The proper orthogonal decomposition (POD)-based model reduction method is more and more successfully used in fluid flows. However, the main drawback of this methodology rests in the robustness of these reduced order models (ROMs) beyond the reference at which POD modes have been derived. Any variation in the flow or shape parameters within the ROM fails to predict the correct dynamics of the flow field. To broaden the spectrum of these models, the POD modes should have the global characteristics of the flow field over which the predictions are required. Mixing of snapshots with varying parameters is one way to improve the global nature of the modes but is computationally demanding because it requires full-order solutions for a number of parameter values in order to assemble atextitrich enough database on which to perform POD. Instead, we have used sensitivity analysis (SA) to include the flow and shape parameters influence during the basis selection process to develop more robust ROMs for varying viscosity (Reynolds number), changing orientation and shape definition of bodies. This study aims at extending these ideas to inflow conditions to demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed approach in capturing the effect of varying inflow on the dynamics of the flow over an elliptic cylinder. Numerical experiments show that the newly derived models allow for a more accurate representation of the flows when exploring the parameter space. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.