The Focus has been a staple in the Ford line up since 1998. Originally available as both a sedan and a hatch, the car was versatile and overall a great value. Things have changed in recent years and the Focus is currently only available in sedan form. Further along those lines of change, the car is no longer the game changer it once was. Ford is looking to change all that with this next generation Focus.
The new Focus will be the car that truly launches and embodies the “ONE Ford” strategy. That is one car sold globally. Focus will share over 80% of its parts with the European version. Even further, the European model and U.S. model will launch at the same time. Production will start simultaneously in Europe and North America in late 2010 with sales beginning in early 2011. The platform will be used for 10 global C-class cars. This will amount to almost two million units in annual production by 2012.
Arriving both in sedan and hatchback form the Focus will target exceptional fuel economy while advancing the level of technology and quality in a C-segment vehicle. The Focus will feature kinetic design language recently seen on the new Fiesta. “The all-new Focus is at the center of convergence for automotive trends,” said J Mays, Ford group vice president of Design and chief creative officer. “We’ve designed it with an acute understanding of global customers, yet it’s tailored for each individual region. Focus combines the best from Europe, North America and Asia to deliver a level of emotional driving enjoyment never before experienced in a car this size.”
Ford is promising new levels of agility and responsiveness being brought to the C-segment with the new Focus. Utilizing multilink rear suspension and semi-isolated front and rear subframes, Ford is saying this will help achieve the desired driving characteristics. Complimenting all this is a all new electric power steering system. This system has been tuned for responsiveness at highway speeds while still remaining light for parking lot speeds.
The global powertrain line up in the new Focus will have everything from an EcoBoost four cylinder to a Duratorq TDCi common rail diesel. The North American Focus will launch with a all new DOHC 2.0 liter gasoline engine featuring both DI (Direct Injection) and Ti-VCT (Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing). This 2.0 liter is estimated to put out 155 hp and 145 ft-lb through a six speed PowerShift transmission. PowerShift is Ford’s new dual clutch transmission that is also being used in the new 2011 Fiesta. The new 2.0 liter will be E85 capable unlike most engines with DI.
The PowerShift dual dry clutch transmission is sealed. The transmission is said to be maintenance free. The removal of pumps and hoses not only saves weight but helps achieve better fuel economy. Additionally, the new Focus will feature a Hill Start Assist function. This system is sensor based and will activate when an incline is greater then 3 percent. The system will “hold” the brakes for an “instant” (2.5 seconds) which will prevent rollback when stopping or starting on an incline.
The innovative MyFord system announced last week at CES will be available on the new Focus. This will compliment the latest generation Microsoft SYNC system which includes a sophisticated voice control system, bluetooth, and satellite navigation.
“When the new Focus launches in late 2010, it will be among the global leaders in fuel economy and CO2 emissions,” said Kuzak. “We will continue to pioneer new technologies beyond launch, including a true zero-emission model launching in North America in 2011. Throughout its life cycle, Focus in all forms, in all regions, will demonstrate the Ford commitment to deliver unsurpassed fuel economy on a truly global scale.”
High strength steel is used heavily in the next generation Focus especially in the body shell. The high strength steel comprises 55 percent of the body shell. More then 26 percent of the vehicles overall structure is ultra high strength steel and Boron Steel. This is more then any other Ford product to date. This helps with safety and weight. Due to the extensive use of these materials, the next generation Focus has 25 percent greater torsion rigidity.
“We believe the new Ford Focus will provide consumers with an unmatched driving experience, together with an unrivaled ownership experience,” said Jim Farley, Ford group vice president, Global Marketing. “The Focus brand always has been very special to Ford, and this new global model shows our commitment to developing another generation of exciting and appealing cars.”
The Focus promising to be a lot of things. On paper it sounds great. It even has room for growth with future engines like a sport EcoBoost model in North America perhaps, or possibly a SVT version. The fact remains, we as Americans have been asking for the Focus that Europe has had for years. It seems we will be receiving a car that is in large part just that. The new Focus should have Honda and Toyota up at night.