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Ford Australia kills-off mainstream Focus range
Focus ST-Line and Active gone, but ST hot hatch variants to live on
14 Oct 2021
By MATT BROGAN
FORD Australia says the contraction of the small car market has forced it to discontinue the sale of its mainstream Focus range with the brand this week announcing plans to scrap its ST-Line and Active variants when the facelifted range is released next year.
The decision means only the performance-minded ‘ST’ variants will live on in our market with Ford set to add a plusher ST X variant to the range to satisfy what it says is a three-fold increase in hot hatch demand.
It’s the second time in as many years Ford Australia has taken the knife to its Focus line-up with the Ambiente, Trend, and Titanium hatches and the ST-Line wagon all being cut in 2020.
“The small car segment in Australia has declined significantly over the past seven years, from 21 per cent of the total industry in 2014, to 12 per cent in 2020. Over the same period, the percentage of hot hatch sales in the segment have more than tripled,” a Ford Australia spokesperson said.
“Demand for the Focus ST continues to grow, and with the addition of ST X, means hot hatch customers can choose the variant that best suits their needs.”
Ford Australia has sold just 647 examples of the Focus (including ST variants) since the start of 2021, well behind rivals including the Hyundai i30 (19,134), Kia Cerato (11,698), Mazda 3 (11,698), and Toyota Corolla (23,404).
New Focus ST and ST X variants are expected in local showrooms by mid 2022.
The refreshed model range scores a revised front fascia with new adaptive LED headlights, integrated foglights, and a higher profile bonnet. LED tail-lights and new alloy wheel designs will also be added to the range alongside a refreshed colour palette.
The 2022 Focus ST also adds new sports seats and a 13.2-inch infotainment system featuring Ford’s updated SYNC4 multimedia system.
The revised system controls HVAC functions to reduce the number of buttons on the centre stack, and continues to include Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Bluetooth connectivity.
Blind spot assist joins the long list of safety and driver assistance technologies offered in the new range; the current model awarded a five-star safety rating by Euro NCAP.
The updated Focus ST will continue to be powered by Ford’s 2.3-litre EcoBoost four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine making 206kW/420Nm.
The front-wheel drive hot hatch is available with six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic transmissions and is currently priced from $44,800 (plus-on road costs).
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