Ford Focus hatch (Europe), Ford Focus Coupè (Europe, Asia and North America)
|Body and chassis|
2-door coupe (US)
|Layout||Front-engine, front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive|
Ford Escort (Europe and North America)|
Ford Laser (Asia and Oceania)
The Ford Focus is a compact car (C-segment in Europe) manufactured by the Ford Motor Company since 1998. Ford began sales of the Focus to Europe in July 1998 and in North America during 1999 for the 2000 model year.
For decades, in the U.S., small cars like the Ford Focus were seen as a tool to draw in younger buyers looking for a cheap basic transportation and to increase auto makers' fleet average fuel economies to meet U.S. federal standards. Ford was said not to concern about losing money on the Focus so the company could sell gas guzzlers for big profits. Many industry insiders also view cars like the Focus as 'compliance car' because of their role in helping to bring down the corporate fleet average fuel economy to meet current fuel-economy standards.
In Europe, North and South America, and South Africa, the Focus replaced the various versions of the Ford Escort and Ford Laser sold in those markets. In Asia and Australasia, it replaced the Ford Laser. As of the first half of 2012, the Focus surpassed the Toyota Corolla to become the world's best selling automobile nameplate.
First generation (1998–2005)
Ford of Europe introduced the Focus in 1998 to the European market as a replacement for the Ford Escort. The decision to name the new car the "Ford Focus" was made in early 1998, as Ford's senior management had been planning to keep the "Escort" nameplate for its new generation of small family cars. A last minute problem arose in July 1998 when a Cologne court, responding to a case brought by the publisher Burda, ordered Ford to avoid the name "Focus" for the cars in the German market since the name was already taken by one of its magazines (Focus). This eleventh hour dispute was resolved, however, and the car was launched with the name Focus. The Focus MK1 was awarded the 1999 European Car of the Year award. There is also a tale floating around certain editions of Motor Trend magazine that Ford executive Jac Nasser actually made the decision of the name Focus the night of that year's Geneva Auto Show because he was annoyed that one of the other names under consideration, had leaked to the media. The Fusion name was eventually used on two different vehicle families - a utility version of the Fiesta in Europe, and on a mid-size sedan model in North America.
Ford of North America began marketing the Focus in October 1999 for the 2000 model year as a surprise Christmas present for Ford's CEO Jacques Nasser, with some changes from the European version. The car was launched as a three-door hatchback, four-door sedan and five-door wagon; a five-door hatchback debuted in 2001.
In 2002, Ford launched its highest performance version of the Focus, called the Focus RS. It came with a 2.0-litre turbocharged Zetec engine, a limited slip differential, Brembo brakes and a host of other performance changes, combined with a much more aggressive appearance, and was available only in blue. This original Focus RS was only available in Europe.
Second generation (2004–2011)
The second generation Focus was launched at the Paris Motor Show on 23 September 2004 as a three and five-door hatchback and an estate, although the new car was previewed, in 4-door sedan form, as the "Focus Concept" developed by Ford Europe at the Beijing Motor Show in mid-2004.
The basic suspension design, which contributed much to the Mk 1's success, was carried over largely unchanged from its predecessor which, along with a 10 percent stiffer bodyshell, offers a better ride according to Ford but lacked on the precise and poised handling of the Mk1. The same body styles as the Mk 1 Focus were offered, though the saloon did not appear until mid-2005. A two-door coupé-cabriolet with a retractable hardtop was added to the line-up in 2007.
The Focus Mk 2 is larger and considerably heavier than its predecessor: it has a 25 mm (0.98 in) increase in wheelbase, and is 168 mm (6.6 in) longer, 8 mm (0.31 in) taller and 22 mm (0.87 in) wider. As a result, the interior and boot space have increased. New technologies include a KeyFree system, a solar-reflect windshield, adaptive front lighting, Bluetooth hands-free phones and voice control for audio, telephone and climate control systems.
Stylistically, the Mk 2 features the same design language found in the Mondeo and Fiesta. Although still recognisable as a Focus, the new car uses styling features from the abandoned B-Proposal for the original Focus which never reached production.
In 2005, Ford released a MK.II version of Ford's sports division of Focus, the Focus ST. This one produced 225 bhp (168 kW) and could achieve a 0–60 mph (0–97 km/h) time of just 6.4 seconds, and a 152 mph (245 km/h) top speed, using a 2.5-litre, five-cylinder turbocharged engine originating from Volvo.
2007–2008 saw a facelifted version introduced, featuring Ford's Kinetic Design philosophy. Major changes included a new bonnet with more creases, the removal of all mouldings along the doors and sides, new sculpted pull back headlights, and the big trapezoidal lower grille.
In 2009, the new Focus RS was launched, with a modified version of the 2.5-litre engine found in the ST.
For the North American market, development followed a separate path. Since debuting at the 2007 North American International Auto Show, the restyled 2008–2011 generation was available as a two-door coupe and four-door sedan; the hatchbacks and wagon were discontinued. The interior was redesigned, including new seats, a new dashboard design with message center on top of the dashboard, ambient lighting, dashboard panels that simulate brushed aluminum, and Ford's voice-controlled Sync audio/Bluetooth system. Also included in the redesign was a support beam behind the dashboard for extra structural rigidity.
Though informally considered as the second generation, it was never officially referred to as such by Ford since its platform was the same as the first generation.
