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Ford lobs new Thai-built Focus

Change of plants: The Ford Focus range is now sourced from Rayong in Thailand, allowing Ford Australia to capitalise on the free-trade agreement by adding a suite of extra features.

More standard features for Thai-sourced Ford Focus, but no price cuts

3 Jul 2012

FORD Australia has released details of its updated Focus hatch and sedan range – now sourced from Thailand rather than Germany – ahead of its arrival in local showrooms in August.

Despite the economic benefits of the switch to Thailand, with whom Australia holds a free-trade agreement, the Blue Oval has not introduced any price cuts, instead increasing the price of flagship Titanium variants by $750.

Ford Australia has balanced this by fitting a suite of extra equipment across the range, most notably making the advanced SYNC software media system standard on all variants, as well as offering – in a segment first – an autonomous braking system called Active City Stop as an option.

Ford has also marginally improved the fuel economy of the 125kW/202Nm GDI direct-injected petrol and 120kW/350Nm turbo-diesel engines used in all variants but the entry-level Ambiente (meaning the Trend, Sport and Titanium).

Petrol versions of the Trend and Sport now return claimed combined economy of 6.6 litres per 100km when matched with the five-speed manual gearbox (down from 7.2L/100km previously), while all diesels now consume 5.4L/100km – a drop of 0.1L/100km.

Ford credits part of the fuel economy improvements to new active grille shutters, which close at speed to reduce drag.

27 center imageSeveral variants have been axed in the switch to Thai production. These include the petrol and diesel Sport sedan and oil-burning Titanium sedan.

The revised Focus line-up joins a growing list of Thai-sourced Ford vehicles, including the Fiesta light-car and Australian-designed and engineered Ranger ute – supplies of which are only just now returning to normal after last year’s debilitating floods.

One Focus model that will retain its German origins is the flagship ST high-performance hatch, which is expected to debut in its latest guise in Australia about October.

In the Thai-made models, Active City Stop 2 is available exclusively as part of the optional $2300 Sports Executive Pack on the Titanium, and also includes high-end features such as adaptive cruise control, Bi-Xenon headlights and power sunroof.

The autonomous automatic braking system mimics those found on premium passenger vehicles by monitoring the road ahead and automatically applying the brakes if it detects an obstruction to which driver is not responding at speeds of 30km/h or under.

The SYNC system provides hands-free, voice-activated connectivity to a phone or music player via USB and Bluetooth. The system is more advanced than is typical for the small car segment, with the ability to read text messages aloud and select music tracks solely through voice commands.

As well as SYNC, the entry-level Ambiente four- or five-door also gets a fuel-saving ECO mode, body coloured door handles and redesigned 16-inch wheel covers while retaining the same pricing as before (from $21,990 plus on-road costs or an extra $2300 with the six-speed automatic).

The 92kW/159Nm 1.6-litre naturally-aspirated petrol engine offered exclusively with this specification level remains unchanged.

Additions to the Trend variant are limited to a new rear badge, but the $300 Convenience Pack adds automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers, automatically-dimming rear-view mirror and ‘follow-me-home’ lights.

Pricing is unchanged, starting at $24,490 plus ORC for the manual hatch, and climbing to $30,500 for automatic diesel versions of either bodystyle.

The Sport – now available solely as a hatch – picks up additions not offered previously including a rear-view camera, new alloy wheel design, new Sports Styling body kit and revised rear badge.

Flagship Titanium variants make up for their $750 price hike with extra standard fare including a rear-view camera, leather seats, the new Sports Styling kit and new rear badge.

New paint colours including Winning Blue and Ingot Silver have been added to all variants, while Candy Red is now offered across the range.

Ford Australia general marketing manager David Katic said the addition of new features would bolster strong recent sales growth (deliveries are up 43.1 per cent in 2012) – a large proportion of which comprise high-end variants and private sales.

“Focus has always been a rewarding car to drive with its smart technologies and engaging dynamics. Now with additional technologies available such as Active City Stop2 and Ford SYNC, Focus offers customers safety and a level of connectivity previously only available in premium vehicles,” he said.

“With improved safety, technology and fuel economy, we are confident more customers will find the stylish Focus the smart choice.” Ford has been running out its German-sourced Focus range for some months, with offers from as low as $19,990 drive-away. Preliminary sales figures show a strong June performance of 1571 sales, up 37 per cent on the same month last year.

Ford Focus pricing (plus on-road costs):
Ambiente 1.6 petrol $21,990
Ambiente 1.6 petrol (a) $24,290
Trend 2.0 petrol $24,490
Trend 2.0 petrol (a) $26,790
Trend 2.0 diesel (a) $30,500
Sport 2.0 petrol $27,890
Sport 2.0 petrol (a) $30,190
Sport 2.0 diesel (a) $33,690
Titanium 2.0 petrol (a) $33,840 (+$750)
Titanium 2.0 diesel (a) $37,340 (+$750)
Ambiente 1.6 petrol (a) $24,290
Trend 2.0 petrol (a) $26,790
Trend 2.0 diesel (a) $30,500
Titanium 2.0 petrol (a) $33,840 (+$750)

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