with the United Auto Workers association over health care and other issues. Ford's stock is up 12 percent on the year.

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