The next-generation Ford Focus has been unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
The choice of an American launch is significant, because Ford have said this new Focus will be almost identical in all their global markets. Although they were intended to be much the same car, the Focus (and the Escort before it) diverged considerably on either side of the Atlantic. Indeed, the USA missed out the most recent Focus version.
The new model will start production in the USA and Europe later this year, ready for a market launch in early 2011, with UK sales due in the first quarter of 2011. It will also be produced in China.
Again the Focus will be produced in both saloon and hatchback forms, meeting the different wishes of Europe (where the hatchback is the most popular) and the USA (where there is a preference for saloons).
The new Focus will be one of up to ten unique models to be built from Ford’s new C-car platform, which is expected to generate total sales in all regions of two million units annually by 2012. The first of these will be the new Ford C-MAX and Ford Grand C-MAX – unveiled at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show – for launch in Europe in the second half of 2010.
“Global customers increasingly want smaller cars with outstanding fuel economy, but without sacrificing any of the style, technology, connectivity and driving quality they demand from larger vehicles,” explained Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s group vice president of Global Product Development.
“Our next generation of C-cars – led by the exciting new Focus – will clearly show that Ford is ready to meet that challenge,” he concluded.
Design of the new model has been led from Europe, at Ford’s small and medium vehicle centre of excellence in Germany. The powertrain development is focussed in the UK. Both of these teams called on support from the resources of Ford’s engineering centre in Dearborn, Michigan.
The global powertrain lineup for the new Focus will include a range of state-of-the-art four-cylinder turbocharged direct injection (DI) engines dubbed EcoBoost, offering reductions in fuel consumption of between 10 and 20% compared to the outgoing models.
The technology package of the new Focus is said to include features that would be surprising to customers in premium segments. Ford say these new technologies have been designed to be simple and highly intuitive to enhance both convenience and safety, Among these will be what Ford describe as “a combination of controls and display screens to operate the key vehicle features”.
The Focus will also have a new generation of Ford’s SYNC connectivity package, which includes a sophisticated voice control system, Bluetooth and satellite navigation, along with connection points for a variety of devices and media players.
Attention to detail is said to include not only the touch and feel of cabin materials, but also their smell and the design team are said to have worked on detail such as the sound of the doors when they are closed and the thickness of the padding and size of the stitching on the steering wheel rim.