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Ford slashes Focus prices

Thai bargain: Ford has weighed into to Australia’s small car price war with lower prices and standard Sync connectivity on its Thai-built Focus.

Deep price cuts render Thai-built Ford Focus among most affordable small cars in Oz


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1 Oct 2012

FORD has marked the arrival of its Thai-built Focus MKII in Australian showrooms with list price cuts of up to $2410.

The Blue Oval has also extended its ongoing $19,990 driveaway deal for manual Ambiente variants, which now include the previously auto-only sedan.

The highly regarded Focus is one of the least expensive small cars at entry level, with the only mainstream competitor to undercut it being the South Korean Kia Cerato S at $18,990 driveaway.

Ford Australia brand communications manager Neil McDonald said there is no specific time-frame on the Ambiente’s $19,990 driveaway pricing as a sub-$20,000 price point is “a really important thing for customers when looking for vehicles”.

The previously auto-only Ambiente sedan is now available with a five-speed manual, while a new $20,290 (plus on-road costs) list price represents a $1700 saving, which is also reflected in the $22,590 sticker price for the six-speed Powershift dual-clutch equipped automatic.

As a result, few entry-level variants of mainstream small cars now undercut the Focus, regardless of driveaway deals.

The Focus Ambiente now sits below the Mazda3 Neo ($20,330), Honda Civic Sedan VTi ($20,490), Hyundai Elantra Active ($20,590), Hyundai i30 Active ($20,990), Toyota Corolla Ascent ($20,990) , Holden Cruze CD ($21,490) and Volkwagen Golf 77TSI ($21,990).

Notable exceptions include the soon-to-be-replaced Cerato S, listed at $19,390 as a sedan or $19,640 as a hatch, and Mitsubishi’s ageing Lancer, which now weighs in at $19,990 following a recent $1700 price cut on the entry-level ES variant.

Australia’s small car segment is in the midst of a price war, with even the newest player, Hyundai’s recently-launched and well-received i30 hatch, currently offered at $21,990 driveaway – compared with a list price of $20,990 plus on-road costs – in base Active trim.

Other notable base-variant driveaway deals include the Holden Cruze CD, Hyundai Elantra Active and Volkswagen Golf 77TSI all at $20,990, the Mazda3 Neo at $21,590 and the Toyota Corolla Ascent at $21,990.

Ford Australia public affairs director, Sinead Phipps, told GoAuto Ford has positioned itself close to the bottom of the price pile because it is trying its best to stay competitive in a segment where “there are a lot of players with a number of offerings”.

“There have been a lot of deals available in that segment for the last couple of months and there have been a number of other brands cutting prices,” she said.

“It is a segment that if you are not playing in it at the right price range you are not getting a look in so we are doing it to be competitive.”

Compared with the previous German-built Focus, Thai-sourced cars are better equipped with Ford’s Sync connectivity pack comprising voice-controlled USB/iPod and Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming.

Exterior styling tweaks over the German-sourced Focus include more body-coloured lower mouldings and MKII badging.

Ambiente variants are exclusively available with a 1.6-litre petrol engine, while all others come with 2.0-litre petrol or 2.0-litre turbo-diesel powerplants.

Mid-spec Trend variant pricing has been slashed $2,200 for the petrol, which is now $22,290 (plus on-road costs) for the manual hatch or $24,590 for the automatic hatch and auto-only sedan.

Auto-only diesel Trend variants get the biggest price cut at $2410, now costing $28,090 in hatch or sedan form.

Pricing of the hatch-specific, auto-only Sport has come down $2000 to $28,190 for the petrol and $31,690 for the diesel.

Titanium variants, which are auto-only and had their prices bumped up $750 in July, have now come down $850, to $32,990 for the petrol hatch and sedan or $36,490 for the hatch-only diesel.

Mr McDonald said he did not think any Thai-built Focus models had left showrooms at the original price, but if they did it was a “very, very low number”.

Focus sales are up 33.3 per cent to the end of August, placing it fifth in the small car sales table with 11,324 units shifted, placing it ahead of the Volkswagen Golf (10,978) and Mitsubishi Lancer (10,635).

Despite the price war, Australia’s small segment is up just 2.6 per cent to the end of August, compared with overall market growth of 9.4 per cent.

Mid-sizers are the passenger car stars of the moment, with the segment up 18.7 per cent bus SUVs are the real growth driver, with small SUVs positively booming at 65.4 per cent, medium SUVs up 20.9 per cent and large SUVs up 28.7 per cent.

2012 Ford Focus pricing*
Ambiente 1.6L petrol$20,290 (-$1170)
Ambiente 1.6L petrol (a)$22,590 (-$1170)
Trend 2.0L petrol$22,290 (-$2200)
Trend 2.0L petrol (a)$24,590 (-$2200)
Trend 2.0L diesel (a)$28,090 (-$2410)
Sport 2.0L petrol$25,890 (-$2000)
Sport 2.0L petrol (a)$28,190 (-$2000)
Sport 2.0L diesel (a)$31,690 (-$2000)
Titanium 2.0L petrol (a)$32,990 (-$850)
Titanium 2.0L diesel (a)$36,490 (-$850)
Ambiente 1.6L petrol$20,290
Ambiente 1.6L petrol (a)$22,590 (-$1700)
Trend 2.0L petrol (a)$24,590 (-$2200)
Trend 2.0L diesel (a)$28,090 (-$2410)
Titanium 2.0L petrol (a)$32,990 (-$850)
*Plus on-road costs

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