Third generation (2011–present)
In 2010 for model year 2011, Ford decided to reunite both international and North American models by releasing the international Mk3 worldwide. The previous North American version was discontinued, and the new model was launched simultaneously in North America and Europe in early 2011, both having started production late in 2010.
Ford unveiled the 2011 global Ford Focus at the 2010 North American International Auto Show. The car shown was a five-door hatchback model, also debuting a new 2.0-litre direct injection inline-four engine. A five-door station wagon was also made available at launch. The new generation launched simultaneously in North America and Europe in early 2011, with production having started in late 2010. Production in Asia, Africa, Australia and South America was scheduled to follow later but the plan for Australian production was later dropped and that market and New Zealand were supplied, along with Asia, from a new factory in Thailand where output began in June 2012. This new generation of Focus incorporates a redesigned cabin with new materials and new entertainment technologies. A 2015 model for the Ford Focus has been exhibited on the Ford website. Its chassis design is much like the 2013 model, but the front has been facelifted with elongated and darkened headlamps, and a grille that is designed to look like the Fusion, or C-max.
Ford debuted the all-electric Ford Focus Electric at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2011 to compete with the Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Volt. Deliveries for fleet customers in the United States began in December 2011, and the release to retail customers took place by late May 2012. The electric car is available only in California, New York, and New Jersey, in limited numbers. The European release was scheduled for late 2012.
In summer 2012 Ford launched the Focus ST which had 252 bhp (188 kW) from a 2.0-litre turbocharged EcoBoost engine.
In August 2014, Ford announced it was recalling Focus ST hatchbacks sold in the United States, Canada and Mexico due to a wiring problem. Additionally, Ford also asked for dealers to stop test driving and selling select Focus and C-Max vehicles in late August. There was a potential issue found related to the steering assemblies. It was apparent for the manufacturer, that from 8 August through the 15, less than 50 of the vehicles may not have had enough ball bearings in the assembly, causing concern for accidents.
Ford previewed the third generation facelifted model at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show. The updated version features a new redesigned front end design, incorporating Ford's new family grille and slimline headlights. The sporty ST and an RS model (now sold globally)—which features an upgraded version of the 2.3-litre engine from the Ford Mustang—will continue Ford's performance range. The RS now has all-wheel drive. The new 2016 model year update Focus range will be offered with Ford's multi award-winning EcoBoost technology, with a 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder powerplant available in 110 and 132 kW (148 and 177 hp) outputs in place of the current older 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre offerings. A revised 2.0-litre turbo-diesel TDCi engine, with an output of 110 kW (150 hp), will also be offered.
The first Focus World Rally Car made its debut in rallying and the World Rally Championship on the 1999 Monte Carlo Rally with Colin McRae and Simon Jean-Joseph at the wheels of the two cars, replacing, for the first time in a generation, the venerable Escort. It was immediately on the pace, setting many fastest stage times, but a vehicle weight issue meant that the two cars were excluded from that event. McRae went on to give the Focus WRC its maiden victory on the Safari Rally in February of the same year and took victory again in the following rally, the Rally Portugal.
The MkI Focus WRC went on to achieve further victories over the years for McRae, Carlos Sainz and Markko Märtin from then until it was phased out in favour of the MkII offering in late 2005. This car, a winner in both Marcus Grönholm's and Mikko Hirvonen's hands in the two-car factory BP-Ford World Rally Team that contested the 2006 World Rally Championship season, duly racked up the manufacturers' title, spelling the end of a formidable twenty-seven-year wait for such an honour in this series for the Blue Oval. The team successfully defended the manufacturers' title in the 2007 season. The Focus WRC was used until the 2010 season, when it was announced that the new Fiesta will replace the Focus from 2011 and onwards.
All the rally cars are built, prepared and run for Ford by M-Sport, the motorsport team based in Cockermouth, Cumbria in Northern England. The team is managed by Malcolm Wilson, a well known former British rally driver.
Besides rallies, the Focus has also been used in the SCCA Speed World Challenge Touring Car Series, the TC 2000, resulting champion in 2003, 2005, 2010 and 2012.
A Focus was entered into the 2006 Swedish Touring Car Championship season.
The Ford Focus ST made its debut in the 2009 British Touring Car Championship season, with Arena Motorsport. During its second season, the car ran on Liquefied Petroleum Gas, taking the first BTCC win for a car powered by this fuel at Brands Hatch. In 2011, Arena (also known as Team AON) shifted to the newer Focus Mk3, while Motorbase Performance drove the ST version. Both cars had engines, built by the Next Generation Touring Car engine rules. Motorbase continues to compete with the Ford Focus ST.
Arena Motorsport entered two Ford Focus Mk3s in the 2012 World Touring Car Championship season for Tom Chilton and James Nash. The best result is 6th place by Nash in the Race of Morocco.
In 2008 Ford South Africa entered two modified Focus ST models into Class T (reserved for turbocharged production vehicles) of the local Bridgestone Production Car Championship (essentially a Touring Car formula). They secured the Class T driver's titles in 2009 and 2011.
The car had success in the 2013 Chinese Touring Car Championship, and won its class in the 2014 Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 Hour. The Focus that raced in the 2014 Bathurst 12 Hour was powered by a 5.0 L Ford Coyote V8 engine.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ford Focus.|
- Ford Focus Australia – Official website
- Ford Focus UK – Official website
- Ford Focus ST US – Official website
- Ford Focus ST Australia – Official website
- Ford Focus ST UK – Official website
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