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Ford’s Focus on diversification

All change: Ford's American Focus will make way for a new model built on the new global Focus platform to be debuted at the Detroit motor show.

Ford may sell up to 10 varieties of the next-generation Focus during its lifecycle

Ford logo4 Dec 2009

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

FORD is preparing to produce 10 or more different models on the next-generation Focus platform due to be unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit early next month.

This includes the two C-Max five-seat and C-Max long-wheelbase seven-seater people movers already seen this year – although these will probably not be on the agenda when the range goes on sale in Australia sometime within the next year or so.

The Mk3 version of Ford’s global small car is expected to also spawn convertible, wagon, high-performance (RS), and even small SUV variations.

These are set to be progressively added to the three-door and five-door hatchback, as well as the four-door sedan variants, that are de rigueur to any modern C-segment combatant with the Focus’ annual two million-unit volume aspiration.

Furthermore the various Focus varieties will share up to 80 per cent parts commonality – including the control blade multi-link rear suspension system famously pioneered in the small-car class by the original Focus back in 1998.

27 center imageLeft: The current Australian Ford Focus.

According to Ford of the Americas president Mark Fields, this compares with about 60 per cent parts commonality in the current Fiesta – which is still regarded as essentially the same car under the company’s ‘One Ford’ scheme. It is built in Germany, Spain and China, with Mexico and Thailand coming on line next year.

Ford’s global marketing group vice-president Jim Farley said the C-car was a key segment in mature markets.

“And (the new Focus) is really going to be a very important announcement for us because each year we (intend to) sell more than two million units on that C-segment platform that we are going to announce – and we are going to have more than 10 variations around the world of that product,” he said.

“I can’t give you any of the story until we get there (to Detroit) but I think you will find that One Ford global products will be executed with some variation around the world – that’s our vision for the business.” Meanwhile, Mr Farley acknowledges that the current LV Focus is not performing as well as the company had hoped, but that it would continue to be the subject of more aggressive marketing against the more popular Toyota Corolla and Mazda3.

Year-to-date Focus volume in Australia is down by 28.5 per cent, with sales collapsing 41.7 per cent in November, in a small-car segment that has slipped by only 7.2 per cent year-to-date.

Today’s Mk2 Focus was released in Australia in June 2005, less than nine months after the model’s Paris motor show debut.

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