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Ford Focus platform to spawn multiple models
Similar to VW’s MQB set-up, Ford Focus platform will underpin passenger cars, SUVs
25 Jul 2018
By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS in FRANCE
FORD’S all-new modular C2 architecture that underpins the redesigned Focus small car has the flexibility to stretch up to the next-generation Edge/Endura large SUV, as well as down to the replacement for the recently released Fiesta light car by about 2023.
Developed over an eight-year period in Europe for global consumption, the C2 is expected to make Ford profitable again by cutting development costs by more than $A5 billion, as well as cutting complexity by 30 per cent and lead times by one-fifth.
Much of this is possible thanks to common or compatible shared suspension, steering, powertrain, electrical, interior and multimedia modules.
Due in Australia in November, the fourth-generation Focus is the first production vehicle to use the architecture.
It will be followed next year by the third-generation Kuga/Escape medium SUV, ushering in the all-wheel drive drivetrain that will also see as-yet unconfirmed AWD variants of the Focus Active crossover, and the rumoured Focus RS with 48-volt mild-hybrid assistance from about 2020.
At around the same time there will also be a small SUV to sit slightly above the slow-selling EcoSport, finally giving Ford a roomy and viable rival to the Honda HR-V, Toyota C-HR and Mazda CX-3. However, whether this uses the C2 architecture or Ford’s ageing B299 Fiesta-based platform is unknown.
GoAuto understands the C2’s front end will help form the basis of next-generation commercial vehicles, including the Transit Connect and Tourneo passenger version, both of which are tipped to arrive in Australia early next decade.
That is also when the next-gen Edge/Endura will surface also on the C2 architecture, but in two wheelbase sizes to accommodate the seven-seater three-row version that is only currently offered in the China-built model based on the old EUCD platform. That, essentially, will be the long-overdue replacement for the Ford Territory that went out of production in 2016.
Whether other current Ford models such as the European S-Max and Galaxy people-movers will reappear underpinned by the C2 remains a mystery, but overseas reports suggest that while the Mondeo/Fusion mid-sizers will probably not survive beyond 2021, the Fusion nameplate will switch to a Subaru Outback-style crossover wagon aimed primarily at the North American market – and perhaps Australia too.
Thematically similar to what the Volkswagen Group has tried to achieve with the MQB modular transverse architecture launched in 2011 and that includes everything from the latest Volkswagen Polo to the North American-built Volkswagen Atlas large SUV, Ford’s C2 development started in 2010 in concept phase, well before last Focus was released.
According to C2 architecture chief engineer Michael Blischke who has been with the project since 2012, such diversity and scaleability would not have been possible without starting with a clean sheet of paper and a clear picture of what goals the company wanted to achieve.
“Platform development is also about making sure that you can grow,” he told GoAuto at the Focus international launch in France last week. “That platform is looking into the future, to the further vehicles that are coming. Actually, we don’t even talk platform internally, we talk about modular toolkits, modular system developments; C2 is the first truly modular system toolkit we have developed.
“It’s comparable (to Volkswagen’s MQB) – there are similarities. But we all do things a little bit differently. Ultimately, it’s all about a rolling go-kart, right? If you look deeper into details, we are all striving for the same thing – modularity that needs to go across platforms to maximise your scale of volume and volume effect.
“You have in mind the number of vehicles you want to roll off, and from there you set your boundaries and from the boundaries you set your systems and components and make sure you develop that scale of leverage for those specific boundary-defined vehicles.
“It’s also about meeting different regional requirements…to make sure it fits to market needs and expectations of the customers.”
Ford’s predicted C2-based new-model timeline:
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