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FPV to fly with homegrown Focus

Focussed aggression: An official Ford teaser shot of the next Focus RS.

Expect to see a hi-po FPV version of Ford's next-generation Focus small-car

8 Feb 2008

FORD Performance Vehicles has long considered adding the Focus to its expanding artillery, but the first FPV small-car will not be a variation of the upcoming Focus RS due to be unveiled in Europe mid-year before being launched in 2009.

Instead, the firm – which is 51 per cent owned by Prodrive and the rest by Ford Australia – is likely to produce its own high-performance version based on the all-new third-generation Focus now under development now and due to be produced in Australia from 2011.

In a move aimed directly at HSV’s 177kW AH Astra-based VXR hatch, an FPV Focus would comfortably exceed the 141kW offered by the existing Focus performance range-topper, the 166kW XR5 Turbo.

Last year Ford announced that it will build the next Focus at its Broadmeadows plant in the north of Melbourne. The current model comes out of South Africa (or Germany if it's the XR5 Turbo).

If given the green light, the 2011 FPV Focus will be the fastest and most powerful small-car ever built in Australia.

“When the 2011 Focus is running down the Broadmeadows production line then we’ll have a lot of opportunity with that car,” Rod Barrett – FPV general manager – revealed to GoAuto last week.

19 center imageLeft: Facelifted Focus XR5 Turbo.

As GoAuto reported in late 2005, part of FPV’s philosophy is to have engineering input in the vehicles that it sells, thus precluding the importation of the current-generation 2009 Focus RS wholesale as an FPV.

“To wear an FPV badge, it will have to have some level of involvement by FPV,” said a company spokesman back in 2005.

“We’re not interested in taking something... and just putting an FPV badge on it without becoming involved in how the vehicle performs.” Keeping a lid on costs is also another hurdle for any potential low-volume import that undergoes the FPV treatment.

“If you are paying (to develop Australian-specification) for wheels or exhausts or engines then you are essentially paying for a second set. It’s then going to be harder to pass that vehicle on to a buyer at a price that will remain competitive”, he said at the time.

Whether Ford Australia will instead import the RS from Germany as the big brother to the XR5 Turbo remains to be seen.

The company is remaining mum on that car despite launching a teaser photograph in December.

Speculation is rife that the Focus RS will boast well over 220kW, along with a Volkswagen-style DSG dual-clutch gearbox and a sophisticated electronic differential designed to harness all that power through the front wheels.

The previous-generation Focus sold here from 2002 to 2005 also spawned an RS version in Europe.

Despite being a loss-maker for Ford, it cemented that model’s position as one of the most desirable driver’s cars in its small-car class, quickly gaining a cult following, especially in the UK.

Read more:

Oz input Strong at Ford

Ford Australia to build Focus at Broadmeadows

The Road to Recovery podcast series

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